Though well-written, this book doesn't withstand literary, or even logical, scrutiny. There's been an interesting trend in kids' books in the last few years toward stories that are the literary equivalent of The Terminator movies -- well-made, cinematic, edgy, violent action-adventure thrillers that are just pure, ridiculous fun. This book is one of those. But that doesn't matter, because the story carries the reader along so rapidly, and with so much satisfaction and pleasure, that harping on its flaws seems positively curmudgeonly. This ain't made for English class; it's made to remind young teen boys how much fun reading can be -- and it does so admirably.
From its terrific opening hook to its obviously-this-is-going-to-be-a-series ending, this has what many young readers are looking for: a mystery, a bit of fantasy, humor, nonstop action, violence edgy enough to be cool and bug your parents, a nice array of weapons, cars, and planes, and, of course, a likable orphaned loser as the protagonist. Only at the climax does the author lose focus for an instant, making the resolution a bit fuzzy. Otherwise, this is high-quality escapism -- let's hope more is on the way.