Lost Bullet (Traces Series #2)

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Overview

In the rotting slums of London, Luke and Malc are called to investigate the shocking murder of an attractive young doctor. The investigation eventually leads Luke to a bizarre cult called the World Church of Eternal Vision whose members believe that the entire medical profession is interfering with creation. More doctors are murdered, and the pressure mounts on Luke and Malc to find the perpetrators before its too late.

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Overview

In the rotting slums of London, Luke and Malc are called to investigate the shocking murder of an attractive young doctor. The investigation eventually leads Luke to a bizarre cult called the World Church of Eternal Vision whose members believe that the entire medical profession is interfering with creation. More doctors are murdered, and the pressure mounts on Luke and Malc to find the perpetrators before its too late.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The tension is ratcheted up in this second book in the "Traces" series. This adventure is set in the wilds of a futuristic London, when the city has become literally part jungle. The action is more intense, as are the situations that Luke finds himself investigating. The consequences feel more vital and realistic set out in the 'real' world rather than at the boarding school of the prior episode. The young Forensic Investigator (FI) along with his robotic aide MALC have their work cut out for them, as they attempt to hunt a killer who may be part of an underground brown supremacist group. The presence of hate crimes and racism, combined with the urban setting and its heightened feeling of danger give this novel a gritty tone that was mostly missing from "Traces: Framed!". In addition, Luke has become even more the traditional hard-boiled detective in this novel, complete with bad jokes and a tendency for creative thinking. This title's likable hero and fast-paced action will hook most mystery readers instantly. Furthermore, the combination of Luke's entertaining antics and the unusual forensic details should help get even reluctant readers interested. 2005, Kingfisher Publications/Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 8 to 18.
—Laura Ruttig\
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Luke Harding, a 16-year-old, newly qualified forensic investigator, is called in on his first murder case when fellow student Crispin Addley is found with an arrow in his heart. Malc (Mobile Aid to Law and Crime), a robot whose technological capabilities include X-ray, lasers and scanners, and an enormous database that can cross-check facts within seconds, helps Luke throughout his investigation. This futuristic novel has a thrilling plot and deadpan humor. Fans of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series (Philomel) will enjoy following Luke's action-packed career in which solving crimes sometimes involves saving the world. Lost Bullet takes place in a future England, where London's infrastructure has been so long neglected that trees and vines have created a junglelike atmosphere amid the concrete and brick structures. Crime is rampant, and Luke narrowly escapes gunshots as a sniper shoots at him at the beginning of the novel. He picks up a clue that will help to unravel a murder investigation, again with the help of his trusty robot sidekick, Malc. Luke must infiltrate a dangerous cult called the Visionaries, whose views of medicine and use of violence to achieve their goals make them the perfect suspects. This is a suspenseful, thoughtful, and humorous addition to the series.-Elizabeth Fernandez, Brunswick Middle School, Greenwich, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780753459805
  • Publisher: Kingfisher
  • Publication date: 5/15/2007
  • Series: Traces Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 212
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 7.15 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Rose is the author of more than twenty-five novels for young adults. A former professor of chemistry, he is a well-known crime and thriller writer. Rose has won many awards over the years, including the Angus Book Award for Tunnel Vision and the Lancashire Book of the Year Award for Plague. His first book in the Traces series, Framed!, was selected as a 2006 Best International Book by the International Reading Association.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

staying away from it, when he was distracted by a small piece of paper that fluttered out of an upstairs window. Pushed along by the breeze, the piece of notepaper sailed straight toward his head. Owen grabbed it in his fist as if he'd caught a moth that was threatening to land on his face. Immediately,

there was a scream. "White scum!" It was so loud, so angry, and so high-

pitched that Owen could not even tell if it had come from a man or a woman.

He wasn't going to hang around to find out who had shouted because he recognized pure hatred in that voice. He shoved the piece of paper into his pocket and ran.

he let out a frightened yelp and ducked. Covering his head with his hands would have been useless against the bullet if it had been on target, but it thudded into the trunk of the elm tree just to his right. Refusing to freeze with fear, he dashed away quickly. Weaving his way down the windy London corridor, swerving around the trees that had pushed their way up through the tarmac, he tried to make it difficult for the sniper to get a clear shot at him.

