LIQUIDATOR The brand-new, delicious and wildly popular energy drink, For those who wanna win. The company that makes it is set to earn a fortune, with its global launch climaxing at an international rock concert that will SHAKE the planet. The only problem An innocent child is dying. Meet Vicky and her classmates, their work experience is about to spin totally out of control as they uncover a secret that could change the world. And put them all in mortal danger.
This book took me a while to get into and it wasn't a book that once I started I couldn't put it down, he opposite in fact, there were times when I had to put it down and then delayed and struggled with picking it up again so found it was better to wait till the kids were in bed to read it. It's a bit of a roller coaster ride from beginning to end, it starts off slow with us getting to know the characters but then it zooms into the main plot. A group of student doing work experience find themselves embroiled in an international plot to conceal the life-threatening side effects of a new energy drink.
The way the students become linked up is really well executed. At first it seems unlikely that all those students will have a part in this adventure, but one by one they are drawn in. The book also has splotches on the page to make it look like a drink has been spilt on it and it is rather clever in that pages with txts, emails etc appear differently. The relationship that quickly develops between Leela and about-to-retire surgeon Mr Ashan is played out rather well, in a memorable sequence, he takes her to the morgue so she may understand death, and reveals a vulnerable side that does him great credit. The book is written well but I didn't end up loving it and I have no need to ever read it again.
I have to admit I am a sucker for a good yarn, but this book really had me hooked right from the outset. I read all 390 pages in one sitting because it was far too compelling to put down. It has all the elements of a good thriller plus the added bonus of being targeted at a teenage audience. Not that this should dissuade older people from reading it too - the content is strong enough to appeal to a lot of adults as well.
The format is interesting. The protagonists are a group of fourteen-year-olds who start off doing a three-day work experience module for school, but for some of them things do not pan out quite as they expected. Each chapter is told from the perspective of one of the young people and this gives the effect of the story being told in 3-D as each writer has a different style of writing and a different angle on events. One of the narrators is in fact a set of twins - Polly and Molly - who write together, identifying from time to time whose voice is being used at that particular moment! I could imagine them actually sitting together and passing the keyboard to each other as they wrote.
What impressed me was the number of different events and the way the author managed to weave them all together so that they all contributed to the final showdown. To go into too many details would give away the plot, but the book includes descriptions of hectic car chases, rock concerts, environmental and ethical issues, high-tech activities including computer programming and surveillance, the role of aggressive marketing, multinational companies, and illegal immigrants. There is certainly a lot of background material for the interested reader to follow up - once he or she has recovered from absorbing the story on its own merits.
One last comment. I liked the way the pages were "decorated" with stains as though someone had spilt their drink on it (which, incidentally, ties in with one of the main events in the story). I did not feel I had to check that my hands were clean before I turned the pages. And that is a good thing as this is definitely a book that I will read again. I look forward to reading other works by this author.
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