Day 7

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Cell 7. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Day 7 was written by Kerry Drewery and first published in 2017. It forms the second part of the Cell 7 trilogy, following Cell 7 (2016) and preceding Final 7 (2018). As the novel picks up exactly where the previous instalment left off, I would really recommend reading them in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

Martha has been found innocent and freed from Death Row but it has come at a terrible cost. To save her, Isaac admitted that he was the one who shot Jackson Paige. Now, he has taken her place in the Cells and will certainly be executed in seven days. After all, how could the public possibly declare him not guilty when he has openly admitted to the crime?

As Martha returns home with Eve and Max, she quickly learns that all of her efforts have been for nothing. All copies of her evidence against Jackson have been destroyed and the public now believe that she is simply a liar. She may have escaped execution but her trial-by-public continues, helped by reports that she is dangerously unstable. It seems that someone at the top wants Martha to go away and will gladly hurt her allies to achieve this.

On the run and wanted by the authorities, it seems that there is little that Martha can do to save Isaac. However, she is then approached by an unexpected person who claims that they can help. Patty – Isaac’s adopted mother – claims that she has her own reasons for wanting Isaac to go free and can provide Martha with the means to save him. However, can Martha trust her or is this just another trap?

More

Who In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?

Who In The World is Carmen Sandiego was first published in 2019. It is an adaption of the first couple of episodes of the new Carmen Sandiego Netflix series, written by Rebecca Tinker and based on the screenplay by Duane Capizzi. The story finally gives the origins of the famous art thief, detailing her early training and how she first came to learn about the criminal organisation known as VILE. It does not really require you to know anything about the character to fully appreciate it.

Carmen Sandiego is one of the most wanted criminals in the world and Interpol Agent Chase Devineaux is determined to be the one to catch her. Unlike most art thieves, she seems to delight in taunting the authorities. She makes no effort to remain hidden as she wears a scarlet fedora and trench coat, yet always escapes with her prize. However, this time Carmen could have bitten off more than she can chew. While trying to steal the priceless Eye of Vishnu, she sees an object that she thought was lost forever and stumbles across an old foe.

This discovery causes Carmen to recall her past – a time when she was an orphan known as Black Sheep. Raised by faculty of a mysterious school, she soon learns that her “parents” are really a cabal of master thieves. Going under the name of VILE – Valuable Imports, Lavish Exports – they take in only the most promising students each year and mould them into the criminal elite. Carmen is determined to join their ranks and, despite only being a child, is finally granted a chance to become their youngest ever member.

Earning a place within in VILE will not be easy as one of her teachers – the ninja Shadowsan – seems to be determined that she will fail. However, Carmen slowly learns that she is walking the wrong path. VILE hides many terrible secrets, even from its students. With the help of a young hacker called Player, she soon discovers that there are far better uses for her talents.

More

After the Fire

After the Fire was written by Will Hill and first published in 2017. It is a psychological thriller which focuses on a teenager coming to terms with the horrors that she experienced while growing up in the isolated compound of a fanatically religious sect. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Moonbeam was seventeen years old on the day of the fire. She lived to witness the compound being overrun by the Governments and saw her brothers and sisters gunned down before her eyes. It was just like Father John had always taught them. The world outside the fence was filled with the Servants of the Serpent and the Governments existed to wipe out anyone who held the true faith.

Stripped from everything that she has ever known, Moonbeam is taken with the rest of the survivors to a psychiatric hospital and put under the care of Doctor Hernandez. Moonbeam knows that she is not to talk to anyone outside the commune in case their sins infect her but gradually finds herself opening up to the doctor. The truth is, her faith has been shaken ever since the Purge separated her from her mother and, for the first time ever, someone seems to be taking her side.

However, Moonbeam is not sure how much she can divulge. When an FBI agent also begins to attend her sessions, she realises that she needs to be careful. It’s clear that the Governments are trying to piece together exactly what happened on the day of the fire and, if they do, Moonbeam knows that they will uncover the depth of her sins. What will they do to her if they find out that she is responsible for every single death?

More

S.T.A.G.S

S.T.A.G.S was written by M.A. Bennett and first published in 2017. It is a thriller novel with horror elements, focusing on a group of teenagers on a weekend hunting trip. The story does end on a note that implies that this could be the start of a series. However, at the time of writing, no future instalments have been announced.

Greer MacDonald is lucky to have been accepted into the prestigious St Aidan the Great boarding school (known to students as S.T.A.G.S) on a scholarship, however she is painfully aware that she does not fit in. Her roommate barely speaks to her and she is often singled out by the Medievals – the school’s unofficial prefects – who make mean jokes about her northern accent and lack of class.

