Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black

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Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: The most powerful and destructive computer virus ever is racing through the internet. Sinister forces are determined to capture it for their own ends. And it was the Urban Outlaws – the good guys - who accidentally released it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 292 Date: February 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: [ Author's website]
ISBN: 9781619635920

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Fans of thrillers will be the first to admit that character development is not always the first priority in their favourite books. In fact, in some series heroes change less than The Simpsons, even after dozens of adventures. So, finding a story which has heart-pounding drama, well-drawn characters and even – believe it or not – a few scenes which would melt the hardest heart makes this excellent series a must-read.

Being an orphan and forced to live on the streets is never a happy situation, but there's no denying these five talented young people have turned the situation to their advantage. In their secret home in a converted World War II bunker deep below the London Underground, they've made themselves into a family with a place to live many of us would envy. Just look at the floor plan at the front of the book: as well as their own bedrooms, a kitchen and a dining area, there's an enormous metalwork and electronics workshop, a room full of computers and, obviously, a well-equipped games room. Even their TV is vast, taking up at least half the wall space in their lounge. Talk about making the best of a bad job.

Jack, a gifted hacker, is the leader of the group: he's the one who thinks up the plans and creates the computer programmes that control other people's security systems and CCTV so the gang can do their work undetected. Although he doesn't admit it, being a part of the Urban Outlaw family is the most important thing in the world to him, and he is haunted by nightmares about losing the others and being alone once more. Not that they live in some sweet-as-sugar world where everybody loves each other: athletic free runner Slink doesn't hesitate to make pointed remarks about Obi, their tubby comms chief who sees exercise and dieting as fates much, much worse than death, and it sometimes takes all gadget queen Charlie's time and energy just to keep the peace. And even Wren, the cute little button who uses her charms to distract and fool the biggest and nastiest of guards, is ready to protest if she thinks Jack is being too cautious or prickly.

So – our heroes are faced with a near-impossible challenge, to capture the computer virus which every government and bunch of bad guys would love to get their hands on. Imagine being able to hack anything, anywhere, any time. Imagine the control you'd have over other countries, other criminal gangs. Little wonder that there are people out there who will kill the Outlaws without hesitation if they get in the way. The result is a wildly exciting and occasionally funny dash through some of the weirdest, scariest and, at times, most germ-infected places in London and beyond. The dangers just keep piling up and there's barely a spare second to eat (unless you're Obi of course), never mind sit down and make a properly thought-out plan. It's so thrilling readers will have to remind themselves to breathe – and yet the five Outlaws find the time to help one of their group with a family problem, plus a spot of raking (performing Random Acts of Kindness) in their neighbourhood. No wonder there are young people out there desperate to join them.

The crisis is averted – after a fashion – but the Outlaws have made new enemies along the way, who are even more vicious and determined than anyone they've met before. Bad for them, but good for us: three more books are promised, and based on these two the thrills and dangers will just keep on coming. Don't miss them.

Like all good books, this one can be read on its own: you'll soon pick up on the background, the relationships and the story-line. But why would you want to, when there's an excellent first volume - Urban Outlaws - just sitting there waiting to be read?

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Buy Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black at


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