The Phoenix Files is another very good spec-fic novel series from Australia, which initially threw me, as I’d had one of those “this sort of cover equals this particular country” moments. And if I’d really thought about it properly, which, obviously, I didn’t, I would have said “Chris Morphew is Australian, ipso facto…”. But I didn’t. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that Arrival is set in Australia, not Phoenix, Arizona, and is a roaring good read, with just enough mystery and ‘reveals’ to keep your attention, some realistic teen friendships (and feuds), some frankly unobservant but supposedly highly sought-after adults, and some excellently scary and ruthless ‘baddies’.
The ‘end of the human race’ scenario is a pretty scary one, and this first episode just keeps raising the bar on how far the baddies will go to convince everyone in Phoenix that the outside world is still functioning as normal. With the apocalyptic finale only one hundred days away there is plenty of tension, great bike chases, nail-biting close shaves, and the obligatory adult sceptic disguised as the town’s eccentric madman, Crazy Bill.
A good fun read for fans of Alex Rider, H.I.V.E., Gone and the like.