The first in a proposed thriller series, this book introduces a new heroine, 15-year-old Brit Maya Brown.
Maya is devoted to her mother, Pam, a highly placed agent in England’s security services. Pam rescued Maya from the horrors of ethnic conflict in Eastern Europe, bringing her west and adopting her. Now, years later, Maya considers herself an average English teen, not the Muslim child she was as an infant. But it is Islamic extremists who are threatening to kidnap her if Pam doesn’t stop investigating their terrorist activities. Tucked away in the countryside, surrounded by security guards, Pam and Maya think they’re safe enough to go for a quick jog…only to have the threatened kidnapping go horribly wrong when it’s Pam who is abducted. Now it’s up to Maya to do the rescuing. To save her mum and stop the threat of multiple bombings, Maya must infiltrate the Islamic community in Leeds and separate friend from foe before it’s too late. In and around the action, Maya’s search explores relevant themes of bigotry, civil unrest, faith and loyalty, as well as the search for self-discovery all teens must make. But the overall treatment of these themes feels glib and oversimplified, and Maya’s growth is subverted by the book’s mission.
Here's hoping future outings fold the big ideas in more gracefully. (Thriller. 11-16)