Urban Outlaws Counterstrike by Peter Jay Black
|Urban Outlaws Counterstrike by Peter Jay Black|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Fast-paced action, grit-your-teeth tension and a seemingly impossible challenge: can the five young outlaws possibly find the doomsday device and get out safely just one more time?|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: April 2016|
|Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Thought the previous three books in this excellent series were heart-stopping? Reckon there's no way the tension could be ratcheted up any higher? Well hang on tight, brave reader, because this book's going to make you forget to eat, sleep, do your homework and (unless you're very, very careful) breathe, even. It's epic!
Okay, let's start with the good news. The main enemy in this volume is once again nasty Hector, a kid as bratty and brilliant as they come. So, no surprises then? Yeah, right! That devious little weasel has plans within plans within . . . you get the idea. Bad news? It's as good as impossible for the outlaws to sneak undetected into the facility where the terrible Medusa device is hidden before Hector and his goons smash their way in, and the only information about the place they've managed to get hold of comes from a very dodgy source indeed. Oh, and by the way - they've only got a couple of days to suss out the location, come up with a plan and carry it through. No sweat.
And if that's not problem enough, Jack gets himself into all sorts of trouble trying to help one of the other outlaws. It's not surprising, really: to Jack the other four – gadget queen Charlie, free runner Slink, master of the spycam Obi and cute-as-dynamite Wren – are his family, and his secret dread is that anything could happen to any one of them. All he wants out of life is to keep his companions safe and happy, so they can relax, play games, eat pizza (well, that's Obi's dream, really) and spend plenty of time on their favourite activity: performing random acts of kindness for people in the neighbourhood. If only the bad guys would leave them alone . . .
The pace hasn't let up since the first story exploded onto the bookshelves, and the five friends are getting really, really tired. It's hard enough in ordinary circumstances making sure no one ever discovers their identities or their home – an abandoned bunker beneath the London Underground – but one of the many strengths of this series is that the heroes aren't just a bundle of skills: they're actual, flesh-and-blood kids too. They squabble, they get scared, and they rely way too much on Jack to make the plans and keep everybody safe, even though he's only a kid himself. And this time, they've had no chance to relax since the last crisis, and it shows. Mistakes are made – serious, life-and-death type mistakes – and Jack can barely think at times for sheer exhaustion. Things are dire indeed, although there is still the occasional funny moment: check out the scenes where Charlie gets to demonstrate her ability (or lack of) as a driver. And don't be lulled into a false sense of security as the book closes: the author has a wicked little habit of producing new shocks and reverses right up to the very final full stop. Seriously, how on earth is he going to get his characters out of the major mess he's landed them in this time?
Like any half-way decent book, you can read this volume without the first three – but why would you? There's so much amazing back story about the outlaws' gifts, personalities, home base and enemies that it would be a shame to miss it. Start with the first volume Urban Outlaws then when you've recovered from the high-voltage excitement, move on to Blackout. After that, if you can take the pace, travel to the States with Lockdown.
You can read more book reviews or buy Urban Outlaws Counterstrike by Peter Jay Black at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Urban Outlaws Counterstrike by Peter Jay Black at Amazon.com.
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