Catch the Zolt

Phillip Gwynne. EDC/Kane Miller, $7.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-61067-303-7
Australian author Gwynne launches the six-book Debt series (all releasing simultaneously) with a hurried and overstuffed thriller. Dom Silvagni, a talented distance runner living in Australia's Gold Coast, has had an easy life, but on his 15th birthday, he learns that unless he completes six virtually impossible tasks, he'll lose a pound of flesh, as his grandfather Gus did. Dom's family is linked to a Mafialike gang from Italy called the Ndrangheta, and his grandfather dodged a debt that the family must pay back when every male turns 15. With the help of his sheltered longtime crush Imogen and smirking acquaintance Tristan, Dom pursues his mission of catching the Zolt, a 16-year-old punk who has been stealing from the affluent population of Reverie Island and making donations to worthy causes like "a modern-day Robin Hood." While there's plenty of running, bullet-dodging, and code-cracking, Dom's hokey, hard-to-swallow narration ("As I looked into his face, into his old-man eyes, I realized that I trusted Gus more than I trusted anyone in the world") and an overall lack of depth will leave readers underwhelmed. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/07/2015
Release date: 12/01/2013
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 289 pages - 978-1-74269-552-5
Hardcover - 275 pages - 978-1-61067-334-1
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