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Carl Hobbes may have escaped from Camp Twilight—the most secure military prison in the northern hemisphere—but now he’s being pursued by a ruthless bounty hunter and an Al-Qaeda assassin. Wanted dead by one and alive by the other, he must call upon his skills as a manipulator of both systems and people to survive. With no second chances available, can he play one enemy against the other in his bid to live another day? Packed with action and a plot that doesn’t quit, Goldstrike is a riveting teen thriller in the ...

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Carl Hobbes may have escaped from Camp Twilight—the most secure military prison in the northern hemisphere—but now he’s being pursued by a ruthless bounty hunter and an Al-Qaeda assassin. Wanted dead by one and alive by the other, he must call upon his skills as a manipulator of both systems and people to survive. With no second chances available, can he play one enemy against the other in his bid to live another day? Packed with action and a plot that doesn’t quit, Goldstrike is a riveting teen thriller in the vein of Anthony Horowitz and James Patterson.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Beth Karpas
Goldstrike is a suspense novel along the lines of Robert Ludlum, reminiscent of the latest Die Hard movie. Its short length is the only thing that marks it as a young adult novel. The main character, Carl Hobbes, is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker. In the prequel to this novel, he escapes a maximum security, Guantanamo-like prison surrounded by ice. Now he is on the run from the United States government, bounty hunters, and terrorists. Being a hacker, he turns to a supercomputer for safety, but first he needs to win that artificial intelligence over to his side. Goldstrike is a sequel, and as such starts with a lot of assumed history. Not knowing the history, however, simply adds to the suspense for a new reader, while a fan familiar with the characters will be drawn straight back into the world. The characterizations are what makes this novel as good as it is. Hobbes is first introduced by his pursuers, and the reader quickly understands his skills and motivations. The reader is also left with very clear images of all the supporting characters. It is easy to believe that one could pick Wilson, Ramsay, Beth, Sabine, or Willard out of a line-up and strike up a meaningful conversation with each. From the people to the plot to the world, Goldstrike provides a welcome escape for current and future suspense fans. It will not stay on the shelf long. Reviewer: Beth Karpas
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Carl Hobbes, aka James Valentine, aka Finn Carter, is an 18-year-old computer hacker pursued by CIA operatives after being suspected of raiding Fort Knox's gold coffers and escaping from Camp Twilight. He is now leading a playboy existence. Applying for a job at Sphinx Cargo, an ultra-secure storage facility for valuables shipped around the world, Finn plans to lay low in an unassuming job as a night security officer. Living in a cheap apartment with his Fort Knox accomplice Beth Nelson, he knows that they will always be looking over their shoulders. He learns that Sphinx is protected by "Cleopatra," a supercomputer security system able to flush out intruders with visual-recognition markers and motion detection and uses high-pitched frequencies and electrical charges as preemptive assaults. "She" even knows when the security officer is napping. When Beth missteps, a CIA officer and Al-Qaeda operatives who lost a mercenary at Hobbes's hands in a previous episode close in on the Sphinx facility. The pace quickens as Hobbes and Nelson use Cleopatra and all of her technological talents to ward off the assassins, at the expense of the facility and its valuable contents. This is an all-action title, told in the present tense, which may be appealing to reluctant readers who care little about the lack of character development. Fans of Anthony Horowitz and other spy thrillers will latch on to this probable series.—Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Publishers Weekly
In Whyman’s solid follow-up to Icecore, British hacker Carl Hobbes and American thief Beth Nelson are on the run from both the CIA and al-Qaeda, hiding off the grid in London. Hobbes hacks his way into a job at Sphinx Cargo, a security company with an advanced supercomputer named Cleopatra. His plan is to reprogram Cleopatra to regard Carl and Beth as cargo that needs to be protected, too. Even as Carl initiates his plan, the CIA and al-Qaeda track them to London, and an inevitable showdown looms. Whyman keeps the action moving at a brisk pace, but glosses over the relationship between Carl and Beth, leaving the tension between them feeling unnatural, even as it moves the plot forward. Although Cleopatra’s computing capabilities often border on science fiction, the action sequences are believable and often realistically brutal, and the climactic battle is intense and entertaining. Readers looking for a fast-moving thriller should be willing to overlook the flaws, and new readers will find enough exposition to jump right into the action. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Find galloping suspense and action here in the first sequel to Whyman's Icecore (2007), wherein falsely accused young British superhacker Carl Hobbes escaped from an arctic American prison camp for terrorists. Here, the Americans are still after him, but Carl still has those computer skills, too. The author manages to hold readers' interest even while setting up his new plot. Carl gets a job in a storage facility for ritzy items, run by a supercomputer. It's that computer that Carl wants to get his talented fingers on so he can continue to elude the CIA. They've set a brutal bounty hunter on his tail to bring him in, but, alas, so has al-Qaeda, and their sexy female assassin intends to kill him. All may be well if Carl's girlfriend Beth can restrain herself from selling the gold bullion she stole from Fort Knox, but can she? With a narrative pitched to action- and computer-oriented teens, this may well find a wide audience. Learn some hacking and enjoy explosions in this one. It almost seems realistic. (Thriller. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416995104
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/23/2010
  • Pages: 262
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 8.58 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt Whyman is a distinctive contemporary voice in children’s and adult writing. After graduating from the University of East Anglia’s MA in Creative Writing, Matt’s career as a writer has taken him from Agony Uncle columns (Bliss magazine and AOL) and teen self-help guides to the cutting edge of both adult and children’s fiction. His critically acclaimed young adult novel Boy Kills Man was short-listed for several awards, including the 2004 Teenage Book Prize, and praised by Melvin Burgess: ‘Bold, chilling and beautifully written’. It is currently in development as a feature film with the producers of the cult film Kidulthood. Matt is married with four children (and an enormous dog) and lives in West Sussex, England.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Will They Strike the Gold?

    Many things are illegal in the world; that much is obvious. But when you think illegal, killing, stealing, and other things probably come to mind. In Goldstrike by Matt Whyman this is not the case. Hacking is the primary idea of this book, and it shows all about it. It displays the trouble you can get into, the problems with it, and all about what happens when you "hack".
    The book starts off with main characters Carl Hobbes and Beth hiding from the CIA. They had just stolen from the vaults at Fort Know, no minor accomplishment. As it starts though, Hobbes is putting his identity on other random people to attract attention. This is his ability to hack. Carl and Beth are hiding in England, and Carl's main job is to take control of a super computer that protects rare items that need to be shipped by plane. He wants to use this computer to protect Beth and him on the outside, but Beth, on the other hand, just wants the billions of dollars worth in bullion bars.
    The whole story takes place in either the storage place where everything is stored, or at the very small apartment they stay. It's the typical inconspicuous place where anyone running from the law would stay. It's described as dirty and rundown so would you expect to see a bullion bar standing out among the grime? The storage place and the super computer are all located in a secure shipping building known as the Sphinx, with the most protected security to be found. This is where Carl wants to save Beth from discovery by covering all the tracks involving their names.
    It can be quite capturing. If you're interested in computers and the like, you'll get into it. The way the story is organized, switching back to the CIA and random bounty hunters chasing them, is perfect. It leaves you wondering how the mess will be solved, and what will be accomplished. I marveled at how well the author must know about hacking and how complex it must be in real life. It also shows to never get into it, or you might get into a predicament.
    The hacking aspect of this book intrigued me the most. It is very interesting, and you can pretty much see it from Carl's eyes. The idea that the CIA may cover up disappearances of people for their own agenda is startling, and I believe it.

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    Posted July 9, 2010

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