Monday, 17 August 2015

The Cut Out

The Cut Out by Jack Heath (Allen & Unwin, 2015)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN: 9781760111984

Reviewed by Jade Harmer

The Cut Out reminded me of a packet Tim Tams: once I started it I couldn’t stop!
Canberra author Jack Heath has constructed a clever and captivating plot, and an engaging protagonist in Kamauan teenager, Fero Dremovich.

As tensions build in the cold war between Kamau and Besmar, Fero’s instincts tell him to keep a low profile, but when a peaceful protest turns into a riot, his ordinary life is turned upside down.

Fero soon discovers that he’s the spitting image of notorious Besmari spy, Troy Maschenov, and before he knows it, he’s one of the Kamau Intelligence Organisation’s most useful assets.

The notion of a fourteen year old boy becoming a spy overnight sounds implausible, but Heath builds the reader’s trust in Fero, providing insight into his thoughts and feelings and giving credence to the reality of his situation.

It’s clear that no one is more surprised by his circumstances than Fero himself. 
With a laughable amount of preparation and some James Bond-style gadgetry, Fero, posing as Maschenov, is sent across the dead zone to Besmar, under instructions to bring home a missing double agent with the power to save countless Kamauans from a looming Besmari terrorist attack.

Fero is quick to cut through bureaucracy and propaganda and realise that everything is not what it seems in a plot that twists, turns and never fails to deliver in the action, suspense and humour departments.

The ultimate question: who can Fero really trust?

I’d recommend this book for ages twelve and up. It has all the right ingredients to attract broad appeal plus the anticipation of a sequel with Fero set to return in The Fail Safe in 2016.

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