Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Turn off the Lights:The Debt Instalment Two - Phillip Gwynne

The Debt – Instalment Two raises more questions than answers. Dom’s next task is to turn off all of the Gold Coast’s lights during Earth Hour. How can a fifteen-year-old boy manage that? He has ClamTop – the mysterious laptop computer supplied to him by The Debt, that opens on voice-command – but he’s going to need a heck of a lot of resourcefulness to pull this one off. And it’s complicated. Not only does Dom have to race against the clock to put a strategy in place, he has to beat Fiends of the Earth at their own game, to stop someone being maimed, or worse.

And how is Dom going to prevent Tristan from taking advantage of Imogen – when he’s discovered they plan to meet when the lights go off? Then there’s Dad acting weirdly. What did he mean when he said The Debt didn’t necessarily impose an imposition and ‘to turn adversity into advantage’? Why has he lied all these years saying he doesn’t ‘speakka the wog’ when Dom overhears him having a conversation in perfect Calabrian? And what of that comment, ‘my hands are bloody but unbowed’?

If all this is not baffling enough, why is taxi driver Luiz Antonio following Dom? And why did Seb, Dom’s running mate, set him up to run through Preacher’s Forest – which the kids at school say is littered with mutilated and mouldering bodies – and where Dom is shot with a tranquiliser dart that knocks him out cold? What of the kidnapping incident with Zoe – the Zolt’s sister? And the men in the balaclavas with baseball bats so desperate to retrieve the Double Eagle coin? And for that matter, the Zolt. Where is he?

This next instalment in The Debt series is peppered with intrigue as the plot becomes more and more clue-laden, making it impossible to stop at book two.

Allen & Unwin 3013

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

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