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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Malachi, Ruse Master is a work of fiction written for young adults by author Pamela Schloesser Canepa. This action-packed novel is a spinoff from the Detours in Time series and does fit in with the plot of Undercurrents in Time, but can also be read as a standalone novel. The action of this installment concerns the titular character Malachi, a.k.a. Mike, a college dropout who finds himself employed by an agency that cashes in on his talents for deception and duplicity. But when the next paycheck comes with a much higher price than usual, Malachi must decide if the life path he’s on is worth it in the end.
Author Pamela Schloesser Canepa has created a masterclass in the unreliable narrator as we are strung along on the capers and tricks that the incredible Malachi can pull off. As a flawed character from the off, our central figure is developed with a great deal of emotional realism and sensitivity, which makes him all the more endearing when you see both his triumphs and troubles. This novel is exceedingly well-plotted to put him to the test in all sorts of different ways, and the anti-hero meeting this hero-quest style action in unconventional ways is sure to be really exciting for the intended YA reading audience. I also thought the dialogue was really snappy, entertaining, and true to form in terms of characterization. Overall, I would highly recommend Malachi, Ruse Master whether you have started the rest of the series or not: an action-packed and uniquely developed read.