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Flush is an old-fashioned adventure story, dressed in youthful American idiom; given the speed at which language crosses the Atlantic, the style should readily attract young British readers.
The plot is old-fashioned in that it’s one of those ‘What chance does a criminal stand against smart young kids?’ stories. The crime may be the contemporary one of environmental vandalism (releasing raw sewage into the waters of the Florida Keys) but the greedy baddie, Dusty Muleman, is timeless. His foreign ‘heavy’, Luno, and his bullying son, Jasper Jr and his sidekick, Bull, are all out of Central Casting too. For our heroes, 12-year-old Noah and his feisty younger sister, Abbey (they’re really good friends, which makes a refreshing change) – and for Mom too – Dad is The Problem. He may be the best fishing guide in the Keys, but his idealism and impulsiveness lead him into trouble; into jail, as a matter of fact, when he knocks some holes in Dusty’s casino boat (the source of the sewage) and sends Coral Queen to the bottom.
That’s how it all starts. The narrative works rapidly through sundry exciting episodes. As the plot unfolds, we meet a piratical grandpa who returns from ten years’ silence in Colombia in the nick of time and a blowsy blonde with a heart of gold and, more interestingly, a sharp insight into the workings of a 12-year-old boy. The story is told with pace, energy and wit; the front cover promise that this is a ‘furiously funny thriller’ is mostly fulfilled through the slickness of the telling. An enjoyable page-turner, then; if you have the time, you’d probably race through its 304 pages at a single sitting. GF