Review Blog

Apr 19 2013

Catch the Zolt by Phillip Gywnne

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The Debt Instalment One, Allen & Unwin, 2013. 288p.
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Life is pretty good when you are the eldest male issue of an affluent Gold Coast family, attending a good school and at the top of the sport you love.But imagine that your birthday changes all that. It's time for Dom to learn the family secret.He's inherited a family obligation, a debt. He must pass a series of tests handed down for centuries to the 15 year old males of the Silvagni family by a particularly vengeful secret organisation, known only as 'The Debt'.
The Debt is a new action series for teens and tweens by Phillip Gwynne. A departure from his usual realism, and taking 3 years or 6 months per book to write the 6 book series, Catch the Zolt is the first instalment and Dom's first test. Can our humble narrator track down a young criminal, who has become a local cult hero to the locals for his brazen crimes and for evading capture? The first trial leads Dom into dangerous neighbourhoods but the biggest threat is the particularly malevolent price for failure which hangs over Dom's head .
Dom is a likeable narrator and we worry that he cannot pay his first debt. But he is also ingenious, fit and a capable hero, even if his family and contemporaries can never be privy to his struggles and triumphs. Gwynne's writing seems less careful but there are no obvious shortcomings in this fast-paced crime thriller and it's just as well, because you won't be able to stop at just one instalment.
Deborah Robins

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