Where Seagulls Dare / Agent Asha: Operation Cyber Chop

Where Seagulls Dare
Anthony Horowitz, illustrated by Mark Beech
Walker Books

Private Investigators Nick and his older brother Tim, the world’s worst private investigator are without clients, the last case having been some three months ago. All they have for breakfast is a mini box of cornflakes between them so when a rather unusual-looking woman walks into their establishment, introducing herself as Jane Nightingale, leaving them a large bundle of fifty pound notes in advance for finding her missing father, supposedly a writer, they can’t believe their luck.

They start by paying a visit to what they think is the man, writer Alistair Nightingale’s home in Bath and that’s when things start to turn very weird and in fact, downright dangerous with shots being fired in their direction and threatening messages being left in unexpected places.

The danger really ramps up with steel girders plummeting towards the two, 

out of control computers and much more, including a meeting with an old acquaintance, Mr Waverly. He talks of his final operation involving the sinister far-right White Crusaders and the kidnapping of a certain Alistair Nightingale – the very case that the brothers unbeknownst to themselves, are looking at.
The well-organised Crusader group is led by one, Neville Fairfax who not only wants to be in charge of a smallish island but of the entire UK. To that end he plans to break into GCHQ, access their computers and … Now the brothers have a choice: cooperate with Waverly or face a month locked up, till the case is over. Looks like they’re in over their heads.

With a superabundance of thrills and spills, jokes on virtually every page and Mark Beech’s droll, disarming illustrations, this latest Diamond Brothers story will have readers hooting with laughter from start to finish.

Agent Asha: Operation Cyber Chop
Sophie Deen, illustrated by Priyanka Sachdev
Walker Books

The second spy story blending STEM subjects with deadly adventure sees Asha and her robo-hamster sidekick Tumble on a mission to protect her favourite Wembley Park from the evil teenage trillionaire Shelly Belly who plans to chop down all its existing natural trees and replace them with new electronic Cyber Oaks that can monitor what people are doing all the time. Said trees are supposed to be able to reverse climate change – if you believe the hype, that is. Definitely don’t fall for the anti-real tree propaganda being put about by the pro-fellers on social media platform FaceSpace. Now if there’s one thing Asha knows about the world’s youngest CEO Shelly Belly, it’s that she’s very, very bad; she’s even gulled Asha’s elder sister Nush into believing her disinformation.

Could this be Asha’s big chance to crack this case, ultimately save the planet and become a fully-fledged member of the CSA, even if it means facing robot security parrots, taking on an iffy internship and visiting Shelly’s secret test site in Orkney, Scotland.

Wittily written, with high tech devices, coding and critical thinking, diagrams, charts, plus fart fun aplenty, and Priyanka Sachdev’s cyber-style illustrations, this is a great read for young eco-warriors, fans of gadgets, in fact anyone who enjoys a good crime caper.

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