Conspiracy 365: January

( 2 )


On New Year's Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning..."They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days. Hurled into a life on the run the 15-year-old fugitive is isolated and alone.

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On New Year's Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning..."They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days. Hurled into a life on the run the 15-year-old fugitive is isolated and alone.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Fifteen-year-old Callum Ormond is given a warning on New Year's Eve. A staggering sick man approaches him and gasps out, "They killed your father. They'll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days!" Cal is confused. His dad had died several months ago of a strange disease that had robbed him of his ability to talk, but allowed him to draw pictures. The nurse explained that he was not communicating directly but expressing ideas to the side of his thoughts. Cal's dad had sent him a drawing of a warrior angel during his recent trip to Ireland. He drew other pictures while in hospice care. When these pictures are mailed to Cal, his Uncle Rafe takes them and Cal must sneak into a mausoleum to steal them. Cal's life is in danger. He is kidnapped twice by different criminal gangs who question him endlessly about the Ormand Singularity, the Ormond Riddle, an angel and a jewel. Written in journal format, each entry begins with a location, a date and a time. The Australian setting emphasizing the heat in January and school vacation may prove confusing at first. Cal manages to survive numerous catastrophes and is aided in his endeavors by some convenient coincidences. Cal is left in a vat slowly filling with oil at the end of this first book. Eleven sequels follow, taking Cal through this terrifying year. Teen readers will likely overlook the absurdity of the unrealistic aspects of the plot and enjoy the fast-paced action.
Publishers Weekly
Australian crime novelist Lord launches a gripping new series that should have clear appeal for thriller fans. Australian teenager Cal is approached by a strange man who warns him that he has 365 days to survive and suggests that the recent death of Cal's father wasn't a strange illness, but murder. Soon enough, strange events—a boating accident that appears to be sabotage, a break-in, and a mysterious call from a nurse who cared for Cal's dad—raise his suspicions even more. When he investigates a package his uncle Rafe has hidden away, he quickly gets drawn into a conspiracy involving his family, mysterious drawings, and violent kidnappers, and finds himself on the run from the police. Lord creates a tense environment, and although the action can occasionally get over-the-top, the villains are suitably vile and entertaining, and Cal makes for an affable hero. Readers should be warned that, true to the nature of the planned series (11 subsequent books will follow throughout 2010), the book ends very much on a cliffhanger. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Julie Watkins
Instead of an anticipated fresh start after New Year's Eve, Callum Ormond finds himself thrust into a year of terror. Reeling from his father's recent mysterious illness and death, Callum is approached by a crazed man who babbles incoherently about the "Ormond Singularity." He warns Callum to go into hiding the next 365 days or face his father's fate. The admonition takes on sudden credence as a boat Callum is on is sabotaged, his home is ransacked, and he is abducted by thugs demanding information about the Ormond Angel and Ormond Riddle. Although he escapes, he is soon falsely implicated in a vicious attack on his family and is forced to run. Now a fugitive from the law and hunted by vicious criminals, Callum must rely upon his own survival instincts and the scant clues he has to solve the riddle of his father's death and to save his—and his family's—life. Using an unusual format with each book in this twelve-book series representing a month of the year that Callum must survive, Lord provides a unique and clever twist in the series' interactive nature. A companion Web site (htto:// offers activities as well as options to receive Twitter updates from Callum and become a fan on Facebook. Although the story occasionally lapses into the overly dramatic, its rapid-fire pace and action unfolding in real time will appeal to young thriller fans as well as reluctant readers. Reviewer: Julie Watkins
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—On New Year's Eve, a strange, sickly man approaches 15-year-old Callum Ormond with a warning: someone wants to kill him and it will happen within the next 365 days unless he keeps himself safe. So starts Cal's wild ride in which he is taunted daily by the prospect of his death. So much so, that in a month's time he nearly drowns, is attacked by sharks, is robbed, kidnapped, and more. These events have something to do with his father's death from a mysterious disease and a letter he sent to Cal that hints at a discovery that could make the family rich. But Cal's having a problem deciphering what it all means and he's been forced into hiding. January is the first book in a series reminiscent of the television show 24, and a new book is timed to come out each month. The brisk plot seems even more urgent by chapters that are broken up into time segments—sometimes as little as four minutes—and page numbering that counts down. The nonstop action and brief story will appeal to reluctant readers, but they leave little room for Cal to develop emotionally. In addition, the book ends abruptly, the plot falls flat, and readers will have no clue as to what Cal's father actually found. With so little offered in the first book, curious readers will have to read the next installment, but one wonders if there will be any satisfaction even then or if it's all just a ploy to sell more books.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Callum Ormond is a wanted teen. One New Year's Eve, he is stopped by a strange man in a cloak who tells him to go into hiding for the next 365 days. Callum believes that his father died of illness, but it turns out he was murdered. Now the murderers are after Callum's knowledge of something called the Ormond Singularity, but the only clues he has to its meaning are some drawings left to him by his father. When Callum's family is attacked and left for dead, the only person who believes in his innocence is his best friend, Boges. Kidnapped and beaten, Callum faces what might be his last minutes in a cliffhanger ending. Several factors make this book a top choice for reluctant readers, including the nonstop action, the small trim, the short length and the amount of white space on the pages. The character development is minimal, but that shouldn't affect readers who are in it for the action scenes. This is the first of a planned 12-book series, one book for each month of the year Callum must survive. (Thriller. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781610671033
  • Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2012
  • Series: Conspiracy 365 Series, #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 185
  • Sales rank: 81,418
  • Age range: 10 - 15 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2013

    My 12 year old son loved this book. He could not put it down.

    My 12 year old son loved this book. He could not put it down. It is so nice to find an Arthur they love so much that they are begging you to get them the next book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Investigate This

    A very quick and short read, the concept of the Conspiracy series has great appeal to me and excellent potential. It's very 24-esque - meaning there will be twelve books over the course of the year each covering one month in the life of Callum as he attempts to solve the mystery of the Ormond Singularity.

    As is the case with most mystery stories there is a bit of violence. There are mobsters and any number of nefarious individuals all chasing after Callum and inevitably friends and family get in the way. The level of violence and criminal activity in the story are befitting the plot it is not overwhelmingly excessive or needless.

    One of the downfalls of this story is that it was extremely predictable. What I can't decide is if that predictability is included in the plot as a way to deflect the reader from what is really going on. Will we find out in hours two or three that what we were told or thought in hour one is completely false? There are still eleven books worth of story to tell so it can't be that everything is going to be laid out before us in book one. At least not if the author doesn't want us to get bored and abandon the series, that is.

    At this point, it's certainly, intriguing enough to want to stick with it to find out.

    Where did the book excel? The author did a great job of creating a cliffhanger ending that has readers on the edge and wanting answers that may be provided in book two. Having said that, I think it's safe to make some assumptions on at least one of those answers. The story would be considerably altered if the immediate resolution didn't go a certain way and the reader will know that as they put book one away and wait for book two.

    One of the other elements I enjoy (and the one I liked most frankly) about this story are the relationships Lord built between Callum and his best friend Boges as well as his relationship with his mother and sister. Callum has such love for them that he's willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good of seeking out answers. And Boges has personality galore. He could turn out to be my favorite character in the series. I'm just hoping he is who he says he is!

    While this isn't the most suspenseful book I've read I believe that it's compelling enough to continue the series. I do want to know how it progresses and where all the loose ends get tied up. I also believe that it's target audience (older pre-teens and teens) will likely enjoy the fast paced atmosphere and action based plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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