Friday, August 8, 2014

Furious Jones and the assassin's secret by Tim Kehoe

Seven months ago Furious Jones (yes that is his real name) lost his mother when she was murdered in a small American town named Galena.  Since his mother died Furious has been living with his grandfather, and when he finds out that his famous author father is going to be in New York he hops on the train to go and see him - and gets more than he bargained for in the process.  While sitting in the audience Furious watches in shock as his father is shot by an assassin in the audience.  It is hard enough explaining to his grandfather that he went to see his father without permission, never mind explaining that he saw his father gunned down as well - not something the average twelve year old has to deal with, but then Furious is not your average twelve year old. 

With no other obvious choices on the table Furious decides to try and solve the mystery of his parents murders, but there are people who will stop at nothing to silence the entire Jones family.  With nothing but his wits and his eidetic memory Furious is about to embark on a mystery solving journey that would leave most adults scratching their heads - and in this case there is more than one single mystery.  Furious knows his mother dies in Galena, but what does that have to do with the latest novel in his fathers bestselling series, a novel that was written at top speed and with a release shrouded in mystery.  As Furious tries to solve the mystery on a tight budget, he also has to dodge the attention of the CIA and the Salvatore crime syndicate - how hard can that possibly be for a smart kid like Furious? 

There is nothing better than picking up a book that lives up to, and even exceeds, your expectations.  I picked up Furious Jones and the assassin's secret based on the blurb and while I was expecting a good read, I was not quite prepared for the slick and well penned read that kept me turning the pages as I tried to solve the mystery and figure out who the bad guy was before Furious could.  The writing reminds me strongly of a James Patterson thriller, a story with the perfect balance between tension, pace, and dropping breadcrumbs so you can try and untangle the story as you read.  I was highly impressed with the deft writing from Kehoe and there is a bright future for both Kehoe and the character of Furious Jones if other stories in this series reach this same high standard.

Out of curiosity I had a quick look at some of the reviews and comments other shave written about Furious Jones and his story, and quite a few focus on the fact that it is unusual for a story written for this age group to feature the deaths (in rapid succession) of his family.  If the deaths were gruesome or gratuitous I would potentially have issues with a book aimed at the 9+ age group having so much death in it, but the deaths are well handled and death is a fact of life for everyone and not something we should "protect" children from.  Some parents may prefer that their child doesn't read this book because of the death of his family, and the deaths of the assassins targets, but that is a personal choice and I would encourage parents to flick through the book for themselves before making a decision about whether their child is old enough to read this series.

An adrenaline fuelled mystery for older children ready to sink their teeth into a twisted mystery with a strong (young) lead character.  Furious Jones and the assassin's secret is an action packed and explosive start of a promising new series for older children and teenagers (and adults who love a good read).  Kehoe is a skilled writer who has created a character that rivals that of those created by James Patterson and he has a bright future as a thriller writer.  Bring on more Furious Jones so we can all see what comes next!

If you like this book then try:
  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy
  • Nickel plated by Aric Davis
  • Forbidden island by Malcolm Rose
  • Burning blue by Paul Griffin
  • Girl, missing by Sophie McKenzie
  • Agent 21 by Chris Ryan
  • Boy soldier by Andy McNab
  • Catch the Zolt by Phillip Gwynne
  • Code Red: Battleground by Chris Ryan
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • Acceleration by Graham McNamee
  • Death cloud by Andrew Lane
  • People's republic by Robert Muchamore
  • Dead to you by Lisa McMann
  • Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
  • Don't turn around by Michelle Gagnon

  • Reviewed by Brilla

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