Crimewave (The Seven Signs #5)

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Michael Adams, Crimewave (The Seven Signs #5), Scholastic Australia, July 2017, 192pp., $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781743628058  

Crimewave is the fifth instalment of Michael Adams’s serialised adventure series The Seven Signs. Following on from Skyfire (book 1), Carnage (book 2), Wipeout (book 3), and Killswitch (book 4), Crimewave brings the reader one irresistible step closer to the series’ inevitably epic finale.

The DARE seven’s impressive teamwork, bravery and deepening friendships are put to the ultimate test in this book as they battle hopeless odds, despicable foes and, with his devastating endgame looming ever closer, the increasing intensity of the Signmaker’s sinister schemes.

After a quick recap of the first four signs, we are hurled full-throttle into yet another globe-trotting adventure. Moving between chapters at a shutter-stop speed, the reader is transported from the burning devastation in South Korea to a lair of a monstrous criminal, deep within the Colombian wilderness.

In the wake of the first four catastrophic attacks the world is developing a growing mistrust for computers; this is especially true for the DARE teens as they now face an all out robot apocalypse.

The odds are stacked against the divided friends as they try to escape a crazed army of RoboWorld’s previously friendly mechanised attractions. This is truly the stuff of nightmares, hunted by murderous robotic animals, including a troop of simian beasts, with their harrowing skull armatures visible beneath their burning fur, and some spider-like slice bots. The team must now battle the cold, ruthless power of a superior artificial intelligence.

And just in case the reader thought the Signmaker’s reign of relentless cyber terror wasn’t bad enough, Adams has created another villain of truly unparalleled evil. With his private army, hidden jungle lair complete with prison cells cut into the mountainside and a collection of deadly pets worthy of a James Bond movie, Marco Bravo is the kingpin of the Colombian criminal underbelly.

Along with the Colombian president and his advisor, Isobel and Mila are kidnapped by Bravo and his unscrupulous henchmen: the Black Jaguars. The quick-thinking duo can see no way out and are left with a terrible choice: do they help this power hungry maniac or take their chances with Bravo’s Piranhas, snakes, spiders and poison dart frogs?

Crimewave has plenty of Adams’s trademark twists and turns and things are never quite as they seem even from deep within Bravo’s deadly compound. As far as the DARE seven and the Signmaker are concerned, could the coming of this new adversary prove to be a case of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend?’

The unexpected return of one character and the sudden death of another, throw the Signmaker’s identity up in the air once again and as the DARE seven catch a horrifying glimpse of the Signmaker’s ultimate goal they are filled with dread and left with more unanswered questions than ever before.

In this exciting and intelligent page-turner, aimed at readers 10 years and over, Adams does not shy away from the disturbing outcomes of the Signmaker’s terror atrocities, as the reader comes to understand that failure to prevent the fifth sign will lead to yet more danger, corruption and civil unrest than ever before, unleashing an unstoppable crime wave upon an already reeling and shattered world.

Offering more code-breaking and problem solving opportunities with the refreshing infusion of an insanely devious new foe, Crimewave is an addictive read. Written in the same action packed and pacy style as the previous titles in the series, Adams stokes the fire of his ever deepening mystery, leaving his readership teetering on the edge of yet another brilliantly dramatic cliff-hanger. Both Terrortide #6 and Battlefront #7 are set for release later this year.

Reviewed by Lisa Hoad

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