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Speed: Smallville Book 5    by Cherie Bennett & Jeff Gottesfeld order for
by Cherie Bennett
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This fifth Smallville episode opens as Clark and his friends prepare flyers for the Smallville Multicultural Festival, an event supported by the generosity of Lex Luthor. As usual in this town, odd things begin to happen and to escalate. It begins with the puzzling removal and burning of the flyers that Clark has just posted. Then come a series of racist attacks, the first against the family of a new friend of the teens, Shaaban from Tanzania - which happened unnoticed while Shaaban's father was at home.

In the meantime, the reader gets to peek at the perpetrator's 'Genesis Journal', and to see that he resents his mother and treasures an 'awesome hourglass' sent by his departed father. The hourglass contains 'glowing white sand with green flecks', which of course generates more of the meteorite madness that fills up Chloe's Wall of Weird. Pete suspects two upperclassmen with skinhead buzz cuts, and the group investigates.

Then Chloe digs up evidence of a possible hate crime in Smallville in 1941 against a Japanese American family, and Lex shares an experience of prejudice of his own, saying 'It never stops, does it? ... The fear of anyone different.' When Clark does identify the culprit, with good deductive reasoning, it's a big surprise to all concerned. Speed is another exciting adventure for Clark and cohorts. It deals with prejudices, large and small, and reminds us all to examine our own.

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