Review Blog

Aug 25 2010

Operation Foxtrot Five by D.J. Stutley

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Bushytail Books. ISBN 9780980676204.
Doug, the twins Aaron and Keryn, and Rachel are hiding from the authorities with their friend Tori. The family want to keep together after the death of their parents in a car accident. The court has not allowed their friend Tori to take them in because of her heart condition. Family services had placed them in separate homes, so they had run away. After a year on the run the twins fill in a form at school which alerts the authorities to their whereabouts. And now Detective Sergeant Scott Backer is on their trail.
After a close shave Doug leaves notes for Backer, and talks with him on the phone. At first he is angry at Backer warning him to keep away. He wonders why large amount of resources are being put into finding them. Doug comes to respect Scott, and the real reason for the search for the children is revealed.
This is the first book of a series about this family, taking its name from the way Scott Backer names his files. The plot is relatively simple and easy to follow. The story is linear with no major sub plots. Themes of loyalty and trust are found in the relationships between Tori and the children, and in the one developing between Backer and Doug. The book is not over long and deals with contemporary issues. It would appeal to the reluctant teen reader of upper primary or lower secondary age.
Operation Foxtrot Five would be a useful book to have in a school library. D.J. Stutley has a website that offers teacher's notes for Operation Foxtrot Five. They consist of a range of questions for each chapter. The adventures of the family and Scott are pursued in further books dealing with issues with which youth are certain to be familiar.
Sue Whittaker

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