About the author:
Brian Falkner is the author of a range of award-winning books for Young Adults including Shooting Stars (winner of the junior fiction award at the NZ Children's Book and Young People's Book Awards 2017) The Project, Brainjack and The Tomorrow Code, The Stubborn Seed of Hope, 1917 Machines of War, Northwood,The Real Thing, The Flea Thing, the Battlesauraus series, the futuristic Recon Team Angel quartet and others. He has been shortlisted for and has won many awards for his work. Born and raised in Auckland Brian now lives in Queensland, Australia.
Cassie Clark: Outlaw - Brian Falkner
About this book:
Cassie has survived a hit and run but now she hears her father has disappeared - supposedly run off with a news reporter. As a senior congressman and Speaker of the House, her father is an important player in the tense world of American politics. Cassie knows he would not walk away from his career or his family and she is determined to find out what really happened. But there are bigger players who are equally determined to stop her, and she no longer has a security detail ...
I am outside the law. And I'm coming for you.
In the high-stakes world of politics and business, who can she trust?
Teacher Notes Available - refer menu
NZ Herald - January 2019
Back in the dim and distant past, “every man wants to be a James Bond” was one of our high school speech topics. Even at the tender age of 14, I wondered why 007 was held up as some sort of role model when there was so much that seemed, to me, plain wrong about his behaviour and attitudes, especially toward women.
Where, I wondered, were the gutsy, determined and plucky women who were having adventures and saving the world? It’s a long time since I’ve been at high school, so I like to think the James Bond topic is long gone and 14-yearold students can find plenty of female spies to read about. Then again, the more things change and all that . . .
But thanks to New Zealand-born/Australianbased author Brian Falkner, a spirited young woman has now burst upon the scene in the form of Cassie Clark — and perhaps in the near future, someone might give a speech on why girls might want to be her.
Or sort of like her because in book one of what surely is the start of a series, Cassie isn’t having the best time. She’s survived a hit and run and is back at college when she learns her father, a senior congressman, speaker of the house and third in the line of succession to the US Presidency, is missing.
Headlines indicating he’s involved in a “love tryst” swirl; Cassie gets mad and decides she’ll uncover the truth. Only it’s a good deal murkier, more fantastical and, ultimately, deadly dangerous than she imagined. Before she knows it, she’s set up for crimes she most definitely did not commit and on the run from some seriously bad people.
At first, she’s helped by her secret service agent bodyguard Cameron Henderson. At 24, he’s just a handful of years older than Cassie who has an unrequited crush on him, which gives her an endearing vulnerability and, at times, muddies her judgments.
She makes mistakes and wrong calls, doesn’t know who to trust and puts the life of her computer geek best friend in harm’s way. In other words, Cassie is human, vulnerable and relatable but simultaneously determined, quickthinking and whip-smart. Falkner knows how to write pacey action scenes — his last books were the alternative history fantasies Battlesaurus where Napoleonic-era soldiers faced off against dinosaurs (trust me, they were good). The abundant action sequences in Cassie Clark Outlaw — terrorist attacks on dams, car chases in the dead of night in the desert and helicopter crashes — could be straight out of a movie and, of course, you’ll wonder at Cassie’s ability to deal with it but, hey, she’s “outside the law and I’m coming for you”.
It’s a gripping story that can be read simply as a YA thriller, but Falkner opens the book with a quote from John F. Kennedy: ‘The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings.” So for those who want or chose to see it, there’s an extra layer involving the fraught world of politics, media and freedom to muse on.
Reviewer: Weekend Herald
NZ Booklover - January 2019
Cassie Clark: Outlaw by Brian Falkner
Cassie has survived a hit and run, but now she hears her father has disappeared – supposedly run off with a journalist. As a senior congressman and Speaker of the House, her father is an important player in the tense world of American politics.
Cassie knows he wouldn’t leave his career or his family, but in the high-stakes world of politics, who can she trust?
Big players are determined she doesn’t find out what happened, and she no longer has a security detail. Cassie follows the trial of who silenced her father and finds it is part of a web of terrorist plots. Falkner draws on conspiracy theories that we all are aware of to create a story with a frenetic pace.
Falkner is known for his characters with complex family or personal lives, often with special skills too. Cassie is no different. As a character she is believable in her emotions and feelings. However, her actions occasionally step outside the realm of realistic. Her complex relationship with her mother and sister is one that would have been nice to explore further, although that would cut into the action slightly.
Cassie Clark: Outlaw is an intense read. From the very first page readers are thrown into the action and drama of Cassie’s almost surreal life. As the thriller unfolds, reader’s heartbeats and adrenaline levels will rise. There were moments were I had to physically pause reading the book, take a breath, and remind myself that Cassie is a fictional character. Falkner does a superb job of sucking the reader right into the story, becoming emotionally vested in the lives of the characters.
The plot twist was a bit predictable. But while that might have been disappointing in other stories, in this book it added to the tension. Readers will be drawn through the story waiting for the betrayal that they know is going to happen, to happen. When it finally arrives, it is still brutal and unexpected.
With maps inside the book’s cover, readers can follow Cassie’s journey across North America. While it was a little hard to flick between both front and back cover, it was an appreciated touch for a reader who doesn’t have the best geographical knowledge.
Cassie Clark: Outlaw is a book you will want to read as fast as you can to find out what happened, while also reading as slow as possible because you won’t want it to end.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Wardini Books - December 2018
An adrenaline fuelled, kick ass roller coaster of a YA novel. Cassie Clark is indeed an Outlaw - set in the U.S. it's a novel of intrigue, conspiracy theories and reinvention with a cracking pace and plenty of action.
Reviewer: Gareth Ward
Shortlisted for the 2019 Ngaio Marsh Award
The Ngaios are a literary award presented annually in New Zealand for recognise excellence in crime fiction, mystery, and thriller writing.
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