The Occasional Diamond Thief
(Book 1 in The Unintentional Adventures of Kia and Agatha)
Nominated for a 2016 Alberta Book Publishing Award
– Speculative Fiction –
What if you learned your father was a thief? Would you follow in his footsteps, learn his "trade"? If you were the only one who knew, would you keep his secret?
When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a universal translator, she is co-opted into travelling as a translator to Malem. This is the last place in the universe that Kia wants to be—it’s the planet where her father caught the terrible illness that killed him—but it’s also where he got the magnificent diamond that only she knows about. Kia is convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.
Using her skill in languages – and another skill she picked up, the skill of picking locks - Kia unravels the secret of the mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner.
But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? Can she trust the new friends she’s made on Malem, especially handsome but mysterious 17-year-old Jumal, to help her? And will she solve the puzzle in time to save Agatha, the last person she would have expected to become her closest friend?
Kia is quirky, with an ironic sense of humor, and a loner. Her sidekick, Agatha, is hopeless in languages and naïvely optimistic in Kia's opinion, but possesses the wisdom and compassion Kia needs.
About the Author:
J. A. McLachlan is the author of a short story collection, Connections: Parables for Today, (Pandora Press); two College textbooks on Professional Ethics (Pearson-Prentice Hall). But science fiction is her first love, a genre she has been reading all her life, and The Occasional Diamond Thief is the first book in her young adult science fiction series, The Unintentional Adventures of Kia and Agatha.
Born in Toronto and raised in Newmarket, Jane Ann currently resides in Waterloo, Ontario with her husband. [MORE]
Jane Ann McLachlan, author
Why I write Science Fiction by Jane Ann McLachlan
"The Occasional Diamond Thief" offers just the right combination of unusual setting, relentless plot and multifaceted characters to satisfy readers of any genre." -- Jean Mills, Waterloo Region Record
"The book was a well-written action thriller. It starts off with family tragedy, but evolves into a heart-racing thriller. The characters are believable, the plot action driven, and the world building is well done. I recommend this book for people who like action and intrigue." -- Patricia Humphreys
"J. A. McLachlan is a terrific writer -- wry and witty, with a keen eye for detail. I've been following her work with interest and delight since 2003. In a world where young-adult fiction is booming, The Occasional Diamond Thief propels McLachlan to the front of the pack." -- Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of FlashForward
"J. A. McLachlan is a remarkable creator of worlds, a remarkable creator of character, a master of suspense. In short, a remarkable storyteller. You don’t have to be a young adult to love this book." -- Sheryl Loeffler, Writer, A Land in the Storytelling Sea
"The Occasional Diamond Thief was definitely a page-turner. I enjoyed the depth of the characters, the intricate story line and how easily I was able to immerse myself in a futuristic world. J. A. McLachlan is an amazing writer and I would definitely recommend this book! Both my 14 year old daughter and loved it." -- Tom von Kapherron
"...a real page-turner with excellent descriptions that make you feel like you are watching a movie in your mind." -- Lin
"If you are looking for an enjoyable sci-fi read, with mystery and intrigue, you'll find it here. The main character is well-drawn, and her adventures are interesting. While an adult (like me) will like this, I think it would be most suitable for girls ages 10-14. The best part is that the main character is female--- what a rare find that is!" -- K Go
"Very original compared to what is currently out there & a little reminiscent of Sherri Tepper." -- Nancy Kephart
"The Occasional Diamond Thief will attract fans of Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley. Strong female protagonists who are believable and capture our hearts with their determination to overcome obstacles during a quest for justice make for great reading." -- Linda Stortz
"A fun, quick read. The story has a dash of space travel, a funny/serious sidekick, and a reluctant thief trying to find her way." -- Marsha
"The main character, Kia, tugs on your heartstrings right out of the gate, and you'll immediately relate to her emotional struggles and confusion after the strange events surrounding her father's death. She steals (but only occasionally) to survive, and gets forced into traveling to a far away planet to avoid harsher punishment. And there, on that distant planet, the mysteries that have plagued Kia's entire life, as well as her father's death, begin to unravel." -- Bridget Keller
"This terrific novel has everything I look for in a good read - a mystery to hook me right from the start, a new world/society to check out and "play" in, and characters I feel invested in.... This book is one I would recommend to anyone..." -- Mary-Ellen McAlonen
"As soon as I read the first few lines of "The Occasional Diamond Thief," I was pulled into a world unlike any other, and I couldn't--and didn't want to--leave." -- Amber
"I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to more by this author. I highly recommend The Occasional Diamond Thief." -- Robin E Mason
"This is a story can be enjoyed by all ages and not to be missed. A real page turner, I highly recommend it." -- Lori D Evans
"McLachlan has created a simple, but compelling universe that doesn’t strain credibility and serves as the perfect backdrop for Kia’s journey. She even weaves in a sweet love interest that proves to have his own secrets. Woven into the overall plot are mystery and thriller elements that will keep readers turning pages. McLachlan’s novel is reminiscent of Madeline L’engle and Ursula K. LeGuin’s young adult fiction. My highest recommendation." -- Melanie Marttila
"The story is full of humor, danger, fun, and adventure. This is Science Fiction anyone would love." -- J. Jones, VINE VOICE
"I read the book in almost one sitting, I couldn't put it down." -- Tamara
"J. A. McLachlan is an amazing writer and I would definitely recommend this book!" -- Jennifer Ardon
"The Occasional Diamond Thief is one of those science fiction books that will appeal to people who don't like science fiction. The alien worlds are fascinating, but the emphasis is always on the characters and their relationships to each other." -- Joy Weese Moll
"Loved it! I haven't read a heroine I loved this much since Katniss Everdeen. McLachlan's Kia is smart, tough and hilarious, and pairing her with serene, forgiving Agatha left me laughing long after I finished the story. The settings were vivid, the plot raced along, and the themes kept me turning pages. McLachlan combines her love of science fiction, ethics and good, old-fashioned storytelling in The Occasional Diamond Thief, and the results couldn't be better. I loved every page." -- Amanda Darling
"Unlike many intergalactic, interplanetary tales, McLachlan's story is a highly personal one, shaped fundamentally by character and the character's exploration of selfhood and interaction on a microcosmic level which has implications for the macrocosmic level. Sometimes even small interactions between people are enough to shape and change universe-spanning political issues." -- Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating Canada: Canadian Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy
"The Occasional Diamond Thief is a science fiction novel both for those who love the genre and for those who are less keen since the science fiction aspect is only one facet of the book. Mystery, adventure, relationships and even the hint of a love story make this a fast moving and very readable young adult novel. McLachlan includes them all, and the result is a well written, exciting, intriguing and terrific story. Highly Recommended." -- Ann Ketcheson, CM Magazine
"There are elements of a romance, but no love story. Expect double-crossing priests, courageous Melamese, a bitter queen, and a stalwart Select whose skill at interplanetary relations far outshines her fluency in Melamese." -- V Reads
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