Gr 4–6— Well-plotted with clever dialogue, the second installment in this highly absorbing series features Jax Opus, a young hypnotist, taking on some new and disturbing powers when he agrees to help an old, rich, and powerful man. Jax takes on the man's memories, which lead him down a dangerous path.
Praise for Gordon Korman's Swindle series:
-"Pure fun from top to bottom." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
-"Korman's fast moving, feel-good suspense novel will have middle schoolers, especially boys, turning the pages." -- VOYA
-"Korman again knocks it out of the park . . . interesting, full of humor, and good fun." -- VOYA
-"Goofball-funny and addictive" -- KIRKUS REVIEWS
A new identity can’t keep Jackson Opus and his parents out of harm’s way.After refusing to help Elias Mako and his Sentia Institute mesmerists rig an election in The Hypnotists (2013), Jax and his parents move from New York City to Haywood, Connecticut, and change their name from Opus to Magnus. They are in hiding from Mako and his young thugs with the help of Axel Braintree, head of the Sandman’s Guild (a kind of 12-step group for hypnotists to keep them on the straight and narrow). But it’s hard for Jax to keep his head down when his color-changing gaze and an offhand comment can send anyone into a mind-controlled trance. When dying media tycoon Avery Quackenbush, who’s on to Jax’s identity, approaches the middle schooler with an offer he can’t refuse, Jax takes on the task of hypnotizing Quackenbush to extend his life—against Braintree’s advice. But if Quackenbush has figured out who Jax is, can Mako and the FBI be far behind? Though it’s less hypnotism and more telepathic mind control that acts as a catalyst to the tale, Korman’s second light and action-oriented tale about Jax Opus will please fans of the first or his other short suspense trilogies. Though there’s not much character depth, and it’s a bit slow at times, there are still a couple of surprises.Not Korman’s best but good for a summer read. (Suspense fantasy. 9-12)