Tripwire by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter

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Tripwire by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: This first volume in a new series for the high-tech teen thriller market is pacy and enjoyable, and has a degree of authenticity that's often missing. Bookbag certainly doesn't fancy a career in bomb disposal!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: April 2010
Publisher: Corgi
ISBN: 0552560839

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Felix's father was a bomb disposal expert. He died on Day Zero - the day global terrorism united and destroyed Heathrow Airport, killing countless thousands of innocent people. It changed everything. Bent on avenging his father, Felix has signed up to a training program for the Minos Chapter - a shadowy counter-terrorist unit of underage operatives. He knows the risks if he's successful, but what he doesn't know is that another, even more devasting, Orpheus attack is imminent...

Steve Cole and Chris Hunter combine here to create an exceedingly enjoyable near futue teen thriller. Cole's Thieves Like Us series gave us some tremendously pacy crime capers, and Hunter was himself a bomb disposal and counter-terrorist expert in the British Army with more terrifying experience than I care to think about, so I was expecting good things.

And, by and large, I got them. I liked the near future setting for Tripwire - what would happen if terrorists levelled Heathrow? Would we really consider child soldiers? Perhaps not, but it's an interesting what if, isn't it? And it's much more credible a set-up than many similar books have. Felix, interestingly, has been radicalised, if you will, by a personal loss and so his psychology is interesting too. The plot and the writing are both smart and pacy with a goodly few red herrings to stir up the mix a bit. But the stand-out parts of Tripwire are the scenes when Felix defuses explosives. It's utterly chilling, edge-of-the-seat stuff.

I'll confess to a bit of a hover over the star rating - this book is enjoyable but standard fodder in a rather overheated genre market. This is not a criticism at all, since it's a very popular genre and children enjoy reading within it. That's a good thing. But you really do need to bring something new to the table if you're going to stand out from the crowd.

In the end, I went with four stars for Tripwire as the bomb disposal sections - courtesy of Chris Hunter, one assumes - are absolutely riveting, and much more credible than many of its peers. It's also set in the near-future rather than the present, and I always think that adds an edge. Don't let that make you think the book does anything more than what it says on the tin - deliver a high-octane, page-turning thriller with a contemporary edge - although it does that very well indeed.

My thanks to the good people at Corgi for sending the book.

If action thrillers are their thing, then they are pretty much spoiled for choice - try Sharp Shot by Jack Higgins or Danger Zone: The Devil's Breath by David Gilman.

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Buy Tripwire by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tripwire by Steve Cole and Chris Hunter at


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