Saturday, January 24, 2015

The ultimate truth by Kevin Brooks

When his parents die in a car accident Travis becomes an orphan, but luckily he has grandparents who can take him in.  The weeks between their death and their funeral is a surreal blur, but nothing seems more surreal than someone taking photographs at their funeral using a hidden camera.  It seems odd but ultimately forgettable, until Travis discovers that his parents private investigation agency was hit during a riot and that some of the items left behind point to a connection between Travis's parents and the mystery man taking photos at their funeral.  The only connection seems to be the last case they were working on, the case of a missing boxer.

Unable to let the death of his parents go, Travis finds himself picking up their case - even though a little internal voice is warning him to let it go, as is the very real external voice of his grandfahter.  The more he thinks about it, and the more he learns about that case, the greater the tempatiation to solve the mystery.  Why was this case so important that someone would kill his parents over it, and why is it so important that people are keeping a close eye on Travis and his family.  Travis may be a teenager but he is highly motivated teenager with friends that will help him out in times of need.  The question is though, can Travis solve the mystery before it is too late?

The ultimate truth is the latest in the mystery/crime genre featuring the death of a parent or parents which leads to the young protagonist striking out on their own to solve the mystery.  Despite that somewhat cynical brief synopsis, The ultimate truth is a well written and believable story that starts strong and finishes with a bang, with plenty of mystery and twists and turns to keep the story interesting.  Travis is an intriguing character right from the start, partly because we join his story at one of the most traumatic times in his life, and partly because he is such a "real" character - he has strengths, weaknesses, passion, and an alarming habit of ignoring advice and instruction from his grandfather (among other people).

Travis is clever and resourceful - traits that help him weasle his way into the most interesting of circumstances.  Travis is no Alex Rider, he doesn't have fancy science fiction gadgets and super villains to deal with.  He is also no Agent 21, taken in my a secret organisation and trained to be a young spy.  There are a lot of things Travis is though that make this a very interesting read - he is strong willed, intelligent, cunning, stubborn, and able to make friends in the most interesting of places.  The action sequences are realistic and help keep the story moving, while also supporting the drama of the story.  

There is a very human element to this story, the loss of his parents is the catalyst for Travis to enter the world of spooks and secrets, and it will be interesting to see how the momentum carries through other books in the series.  This was an entertaining and engaging read, and I hope I get to spend more time in his world because if this little adventure is anything to go on, then Travis has a very interesting future ahead of him.

If you like this book then try:

  • A girl named Digit by Annabel Monahgan
  • Furious Jones and the assassin's secret by Tim Kehoe
  • 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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