Michael Simmon's Finding Lubchenko was absolutely fabulous... for the first half. Boy whose father runs a successful medical supply company doesn't get any money from dad so steals office supplies and sells them on ebay. Then, coworker is killed and father is accused. Boy must find murderer so his own thievery is not uncovered. Loved the style (short and choppy-- perfect for the sort of child who wants spy tales), the pace-- brilliant. Was going to buy three copies. Then the boy (Evan) takes off to Paris to find Lubchenko and spends way too long clubbing and too little time doing espionage. On top of that, he and his friends really don't solve the case-- it's all just handed to them. I'll buy a copy, but not three.
So why is Robert Muchamore's CHERUB series in paperback? Good, potboiling stuff here. I started with number five (Divine Madness), but it really didn't matter. 287 paperback pages with tiny print, but it will be great for kids who want Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy. Clean, but lots of shooting and some gross stuff (leaving the building by way of the sewage tank!). Good, intricate plot as well-- a religious cult has ties to ecoterrorists, and members of CHERUB (teens who are orphaned who are trained as spies; yes, much like Thieves Like Us, which has been really popular) infiltratrate to try to save as many people as possible. Children like books where they are empowered, so these will be great. I can't wait to see the rest of the series! Why paperbacks?