It’s the School holidays, it’s winter and raining, so what better place to be than your library to choose some cool books to take home – like the one below!
Chase, by Linwood Barclay. Juvenile fiction
Linwood Barclay is very well known for writing excellent thrillers; now, kids, your luck is in because this is his first book for children, and I am sure adults will find this story just as unputdownable as his new young audience.
(I certainly did!)
Border Collie Chipper lives in a cage in ‘The Institute’, a secret government facility that trains intelligent animals to be spies – after all, who would ever suspect a docile animal supposedly asleep within earshot of secret conversations in countries like Afghanistan and other places that are not US Allies? He is also fitted with some very advanced and sophisticated software; a GPS that tracks his whereabouts, plus tiny cameras in his eyes which give his handlers close-ups of who he’s close to. He’s a million-dollar+ dog – until his in-born playfulness (he loves chasing squirrels, YEAH!) causes his minders to decide to cut their losses: this dog, despite the millions spent on him, is too unreliable for field-work. They’re going to put him down.
And Chipper knows this. He’s a very smart dog anyway, but two kind previous handlers have programmed extra information into him – like the urge to escape, and the intelligence to do it, AND a compulsion to find a young boy called Jeff Conroy, who badly needs his help, for Jeff is in great danger: Chipper has to find him before the Institute finds him – no easy task.
Meantime, Jeff is living with his Aunt Flo at her tourist fishing camp alongside Pickerel Lake. Aunt Flo has taken Jeff in after the recent tragic accidental death of his parents: there are two major disadvantages to this arrangement. Aunt Flo is a neat freak and she works Jeff relentlessly. She also hates dogs, so Jeff’s beloved companion Pepper has had to be rehomed. Jeff doesn’t know who he loves and misses more – his parents or Pepper. He certainly doesn’t care for Aunt Flo, but his life is about to change in the most dramatic way when Chipper eventually finds him – and so do the ruthless assassins from the Institute.
Mr Barclay ramps up the action to a frantic pace; he also ends the story with a huge question mark: what will happen next?? For this is a start of a series ( I have book two, ‘Escape’ reserved already); Chipper and Jeff are still in danger, especially from someone they trust absolutely, but the bond of love between dog and boy never wavers. They will be friends for life. FIVE STARS. Great for ages 10+.