Monday 5 August 2013

Conspiracy 365 Black Ops #1: Missing

Conspiracy 365 Black Ops #1: Missing by Gabrielle Lord (Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74283-518-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Cal is on an undercover mission to save his brother, and the world.

After the dangerous adventures in Lord’s previous Conspiracy books, Cal is not about to get a break. His twin brother Ryan disappears, he receives a cryptic message saying simply 90 days, and then he is abducted and recruited by SI-6. All these events are connected to the mysterious Shadow Island, a get-away resort for troubled teens.

So with help from Ryan on the island, and back-up assistance at home from Winter, Boges and the mysterious SI-6, Cal launches himself, once again, into deep trouble – surrounded by treacherous terrain, secret hide-outs and suspicious behaviour by the camp leaders.

Missing is the beginning of a new adventure trilogy for teens. Explosive action, intriguing mysteries, chilling suspense and short bursts of activity (some sections are only a page long) ensure that readers will be unable to put the book down until its cliff-hanger ending. Then they will be rushing out for the next in the series.

The characters are believable and likeable. Cal and Ryan (identical twins) play the switcheroo game with some reluctance but their relationship with each other grows as a result. They investigate with bravery and caution but with heart pumping action, which does not let up even at the last paragraph. The section headings mark the day, place and time, and the page numbers go backwards, giving a real sense of urgency in the countdown.

This is an action packed, fast moving adventure story for early teens. Both boys and girls will enjoy this series. Gabrielle Lord, an Australian author, is well known for her gripping adult crime novels. She has written 17 books in the Conspiracy 365 series for young adults.

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