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Point Blanc (Alex Rider Adventure 2)

Grade 5-10-Move over James Bond, Point Blank's 14-year-old hero is also a member of Britain's secret service. Fresh from his training by MI6, Alex Rider is headed for an exclusive private school in the French Alps because the isolated mountain academy is linked to the deaths of two prominent men. Just like 007, Alex is equipped with special gear such as an exploding stud earring and a CD that doubles as a buzz saw. Though Alex finds himself in a few tight spots, his courage and ingenuity prevent the school's power-mad directors from using adolescent clones to take over the world. Author Anthony Horowitz packs plenty of action into his latest young adult thriller (Philomel, 2002). An exploding helicopter, a machine gunning strike force, and other shootings provide standard superspy-style violence. There's even the classic Bond ending with a last-minute villain to be dispatched. Narrator Simon Prebble adroitly handles a widely diverse cast of characters that includes several distinctive accents. With a plastic case that is both durable and informative, and good sound quality cassettes that are well-marked, this will be popular with listeners who like living on the edge vicariously.