Gilman, David. Blood Sun.
27 December 2011
When Max finds out that Danny Maguire from his school is found run dead in an underground station, and two "secret service" men show up at his school, he knows that something is wrong. With the help of his friend Sayid, he steals a passport, makes appointments with scholars of Mayan civilization to uncover the mystery of an artifact that Danny mailed to him, and makes his way to Central America. The British secret service is trying to find him, but so is the trained assassin Riga, who is working for Cazamind, who has a secret in the rain forest he doesn't want Max to uncover. Max manages to pick up a friend, Xavier, in a drug deal gone bad, and the two go from Miami to the rain forest to try to find out what happened to Max's mum, an environmental activist (his father is in a care facility, recuperating from his last adventure). While there, he encounters all sorts of danger, from poisonous plants to voracious crocodiles to people who want him dead. With the help of Flint, a "plant thief" whose business was ruined by Max's mother, he is able to find out what did happen to his mother and bring this series to a close.
Strengths: Wow. Don't think I want to go camping with Mr. Gilman! Every page is a breathless adventure where death is seconds away... but Max manages to avoid it. Max is a great loyal character with a very strong sense of what is right. The adventure and action in this series cannot be beat, and the sense of place in every scene is fabulous. I want to go back to the British Museum right now. And maybe have lunch with Mr. Gilman, far away from poison frogs! Don't tell Anthony Horowitz, but this may be stronger than Alex Rider. VERY curious to see what is next from this author.
Weaknesses: Had a hard time figuring out what Riga was doing, and the ending was a bit anticlimactic.