Review - QUICK, Steve Worland

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Quick
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9780143799542
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Book Synopsis

Strap in for a breathtaking, tyre-peeling, high-octane adventure ride by rising star of action trillers.

Melbourne, Australia: Round one of the Formula One World Championship. Billy Hotchkiss no longer races a V8 Supercar, but that doesn't mean he's lost the need for speed. When the young cop uncovers a diamond heist in progress he leaps into action and almost captures the thieves single-handedly.

Lyon, France: Interpol are convinced the criminals are somehow connected to Formula One. And they think this Australian ex-race driver is just the guy to stop them.

Sent undercover with an unwilling French partner, Billy is thrust into the glamorous world of international motor racing. But as the duo closes in on the thieves they soon expose a far more sinister threat.

With the fate of a city and the lives of one hundred thousand people in the balance, Billy must drive like never before to stop the worst act of terror since 9/11.

Book Review

From the moment that Billy Hotchkiss hits Hell Corner on the opening lap of the Bathurst 1000 you can tell he's a man on a mission. That's likely to end up pear-shaped as everyone knows that "The Mountain" is an unforgiving beast. And sure enough, he throws the Commodore at Frosty Winterbottom's Falcon around Griffiths Bend and onwards, through The Cutting and up to Craig Lowndes' Falcon. Past Reid Park, over the metal grate and onto Sulman Park, McPhillamy Park, and over Skyline. Billy chases Lowndes down on the principle that first past the post, opening lap is worth the risk. From the moment they hit The Dipper and into Forest Elbow there's a sinking feeling of inevitability, down Conrod and into The Chase, trying to outbreak a driver like Lowndes is a tricky proposition. Too tricky in this instance as Billy plants the thing in the kitty litter side on. Side on means no sliding, it means digging in, it means flipping, a lot, and it means Billy's a passenger. Which ends badly.

QUICK opens with a sequence from Bathurst that will make this (and most) revheads sit up and pay attention. Whilst this is a book set in the fast paced world of V8 and F1 racing, it's ultimately a high paced, slightly lunatic, bigger than big plot thriller that will work for readers who aren't car racing fans as well - this is definitely an action junkie's good day out.

Hotchkiss goes from being a badly injured ex-touring car racer, to a cop with a tendency to leap first, and ask questions later. Which obviously gets him into trouble, but also into Interpol and from there into the F1 world. It hasn't taken long for authorities to figure out that a series of seriously big (value and style) robberies are occurring when the F1 circus comes to town. Hotchkiss has two things going for his involvement in the investigation - his freakish driving ability, and that tendency to leap first and hard into any situation. In this investigation he's paired up with a Frenchman, and it would be fair to say there's a bit of a communication gap - which is the source of a lot of humour. Hotchkiss has a typical, dry, laid back Australian way about him and much of that is lost on the Frenchman. As are the Frenchman's own strengths,  which Hotchkiss takes too long to notice.

As with most thrillers of this nature the action's the thing. Hotchkiss is a jack of all trades - he can drive fast, fly planes, leap tall buildings and turn his hand to a bit of sneaky stuff. He's fearless, matchless, and a bit of a freak - able to absorb all sorts of physical punishment there's no stopping this bloke when he's on a trail.

The plot here is not the deepest, or the most believable, or even the scariest in the world. Whilst the culmination "crime" is a ripper of an idea, the motivation... well it's probably best to not pay a lot of attention to that. Stay with the ride, and forget the thinking stuff. QUICK's an action-packed, made for the big-screen thriller that works on the page as well. Although you get the distinct feeling that with the budget to pay for the bash and crash (and some considered casting), this would be a screen-based thriller guaranteed to please.

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