The second bullet ricocheted off the ground in front of him and to the left, but the third caught his hand. He cried out in pain but did not dare stop. Cradling his injured left hand in his right, he stumbled on toward the intersection. In a few seconds he could turn on to Oxford Freeway, safe from the person with an itchy finger on the trigger. As he dodged around another tree, a window shattered with the force of the next stray shot.

At once, Owen felt his right foot give way as if someone had kicked it out from under him. He gasped and faltered, yet he experienced no pain. He expected to cry out in agony when he put his weight back on that leg, but he felt only some extra pressure on his heel. The bullet had hit the tarmac,

bounced up, thudded into the sole of his shoe, and come to rest harmlessly in the thick layer of rubber.

revealing red bricks underneath. Chest heaving, Owen darted around the corner, where he was shielded from the rifle fire. Yet he did not relax or slow down. He scurried along the corridor in case the sniper came out of hiding and tailed him. Avoiding the tangle of overgrown vegetation, he raced as fast as he could, still clutching his bleeding left hand, until he got to Wardour Walkway. Turning left into the narrow passage, he zigzagged through the warren of alleys to lose anyone who might try to follow him.

It was just that, for their own protection, many people stayed behind locked doors—or at least out of sight. Anyway, Owen couldn't see anyone carrying a rifle. He dropped to walking pace, limping slightly because of the lump of metal embedded in the heel of his shoe, and made his way toward the Thames.

One boy stood out from the rest because he was completely bald. No doubt the bandits would have time to empty the boat because The Authorities were never in a hurry to deal with petty theft in London.

the bullet had gone straight through the fleshy part between his thumb and forefinger. Like everyone else who ventured into central London, Owen had been injured a few times, but he had never been shot before. It was a new and painful experience. It had taken him by surprise also because he had become skilled at avoiding crime, especially muggings, along the London corridors.

Someone had written "72 Russell Plaza," in blue ink, on a page from a notepad. That was it. Nothing else. There wasn't even anything on the other side. Owen shrugged, and when Dr. Suleman entered, he slipped the note back into his pocket without another thought.

"Oh dear," Dr. Suleman repeated. Gingerly, maybe even reluctantly, she examined the damaged palm but did not ask why Owen had been shot. "It looks worse than it is." Talking to a hidden computer, she called for a scan and then watched a three-dimensional skeletal image form in the air just in front of her. She walked around the hologram, studying the wound carefully from all angles, and then announced, "You're lucky."

"I am?"

"It could've been worse. The bullet's nicked a bone, but it'll heal on its own. I can give you a local anesthetic, clean it up, and sew it back together. You'll be fine." She paused before adding, "I don't suppose you've got an identity card, do you?"

"Do I need one? Not sure where mine is."

"Don't think you'll have the same problem," Owen replied.

"Why's that?"

"Likely it was a brown supremacy thing."

state her home address, and then jump into a cab. As soon as she was seated, the computerized cab would take off along Westminster, over the bridge, and seek out a passable route on the corridors running north. Now it was useless to call for one. She hadn't seen a vehicle between the hospital and her home near Regent's Common for years. Instead she walked. If her partner was working the same shift, they would walk together. Now that cabs avoided the place, they had a choice of paths. They could stay on the intended walkways, they could use the large freeways that had both walkways and corridors, or they could trudge along the disused corridors,

where walking used to be forbidden because of the danger from high-speed cabs.

but then it was gone. Perhaps it was a trick of the storm.

something. Anna squinted her eyes, but it was like trying to see a bat flying across the night sky. "Is anybody there?"

Probably water was getting inside it and wreaking havoc with the electrical contacts. The rest of the lights were battling to keep night at bay but succeeded only in illuminating countless raindrops.

"Alex? Is that you?" Anna called.

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