31 January 2012
Author: Jeff Abbott
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: ATOM
UK Release date: December 2011
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
Everything in 16 year old Evan Casher’s life has been a lie. And after a strange phone call from his mother, Evan’s life is irrevocably turned upside down. As he runs for his life from a dangerous criminal spy ring, he learns how much of his childhood was a web of lies and the truth behind his parents. But can a boy of light ever become a boy of shadows?
Review: True to its title, the fast paced and action packed plot instils a sense of panic and high energy. As soon as Evan goes on the run, everything is uncertain and unknown and I just wanted to race through the pages to see what plucky Evan would do next. There are so many twists, surprises, bluffs, double bluffs and back-stabbing, that it certainly will keep you on your toes and your head a-spinning with who’s doing what to whom.
The context for Panic revolves around the CIA, spies and internal espionage, making the danger feel very big and very real. It also felt like some sort of conspiracy theory about the US government that turns out be true. Different from other YA themes, Panic is much more like a grown-up crime thriller, only focused around a teenage boy.
Whilst I enjoyed reading Panic, there was something about some dialogue and behaviours that felt a little unnatural for the characters. I didn't really believe that a highly trained CIA operative would crack at the mere threat of danger, and although I don’t necessarily think violence is always needed or necessary, I think it would have made this character's reactions and choices more realistic.
When it came to new characters, the third person perspective did maintain a good degree of mystery. Rather than being an all-knowing narrative, you were still kept in the dark and I just didn’t know who was trustworthy, what was a lie, or what was the truth. This certainly added to the feeling of mistrust, suspicion, and fear, and made me empathise more with Ethan.
Evan was an interesting character because he changed and developed throughout the story. To start with he was very innocent and naive, not knowing who to trust or how to look after himself. But gradually his character developed until he was calling the shots. I liked Carrie too. Despite finding out that she hadn’t been truthful to Evan, I sympathised with her, for being used by so many people and not having a life of her own.
Panic is a fast and furious crime thriller, perfect for those that enjoy the excitement and suspense of a cat and mouse chase.