Series: Codename: Winger, Book Two
Author: Jeff Adams
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Length: 186 Pages
Category: Teen Fiction, Mystery/Suspense
At a Glance: This is a grand slam book, one I highly recommend.
Reviewed By: Taz
Blurb: Theo Reese is a high school student who’s also a secret agent. Usually those lives are kept separate, but now he must be both at once.
Theo lends his expertise to his school’s computer science club as they gear up for a competition, but his talents are also required by the covert agency he works for. Someone has stolen an encrypted key that can allow them to control the nation’s energy grids. The possibilities are catastrophic unless Theo and his team can reclaim the file.
Theo locates the file in an unexpected place—the computer science competition. As Winger, his secret identity, he must recover the file and keep his teammates safe from the unscrupulous thieves…. But can he do it without revealing his secrets? He can’t blow his cover, especially with so many of his classmates around.
Review: After reading book one in the Codename: Winger series, Tracker Hacker, I had to see how Theo’s story continued in book two, Schooled, and I wasn’t disappointed. I tore through this book in less than a day, literally resenting having to step away from the story, even just to move my car so my sister could get the mower out of the garage. The action-packed storytelling continues in this installment, each chapter propelling the reader into the next. Suspense built upon suspense as my thoughts about who was the antagonist shifted as new information was revealed.
In terms of plotline, Mr. Adams continues to show us his understanding of technology and the complexities of IT work. He flawlessly describes the actions that Theo must take which, were I to sit at a computer, I’d be entirely lost, but in reading what he does, it makes complete sense. The technical aspect of the story is gripping. In fact, I found myself worrying about who might be trying to tap into my phone or track my online activities. He makes the world of cyber-stalking very real and convincing.
At the same time, Theo is a sixteen-year-old kid, and the author also does a fantastic job of keeping that fact a center focus as well. While his skills surpass those of most professionals in the IT world, his maturity and the things that matter to him are still the things that normal teenagers worry about. Things like bullying, commitments, and overextending oneself through unreasonable expectations.
While in book one Theo’s father didn’t come into play until about half way through, he was a central featured character in this story. Theo’s mom, who’d been central in the last story, didn’t make as much of an appearance. Other characters we learned to love, such as Lorenzo and John, continue in Theo’s journey. And, we get to meet a whole slew of other characters as well.
In this book, the main cast of characters were high school kids, so the young adult aspect of the writing remained center stage. The jealousies, insecurities, and posturing that kids experience are well depicted, and we, the reader, can transport back to our days in high school when what our partners, friends, and teammates thought of us was far more important than when we grow up and have better perspective.
Theo’s thoughts about his relationship with Eddie get a chance to develop more in this installment, and we get to see the struggle as Theo balances all his responsibilities, the greatest of which is his need to keep secrets about the work he does for TOS (Tactical Operational Support), the espionage network he and his parents work for. While the romance element of the story doesn’t rise to the level of erotic, the love and obstacles for Theo and Eddie are real and believable. Whether they end up together in the long run is yet to be determined, and Theo handles this uncertainty with greater maturity than I would have at that age.
The climax does not disappoint, providing high-tension and fast-sequenced action, culminating in surprising and satisfying resolution. All in all, this is a grand slam book, one I highly recommend.
You can buy Schooled here:
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