Review Blog

Sep 03 2013

Killer Ute by Rosanne Hawke

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UQP, 2013. ISBN 9780702249600.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Thriller. Adventure. Family. Stereotypes. While in court giving evidence against Scott, his bikie father, Joel is warned by him to watch out. Fearing what could happen, his grandmother sends him off with Dev his foster father to hide out on a remote farm. At first Joel thinks it is just a holiday but when a ute with enormous bullbars runs them off the road, he realises that he is in danger. As the attacks mount the suspense becomes unbearable and Dev and Joel, with his friend Mia, go deeper into hiding.
The third book following The keeper and Sailmaker, this is an ideal adventure story to tempt boys into reading. It has all the ingredients to get children excited - a chilling adventure, big cars, scuba diving, fishing and motor bikes, all put together in a very well written package. The series would also be a good read aloud, starting with the first book and letting children read the next two themselves.
What I particularly liked in this series was the breaking down of stereotypes that Hawke does so subtly and effortlessly. The reader will discover that not every bikie is bad, indeed the members of the Longriders are shown to be helpful and honest. Joel has learning and behavioural difficulties but his efforts at self discipline are shown in a sympathetic light, as are single parent families. Joel wishes that Dev could be his real father and has gradually come to understand why his very young mother left him with his grandmother to raise.
It is a pleasure to see this excellent series in print.
Pat Pledger

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