Fans of Ian Somers’ first novel, Million Dollar Gift, of which there are many, will be delighted to see his hero Ross Bentley back in a new adventure.
For those that don’t know – and The Hidden Gift is a more enjoyable read if you are familiar with the action in book one – teenager Ross has supernatural gifts and can move things with his mind. He’d always kept this secret until tempted to reveal them in a competition offering one million dollars to anyone who can prove they have supernatural powers. Little does Ross know, but there are others like him, and a whole secret society dedicated to their protection and exploitation. As Ross learns more about his abilities, he is put into terrible danger. It’s not all bad though and along the way this lonely teenager finds love, and even a new family.
As The Hidden Gift opens, Ross is holed up in a remote cottage with Hunter, a taciturn cigar-smoking minder tasked with training the bored teenager to manage his special powers. Hunter is initially suspicious of his ward, blaming him for the death of a close friend, but Ross manages to win his grudging respect. The two indulge in regular bouts of supernaturally enhanced fist–fights and when not fighting, Ross reads up on the mysterious Guilds of which he is now a member, and pines for his girlfriend, Cathy. When Hunter is sent out on a special Guild mission, he takes Ross with him. A little girl has been discovered with the ultra-rare gift of prophecy – they have to get to her before their enemies. Ross will be tested physically and mentally.
Young teen readers, girls as well as boys, are virtually unanimous in their enthusiasm for these books, and it’s not hard to see why. Ross is a convincing central character, the right mix of sulky teen and superhero, and even though the action is pretty much non-stop, there’s time for reflection and development of the wider plot and we always feel very much part of this strange team of super secret agents.