cover image Omega Place

Omega Place

Graham Marks, . . Bloomsbury, $16.95 (253pp) ISBN 978-1-59990-127-5

Set in a present-day England where Orwellian visions of invasive governmental surveillance are quickly becoming a reality, Marks’s (Missing in Tokyo ) thriller spins out a promising plot but falls short of the mark. Paul Hendry, a 17-year-old runaway, doesn’t realize—nor particularly care—how closely Big Brother is watching him until he falls in, almost accidentally, with members of an extreme activist organization known as Omega Place. Their mission: not only to destroy as many closed-circuit TV cameras as possible but also to spread their manifesto about who, exactly, is benefiting from the rapid multiplication of CCTV cameras in public spaces (“There’s one camera for every 14 people in the UK! And you are being watched 24/7. almost wherever you go and whatever you are doing”). Disillusioned and lonely, Hendry sees Omega Place as a group where he can fit in and be a part of something that matters—but when members begin turning up dead, he realizes too late the dangers of vigilante activism. Unfortunately, two-dimensional characters, sporadic pacing and a lackluster ending may leave readers wishing that the concepts here had been more aggressively developed. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)