Greer is more surprised than anyone when she receives an invitation to spend half-term weekend on the sprawling Longcross Estate as a guest of Henry de Warlencourt – leader of the Medievals. Along with the rest of the Medievals and her fellow outcasts, Nel and Shafeer, she has been invited for a weekend of blood sports. On three consecutive afternoons, the group will be hunting, shooting and fishing. Although Greer isn’t certain that she’ll be able to stomach this, she is so flattered by the invitation that she immediately accepts.

However, it’s not long before she starts to notice that something is wrong. The Medievals are all acting strangely, friendly one minute and cruel the next. It’s not long before odd accidents begin to occur and it becomes clear that someone could get seriously hurt. Greer gradually begins to suspect that the rich kids are not only planning to hunt game that weekend. However, how can she hope to prove it when the whole village seem to be in on their plan?

More

Born Scared

born-scared

Born Scared was written by Kevin Brooks and first published in 2016. It’s a thriller that focuses on a teenage boy who is afraid of everything. As it’s a stand-alone story, you don’t have to have read any of Brooks’s other novels to fully appreciate it. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing a copy for me to review.

From the moment that he was born, Elliot has known nothing but terror. Although experts have been unable to put a name to his condition, his whole life is governed by acute fear. Every sight and sound, from sheep to the colour red, cause his mind to spiral into uncontrollable panic and so he rarely leaves the safety of his “fear-proofed” bedroom.

The one thing that takes the edge off his panic are the little yellow pills that his doctor prescribes. However, due to mix up at the pharmacy, it’s Christmas Eve and he’s running out. His mother leaves in a blizzard to get more. The trip should only take half an hour but as the minutes tick by and she doesn’t return, Elliot realises that something must have gone horribly wrong.

With his last pill beginning to wear off, Elliot is forced to do something terrifying – to head out into the snow to find her. His journey should take him less than a mile away from his home, but the outdoors are unpredictable and his fear is rapidly returning. Will he be able to conqueror it for long enough to find her?

More

The Recruit / Class A

CHERUB 1+2

The CHERUB series was written by Robert Muchamore and focuses on a branch of the English secret service that specialises in training orphans into undercover agents. The original series ran for thirteen books – The Recruit (2004), Class A (2004 – also published as The Dealer and The Mission), Maximum Security (2005), The Killing (2005), Divine Madness (2006), Man vs Beast (2006), The Fall (2007), Mad Dogs (2007), The Sleepwalker (2008), Dark Sun (2008 – novella published for World Book Day), The General (2008), Brigands M.C. (2009) and Shadow Wave (2010). Muchamore has also written Henderson’s Boys – a spin off series about how CHERUB was founded – and a sequel series called Aramov.

Eleven year old James Choke knows that his life will go nowhere. He lives in a council flat in a rough area of London, his mother runs a shoplifting ring and he’s already been expelled from school for hurting a girl in his class. When his mother dies suddenly in the night, he is separated from his sister and sent to a care home. He knows that nothing could get any worse.

However, when a prank played by some older kids ends with James in police custody he finds himself given a second chance. A branch of the MI5 known as CHERUB has become aware of him and is willing to offer him a place at their institute. Here, James will be offered a comfortable home and the best schooling but only so long as he also if he acts as a spy. Criminals are always wary of adults in case they are undercover agents but children are able to easily slip beneath the radar, getting close to low-lives and stealing their secrets in ways that full-fledged agents cannot.

The Recruit focuses on James’s early life at CHERUB, including his grueling 100 days spent in Basic Training and his first ever mission. In Class A, James embarks on an even tougher mission – to infiltrate a London drug gang and find evidence that links wealthy family man Keith Moore to the cocaine trade. Although his job seems simple, it is wrought with difficulties. One false move could easily reveal CHERUB’s existence to the world…or lead to his death.

More

Squeal

Squeal

In my FAQ, I state that I only give out praise where I think that it is deserved. I’m not one of those reviewers who give out nothing but glowing praise because I believe that is unfair to you as a reader. Why do I bring that up now? Well, today’s novel was given to me by its author in exchange for a fair review and I note that it’s gained a measure of positive feedback on Amazon and Goodreads, yet it unfortunately was not the novel for me. Let me tell you why.

Squeal was first published in 2014 and is the debut novel of Enoch St. John. It is a horror thriller which focuses on a group of six teenagers who are forced to survive in a remote jungle while being tirelessly pursued by a ferocious beast.

The WISH program is designed to be a way to rehabilitate troubled teenagers. Seven teens – Joe, David, Narine, Bluto, Ralph, Luz and Melanie – are taken into the Hoh Rainforest by an experienced guide in order to learn social skills in the hope that they will soon see the error of their ways. The program has had nothing but success in the past and its coordinator, Jake Huntsman, is convinced that this time will be no different, even though this group contains a violent thug, an arsonist and a pathological liar.

