Title: The Killing
Author: Robert Muchamore
Series: CHERUB #4
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Crime, Easy reading, Spy novels
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books
5th sentence, 74th page: James flicked the sheet across to Kerry and slumped theatrically across her bed.
Leon is a small-time crook who’s ridden his luck for three decades. When he starts splashing big money around, the cops are desperate to know where it came from.
They call it CHERUB, a secret organisation with one essential advantage: even experienced criminals never suspect that children are spying on them.
James’ latest mission looks routine: make friends with Leon’s kids, infiltrate his home, dig up some leads.
But the plot James begins to unravel isn’t what anyone expected. And the only person who might know the truth is a reclusive eighteen-year-old boy.
There’s just one problem.
The boy fell to his death thirteen months earlier.
I found James incredibly hard to love in The Killing. From the first CHERUB book, you understand that he is a rebel and not exactly completely moral, but by the fourth book, he is incredibly; well, douche. But, after moving on from James’ stupidity, this is, like all the other CHERUB books (thus far) a great read, and highly recommended.
My problems with James in this book stem from the way that he deals with his own issues. He has anger issues, blames everyone else for his own bad actions and temper, and really doesn’t treat his girlfriend or friends very well. I understand having anger, I’m pretty quick tempered, but it’s never okay to strike an innocent being, and then blame it on someone else. I suppose that Muchamore was using this as a lesson that violence, especially violent anger isn’t okay. But, I honestly almost put this book aside after the first chapter. It’s difficult reading about a protagonist who is selfish, and a little cruel. If it wasn’t for Lauren and the other CHERUBs, I quite frankly, probably would have stopped reading.
The other reason that this book is so wonderful is the way in which James’ amoral actions lead to his friends’ ostracizing from the social group. So much so, that he takes an assignment to escape his isolation. Not only was this a great example of consequences for one’s actions, but it also made me feel physically ill. Pain, both physical and mental is easy to deal with, but the idea of someone being completely isolated (regardless of their actions) actually made me feel physically ill. A fact that I’m sure says more about me than Muchamore’s writing, I’m sure.
Problems aside, this book was brilliant. It delved into the world of conspiracies and murder; a world where no one could be trusted, and everyone was liable to get hurt. Again, Muchamore chose a very real, and very terrifying topic as the focus of the crime – police corruption and brutality. The idea that those who are sworn to protect you could be the ones who actually hurt you is worrying and concerning.
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