400 Minutes of Danger by Jack Heath
Published by Scholastic Australia
Wow! Jack Heath has crafted 10 fast paced action charged individual short stories that have the reader holding on to their seat from start to finish. Each story starts with a different teenager dropped into danger and ends with them having fought through to safety within 40 minutes - a digital countdown is included in the margins. Deadly snakes, a bone-crushing compactor and a run-away bus are a few of the harrowing dangers to be overcome. Despite the teen being out of immediate danger, the reason behind each catastrophe remains unanswered until the last chapter ties them all together in one rather neat package.
The look of the book is compelling, with shiny black and silver cover emblazoned with Danger and pages edged in gun-metal spatters. I was gripped by each story and enjoyed the resilience and ingenuity of the characters. A few of them appear in several stories which hints at their connectedness but in a loose, sometimes tangential, non-linear way.
The format of ten 40 minute stories is a brilliant way to engage readers who find longer form novels a challenge but the appeal of this book is much broader and will have readers from ten to adult looking for the next instalment. This is a sequel to the award-nominated 300 Minutes Of Danger, but I didn’t feel I missed anything for not having read that first – although now I am compelled to seek it out...
This is a wild, face fast paced action adventure ride from start to finish.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Jack Heath
Title: 400 Minutes of Danger
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: August 2016