Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Bring Back Cerberus:The Debt Instalment Three - Phillip Gwynne

In this third instalment of the series, the plot becomes even more tangled and enigmatic; if falling into line with the requirements of The Debt was making things complicated for Dom before, life becomes interlaced with perplexing convolutions this time around. Sworn to secrecy by The Debt means secrets and lies become part of the fabric of Dom’s existence. After playing a nerve-racking waiting game, Dom is finally given the third assignment – to find Cerberus, the prototype of a new device before it hits the market and hand it over to the mysterious Anna Russo at her birthday party. And considering no one even knows what the device is – a new mobile phone, tracking device, whatever – Dom’s task seems impossibly difficult. To make things even more complicated, as well as hacking into people’s email accounts, Dom must learn how to break cryptic codes and find the answers to questions even Google won’t supply. The Dom Silvagni in this book is not the Dom the reader is introduced to in the beginning, before The Debt put its stamp on his life. Tech geek, school-wagger, private investigator, spy – resourcefulness, pluck and courage have become second nature.

This book is Janet Evanovich meets Ian Flemming meets Matthew Reilly. Packed with adventure, humour – often involving bodily functions of the smelly kind – computer tech-speak, facts about sport – running and the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) – intrigue, suspense, conflict and first love, the target audience will LOVE this series. The prose is intelligent and superbly crafted, the characters three-dimensional and believable; the irony of being a rich kid with a debt that money can’t pay is played out deftly throughout the text. And Gwynne slips backstory from the first two books seamlessly into the story. Do I really have to wait until June for Instalment Four? A totally engaging read.

Allen & Unwin 2013

(A version of this review appears in Magpies Vol 28, Issue 1, March 2013)

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