Walker, an ‘award-winning scriptwriter’, grabs the attention of the reader adroitly in the first pages of this thriller based in the South Seas with slang, gimmicky type arrangements, name dropping and self-conscious coolness as Danny fends off bullies in his South London school. Thankfully the book does not continue in the same vein though at the, admittedly stressful, denouement it lapses again.
The tale is fast-paced, chilling and gripping, our teenage hero caught up in a people-smuggling cartel in Indonesia involving his Chinese father. On the plus side, adventure plus teen hormones has broad ‘boy appeal’, but the various attempts to hook you in, alongside a somewhat superfluous back story and irritating stereotyping of Chinese speech, all serve to make this of short-lived interest.
A much more coherent and successful book on a similar theme is Anthony Horovitz’s Snakehead (BfK No. 168) in which the various moral issues are sensitively addressed.