Title: Maximum Security
Author: Robert Muchamore
Series: CHERUB #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Easy reading, Spy novels
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books
5th sentence, 74th page: The rooms at the front of the building also had sliding glass doors and balconies that overlooked gardens, rather than the windows overlooking the muddy football pitches you got at the back.
Over the years, CHERUB has put plenty of criminals behind bars. Now, for the first time ever, they’ve got to break one out…
Under American law, kids convicted of serious crimes can be sentenced as adults. Two hundred and eighty of these child criminals live in the sunbaked desert prison of Arizona Max.
In one of the most daring CHERUB missions every, James Adams has to go undercover inside Arizona Max, befriend an inmate and then bust him out.
CHERUB kids are trained professionals, working in everyday situations. Their essential advantage: adults never suspect that children are spying on them.
I loved this book. Not only did it talk about the prison system – something that actually slightly terrifies me, but it also showed Lauren in her own power and position. From her extra brutal experience of basic training (and the resultant shovel-incident) to her first assignment, Lauren shows her ability to hold her own and do right by others. The fact that James’ very masculine energy is contrasted against his sister’s highlights the ability for both genders to pursue the same tasks, albeit sometimes a little differently, but still effectively.
Reading a book based in a prison managed to enhance my feelings of discomfort surrounding this setting. Probably a good thing, as prison’s are not only designed to keep the guilty in, but also as a deterrent to others who are considering going against the mould. Being immersed in this criminal world through the eyes of a juvenile was terrifying – it is all too easy to imagine something going wrong in a child’s life and leading to their warped criminal reality in a place of violence and fear.
A lot of stories paint criminals and the ‘bad guys’ as very one-dimensional creatures – they have neither morals nor excuses. Muchamore doesn’t do this. By using kid spies, you are forced to understand how children can become monsters and how these monsters turn to men (or women if the case be). Curtis Key, the main antagonist in this story is horrifyingly vulnerable and disturbed – it is so easy to understand how his uncomfortable childhood could lead to the creation and proliferation of a suicidal murderer.
So far, my favourite of the Cherub books, Maximum Security had a high octane plot line with a terrifyingly relatable sociopath (or is it psychopath) acting as the chief antagonist. The stakes are raised, and you get the sense of danger and potential harm throughout the story. Yet another book that I got so hooked on that it was finished in less than a day.
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