Move over, Alex Rider: Ryan Quinn has come to town.
Ryan Quinn has spent most of his life traveling the world and is only just beginning a regular life at “home” in New York City. The white eighth-grader is settling into a routine, making new friends, avoiding fights with the school bully, and even looking forward to taking a girl to the fall dance. But just when it looks as if everything is going his way, everything goes horribly wrong. His dad, director of a U.N. program, goes missing, and his mom is kidnapped right in front of him. Feeling helpless, he falls back on tricks his parents have taught him, never realizing they were training him for missions just like this. With help from his Filipino-American technogeek friend, Danny, and his crush, Kasey, a white girl, Ryan jumps on a plane to Andakar, a military dictatorship in the Far East, hoping to find his father before the five days given him by the kidnappers run out. McGee applies his TV experience to this debut novel, crafting an expertly paced ride. He stocks it with all the expected character tropes: the hero, the villain, the football star, the smart-mouth techie, and a bevy of girls ranging from benign to malign.
With a fast pace, familiar characters, plenty of action, and little testing of the envelope, this trilogy opener is calculated to please genre fans. (Thriller. 10-14)