Thursday 30 May 2013

Killer Ute

Killer Ute by Rosanne Hawke (University of Queensland Press)
PB RRP $14.95
ISBN 978 0 7022 4960 0
Reviewed by Jo Antareau

Joel Billings is a twelve-year-old boy who doesn’t wait for things to happen, he makes them happen. Despite, or perhaps because of, his traumatic infancy, Joel is a resourceful child. His own parents used substances and abandoned him at birth, and despite being raised by a loving grandmother, Joel struggles to trust. This is the type of reality that many children have to face, and Hawke does not try to sugar-coat it. In this, the final of a trilogy, Joel is suddenly pulled out of his life just before the start of high school, and is taken on holiday to a remote farm with his foster Dad, the biker Dev.

Joel’s radar is immediately alerted to adults deceiving him again. Even his wonderful foster father seems to be in on it. Why is he there? Why was he not allowed to say goodbye to his friend? The farm is near the coast, but why are the adults preventing this water-loving child from going to the beach? But Joel is one step ahead of the adults; he has managed to smuggle a phone with him. But will this put him at risk? Of what?

When a huge ute appears to deliberately run him and Dev off the road, the pieces start to fall into place. It seems that his vengeful father is pulling strings from prison to threaten Joel again. Again, he has to deal with ruthless adults who don’t care about a boy standing between them and what they want.

This is a fast paced adventure story for children aged over 9.

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