'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 20 September 2009

Review: Third Transmission

Wow. I started writing this review after my first chapter of Third Transmission, and I was so gobsmacked, all I ended up writing was ‘wow’.

Several chapters later and now at the end of this breathtaking ride by young Canberra author, Jack Heath, I can pretty much utter the same word, but thrice – wow, wow and wow.

I’m not the most likely person to be reading Third Transmission. Sitting in a café recently, eyes wide behind the front cover, gnawing through my bagel like a rat on steroids, it didn’t dawn on me that this middle aged blonde housewife might look a right sight – eyes burrowed deeply into the pages of this high-impact, young and blokey tome.

True, I may not be a teen, and I’m certainly not male. And ok – I’m also not a super-adventure action hero wannabe. But this didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this lightning-paced and brilliantly written novel.

The third in the Agent Six of Hearts series (after The Lab and Remote Control), author Jack Heath has woven a thumping, pumping, tightly configured and deftly researched tale that takes his sixteen-year-old hero on a new series of missions; missions that link together like chain mail in an astonishing plot-weave that works so well, you could peel it off the pages and slap it on a movie screen.

Indeed, Third Transmission is so aesthetically-driven, reading it is like watching an action blockbuster unfolding in your head. Heath writes with clear, detailed and dexterous descriptives, however, the plotline isn’t sidetracked or bogged down in the process – the author has a knack for combining a fast pace plotline and lots of action with a narrative that is colourful and totally immersing.

After hunting down dangerous canisters containing a deadly weaponised form of the SARS virus, the challenges facing Agent Six just keep coming as ChaoSonic’s plot to wipe out the city unfolds around him. Not only that, an old and very dangerous nemesis is on the hunt for Six’s brain and the acrimony from his sister Nai continues to haunt him. Brother Kyntak and father figure King are on his side, but something strange is happening with the Queen of Spades, and what will come of Six’s growing closeness to gorgeous agent Ace of Diamonds?

When The Deck sends Agent Six of Hearts on his latest mission to recover a dangerous nuclear warhead, Six infiltrates a launch party thrown by mad ChaoSonic scientist Chemal Allich, but when Six learns exactly what Allich has managed to create and the impact it will have on mankind, he has no choice but to throw his world upside down and risk the lives of all agents working in The Deck.

From this short synopsis, it’s clear there’s enough packed into this clever novel to boggle the brain – and on top of all that, the action just doesn’t stop coming. Heath’s ensuing story will literally take your breath away with its vigorous pace and extraordinary and highly intelligent plot twists. A warning: stay focused. Even this worldly brain was tested and skewed in every direction in an attempt to keep pace with the momentum and plot weaving of Third Transmission.

Read the rest of this review and interview with author Jack Heath at Australian Women Online.