Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz

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Crocodile Tears (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The eighth installment in the Alex Rider series lacks subtlety and nuaunce but will be loved by boys in the tweens and early teens. Cautiously recommended - but you might have to get it in any case.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406310481

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Fans of Anthony Horowitz' Alex Rider series have had a two-year wait for this installment of our young hero's escapades and they are not going to be disappointed. He's fourteen year old now and not only is he being targeted by a hitman, he's also being pursued by a journalist who wants to tell the nation all about the fact that MI6 are using one of his tender years to do their dirty work. The trouble is that he can't be positive that it was a sniper that caused the car he was in to skid off a Scottish road and land at the bottom of a Loch. And MI6 don't seem all that bothered about the journalist, unless, that is, Alex might be willing to find some simple information from a GM crop research centre, in which case they might be able to have a quiet word with the gentleman.

As usual with any Horowitz book the pages turn themselves. The writing is direct and perfectly suited to the tween and early teen age groups and the pace never lets up. It's easy to see why Rider is thought of as a young James Bond – reading the book felt rather like being in front of one of the later Bond movies as he dashes from crisis to crisis. If you like books with nuance and subtlety then this is probably not the book for you – but then you're probably not a boy in the target age group either. My grandsons are already squabbling over who gets to read my review copy first.

Like Bond there are all the gadgets to delight a boy from the gel pens which cause explosions and the post card which turns into a form of sat nav. The other similarity with the Bond films was less appealing to me. The body count is high and Alex is the cause of some of them and, well, it's almost like deaths in television drama – you know the actors are going to get up and walk away the moment the camera looks elsewhere. There are not that many of the original characters standing by the end of the book, but Alex is seemingly unmoved by the deaths, even when he was the cause. It was unappealing to say the least.

Alex Rider has developed over the series. He's not quite as perfect as he was in Stormbreaker and the baddies have a little more subtlety about them. The Reverend Desmond McCain, head of an international charity had shades of certain high-profile politicians who have fallen from grace, but he was certainly a convincing villain.

It's not great literature but it is a good, exciting read for tweens and early teens. Great literature isn't what they want all the time – sometimes they just want a good fun read.

My grandsons would like to thank the publisher for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then you might like to look at the Misfitz Mysteries and Shark Island by David Miller.

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