The Set Up (Liars #3)

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Jack Heath, The Set Up (Liars, #3), Scholastic Australia, March 2019, 240 pp., RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781742993416

A robot battle turns sinister when Jarli is approached by government agents. They want him to use his lie-detector app to prove the defence minister is telling the truth. The minister may not be lying, but someone else is. A shock attack occurs and Jarli becomes the prime suspect. He can’t even use the Truth App to prove his innocence, because someone has hacked it. Soon Jarli is on the run, unable to trust anyone. Only one person could be behind this diabolical plan. Can Jarli stop Viper before it is too late?

The third instalment in the popular Liars series, The Set-Up is a new tale of intrigue from Jack Heath, author of the best-selling 300 Minutes of Danger series.

Told in the third person, the story centres on Jarli, a technological wunderkind whose lie-detecting app has changed the face of human interaction around the world. It’s a heck of a burden to put on the shoulders of an adolescent, and he definitely feels the pressure. It’s easy to sympathise with Jarli, for who amongst us doesn’t know the feeling of being in a situation that’s rapidly escalating beyond our control, and desperately trying to keep a lid on things?

The writing is well-paced and Heath keeps enough twists and turns in the plot (including one at the very end that I did NOT see coming) to keep the reader turning those pages. Youngsters who imagine themselves getting wrapped up in mysteries and adventures that whisk them away from the every-day ordinariness of life will definitely get a kick out of this series.

These books are apparently very big with the grade five and sixes (I’m told they’re constantly out at the library at my son’s school), and the story is definitely full of interesting plots and narrative elements that kids of that age will certainly enjoy. Books 4 and 5 in the series are due out in June and September of this year respectively.

Reviewed by Christian Price

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