Sharp Shot by Jack Higgins

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Sharp Shot by Jack Higgins

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A belt-and-braces teen action thriller with a no-nonsense style and plenty of baddies, chases, and shooting. This third novel about the Chance twins is very light, but about as efficient and enjoyable as a genre novel of this kinds gets.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 297 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0007298315

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Rich and Jade Chance are back at school. Their secret agent father is away as usual, on another, well, secret, mission. In John Chance's absence, Rich is hoping to laze about listening to music and eating junk food. Jade has other ideas. She's following her usual punishing fitness regime and at last has the opportunity to unpack. They've finally found a home and appear to be staying put.

Unsurprisingly, the peace and quiet doesn't last long. The sound of gunfire comes moments before Ferdy McCain bursts through the door, and their father's old friend seems to be in desperate trouble. Rich and Jade of course, rise to the moment, and the inevitable chases, shoot-outs and conspiracies begin...

This Chance twins adventure wreaks its usual havoc in the English countryside, in hotels and at theme parks, before hurtling off to the Middle East and camel spiders in the desert, ancient artefacts and the awful potential of a rogue nuclear state. It doesn't let up for a moment and - sedate, octane-allergic middle-aged woman that I am - I couldn't help but enjoy it.

Higgins writes this children's series with Justin Richards, a Doctor Who stable writer, and the pair of them know exactly what they're doing. There's character development, but not too much. There's political wheeling and dealing, but not too much. There are plot twists and red herrings, but never too many. As light, escapist thrillers, these Chance twin novels are about as efficient as they come.

I have to be honest and say that genre fiction, for children or for adults, isn't really my thing. But these unpretentious books are done remarkably well, and they will be devoured by teen action fans up and down the country. There's plenty of fighting, but nothing too gory for a ten-year-old, so I'm recommending this one as a happy few hours diversion for any voracious reader in the late primary years and upwards.

My thanks to the nice people at Harper Collins for sending the book.

Lovers of action heroes might also enjoy reading about Jonah Wish in Thieves Like Us by Stephen Cole or Max Gordon in Danger Zone: The Devil's Breath by David Gilman.

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