Lockdown (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black
|Lockdown (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Non-stop thrills and excitement as our heroes use a combination of technology and street-running – not to mention a touch of bare-faced cheek – to take down a spiteful baddie who knows all their secrets, right down to the location of their underground home. This time, there's nowhere to hide.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2015|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
High-tech gadgets and gizmos, feats of daring that will have you chewing your nails down to the elbow, villains who just love to gloat, and then (because this isn't any old kids-beat-the-baddies saga) the well-established tradition of Random Acts of Kindness – New York style. This may be the third sortie for Jack and his rag-tag team, but somehow the author still manages to surprise and delight his readers by giving the characters even more complex back stories, and by ratcheting up the tension so high you'll need to nip outside and have a quick scream from time to time.
Betrayed by a boy they once befriended, the five ultra-skilled young people who live together in an abandoned bunker deep underground find their secret identities, their home and even their lives at risk. All they want out of life is to stop wrongdoers, have a bit of fun together and quietly help the people who live nearby. Unfortunately that simply isn't going to be possible any more unless they succeed in bringing down the vicious, power-crazed Hector before he can access and use the world's most destructive computer virus. But in order to do that they have to follow him to the United States. Worse still, in order to get there they'll have to trust themselves to a shadowy and unscrupulous man who is only slightly less devious than their enemy.
Villains apart, life isn't all that easy for Jack, Charlie, Obi, Slink and little Wren in this book. They may have a dream home, full of all the latest computers and wide-screen TVs, but they're still orphans, or as near as makes no difference, and while they care very deeply for each other they squabble and fall out like any other bunch of young people. Athletic Slink can't help making snide remarks about Obi's expanding waistline, but he's less ready to accept criticism about his taste (or lack of it) in music, and he is inclined to take risks that border on the downright suicidal at times. Jack, on the other hand, values his home and his four friends above all else, and he drives them to distraction by his caution and determination to plan for every single eventuality. They all grumble about it, and they don't hesitate to challenge his decisions, but nonetheless the other outlaws acknowledge Jack's gift for leadership, and they rely on him to get them all out of trouble no matter how tricky things get – a lot to ask of a boy not yet old enough to have a driving licence. But somehow, when it's really needed, the five friends pull together. Winsome Wren charms and distracts guards and sidekicks while Obi scans CCTV cameras for any sign of trouble, and Slink and Jack use Charlie's gadgets to get in and out of the most inaccessible lairs. The baddies keep on coming, and the way the outlaws deal with them gets more and more crazy-briliant. This is definitely one of the best series out there at present: it's wild, it's heart-stopping and it's occasionally really funny – a perfect combination.
Good books like this one work as stand-alones, but the series is so good you'll definitely want to seek out the earlier two, Urban Outlaws and Blackout. And to keep you busy while you're waiting for the next instalment, try Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? by Liz Kessler, another very good contemporary story about young friends engaged in a battle against villains, with the minor difference that this time the main character actually does have a superpower.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lockdown (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lockdown (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at Amazon.com.
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