Review Blog

Nov 07 2012

This is not a drill by Beck McDowell

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2012. ISBN 9781742973845.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Emery is finding it incredibly awkward tutoring a group of grade-one children with her ex-boyfriend Jake. But suddenly things get a whole lot worse when a boy's father bursts into the classroom with a gun, demanding his son. The man - a solider back home from Iraq - says he just wants to be with his son. However, the teacher's resistance may have deadly consequences, and the boy's father isn't afraid of opening fire on anyone, even in front of the children.
Some novels take time to build up to the action, but This Is Not A Drill is not one of those novels. Even by the end of the first page, it's easy to see what kind of ride you're in for. And what a ride. It's a wonderful feat by the author to keep a story like this so fast-paced and exciting, considering the events of the story only take place over a single day. The action scenes are almost breathless in their urgency and it's a constantly entertaining book. The most common problem with a great deal of action novels and movies is a lack of character development, but fortunately that's not the case here. Each person has their own unique story to tell, and that happens without getting in the way of the story too much. It's not a brilliant novel, but the real purpose here is not to make a literary classic. Purely, it's to entertain, and that it does splendidly.
A fast-paced, taut action thriller with some thought-provoking themes.
I recommend this book.
Rebecca Adams (Student)

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