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THE CUT OUT BY JACK HEATH

PUBLISHED BY ALLEN & UNWIN
REVIEW BY KRIS WILLIAMS

Heath published his first book when he was 13. The child spy/thriller genre is one that he writes very well and The Cut Out is no exception. It is a fast paced, actioned packed book with twists and turns and a cliff-hanger ending that will have you waiting for the next book.

Fero Dremovich is your average 14-year-old schoolboy who is good at sports. He lives in a small country called Kamau in Eastern Europe. Kamau and Besmar, a neighbouring country, are at war and have been for many years. The are separated by a land mined dead zone.

Fero is mistakenly recognised as a Besmari spy named Troy Maschenov. He is enlisted by the secret service to pretend to be Maschenov and make contact with a Kamauan agent Dessa Cormanenko who is undercover in Besmar.  He must bring her back, as she is the only one who knows how to get into an abandoned hospital containing a deadly virus and enough explosives to destroy much of Kamau. After minimal training and armed with some spectacular gadgets, Fero is thrust into the mission. But all is not as it seems.

While it deals with some contemporary political issues and how sometimes the difference between good and evil is not easy to see, it is a quick, easy read full of action and is very accessible to the intended age group, boys and girls alike. Heath has come a long way from his first book The Lab to this one. The ending answers a lot of questions but leaves you on the edge of your seat for the sequel. I thoroughly recommend The Cut Out for those who love fast paced action and for boys who may be reluctant readers.

Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.