Yet what Jake does not know is that a horrible threat lurks deep within the forest. A razorback boar – huge, feral and bred for savagery – has gotten loose and has a taste for human blood. It is not long until the teenagers find themselves fighting for survival against the beast. However, the hog is not necessarily the most dangerous thing in the woods. Even if they manage to escape the boar, can they ever escape the monsters within?

More

Elixir

Elixir

Before I begin this review, I should note that I am basing my observations on an advanced reader copy that I obtained from NetGalley. In light of this, I note that the quality of this copy may not match that of the final product that is now for sale on Amazon. Please bear that in mind as you read this review.

Elixir was first published in 2014 and is the debut novel of Ted Galdi. It is a thriller that follows a teenage genius as he does battle against corrupt officials within the US Government and a shady pharmaceutical company.

Life for Sean Malone has never been normal. Blessed (or cursed) with an IQ of 250, he gained national fame when he was 11 years old by winning over a million dollars on Jeopardy. His success netted him a place at a top college when he was only 14 and it was while studying here that he managed to crack a supposedly impossible mathematical puzzle.

The implications of his discovery create a problem for the NSA as knowledge of Sean’s algorithm would enable anything in the world to be hacked. Manipulating Sean’s code, they test it during a sting operation against a drug lord and kill off innocent bystanders in the process. When he is almost driven insane by the guilt, sympathetic agents within the DEA and FBI help him to be build a new life and identity for himself in Rome.

Four years later, Sean (now known as James Crates) is living a happy life as a graffiti artist and has just met Natasha, the girl of his dreams. However, tragedy soon strikes. On a trip to Africa, Natasha contracts the most deadly strain of the Ebola virus. Knowing that she will more than likely die within a couple of weeks, Sam is forced to return to America in order to find her a cure. However, every step he takes puts him in more danger. His research puts him at risk from both a private pharmaceutical company and those who forced him into hiding at the first place. With Natasha growing weaker every day, he must face these challenges head on if he wants to save her life.

More

Young Sherlock Holmes: Red Leech

Young Sherlock Holmes Red Leech

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, Death Cloud. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Young Sherlock Holmes series was written by Andrew Lane and authorised by the estate of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The novels focus on a fourteen year old Sherlock as he begins to develop the skills that will characterise him as an adult. At the time of writing, six books have been published – Death Cloud (2010), Red Leech (published as Rebel Fire in America) (2010), Black Ice (2011), Fire Storm (2011), Snake Bite (2012) and Knife Edge (2013). For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at Red Leech only.

Following the events of Death Cloud, Sherlock has returned to live with his Uncle in the country and has resumed his studies under the former bounty hunter, Amyus Crowe. However, before he has chance to recover from his previous adventure, he finds himself thrust into another when Mycroft arrives with alarming news. John Wilkes Booth, assassin of Abraham Lincoln, is rumoured to be alive and well and living in the neighbouring town.

Although Amyus tells Sherlock not to get involved, he and his friend Matty swiftly take off to investigate the claim. However, their search backfires when Sherlock is captured and almost shot by Booth’s cohorts. In the ensuing escape, Matty is kidnapped and taken with the Confederates as they flee back to America.

Fearing that they intend to use Booth to rally a new army and restart the Civil War, Amyus swiftly follows them and brings both Sherlock and his daughter, Virginia, with him to help with his investigation. However, their journey is wrought with danger. The Confederates know that Amyus will follow them and have taken steps to ensure that he never reaches America…

More

The End of You and Me

The End of You and Me

The End of You and Me was first published in 2014 and is the debut novel of Wendi M Lee. The novel is a contemporary coming-of-age tale that focuses on the relationship between two teenagers as they struggle to overcome the various obstacles that try to keep them apart.

Kate and London have always done everything together. Ever since they were children, they have considered themselves as one being – always thinking and acting alike. Their school friends all think that they are strange, not seeing how two people can be so close and yet not in a relationship, but this has never bothered the young couple. They are just content in each other’s presence.

Everything starts to change when Anastasia breezes into their lives. Although she is the new girl in their class, Anastasia quickly makes a reputation for herself with her tall tales, plucky attitude and seductive behaviour. She quickly latches on to Kate and London, professing a fascination in their relationship while continuing to flirt with both of them. Equally intrigued, the couple begin to spend more time with her.

Following a run in with Kate’s controlling father, she is forever banned from spending time with her soul mate. In order to still be with him, they begin to meet in secret at Anastasia’s home. However, as they spend more time with Anastasia they start to notice a change in her. The mood swings grow increasingly erratic and she begins to show more and more interest in London. How far will she be able to push Kate before she snaps, and is there any way that the lovers can be together forever when everyone keeps trying to drive them apart?

More

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 67,387 awesome people have visited this blog

© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

All novels reviewed on this site are © to their respective authors.