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Meltdown

Style: Average

Attitude: Some Care Needed → Unobjectionable

In Brief: By-the-book SAS youth thriller with closely-described gruesome action, military jargon, and no real development of the characters. Very fleeting mention of unsavoury topics. Military-style ruthlessness on both sides. An uncomdemned killing by a sympathetic character.

Author: Andy McNab

Series: Boy Soldier

Publisher: Doubleday

Published in: 2007

Age Range: Young Teens+

Period: Contemporary

Setting: England

Genres:  AdventureBoys


Characters:

  • Danny and his ex-SAS grandfather Fergus are willing to do the special forces' dirty work although with a very small amount of conscience. In contrast, Marcie Deveraux has no conscience left, and in particular is hated by Danny for killing his friend Elena in the course of the previous job.
  • Teddy and Will are rich young twins who've used their inherited wealth to develop the drug Meltdown, regardless of the effects it has on individuals (melting their organs) or on society (turning people into mindless killers if their organs don't melt first).
  • Kubara is the rich Eastern European drug baron behind the twins' operation. Ruthless and cruel, he does have a soft spot for his daughter Storm whom Danny befriends.

Synopsis:

Danny & Fergus, in return for a clean slate, agree to help bring down an impenetrable drugs empire which threatens the very fabric of society. This involves infiltrating the twins' organisation, finding out who's behind it, and bringing them down.

Notes:

Lighterweight than any of the preceding books (which weren't exactly Shakespeare), this one goes through the motions of taking down a drugs empire and destroying the chemicals involved. Although it has the usual share of coordinated car chases and bully-boy violence, it lacks what human interest the other stories offered and it's all over before it's begun. The usual questions of how far the military and special forces should go when it comes to stopping what they perceive as a major threat. This time, they employ eye-in-the-sky laser technology to completely wipe out a drug-processing setup regardless of the loss of human lives.

Meanwhile, Danny's now 18 and can drive and so forth, but he hasn't really grown up and is guaranteed to lose his temper when he's told to stay put. In the final battle he takes a gun from one of the enemy and shoots Marcie to prevent her from shooting Storm, daughter of the Russian drug baron. Exactly who's right and who's not is fairly hazy in a situation like this, but basically I'd say he gets away with murder.

Wednesday 15th August 2007