Dead Lock by Simon Fox, reviewed by Oliver (10)

Simon Fox has produced an outstanding book called Dead Lock.  After reading the first chapter, I was hooked or should I say “locked in!” 

Every chapter ended with a cliff hanger and I couldn’t put it down or wait to turn the next page.  Simon Fox’s storyline was so gripping – I felt I was with Archie on his thrilling adventure throughout the story.  If you are a fan of Alex Rider, then you are sure to love this!

“If you are a fan of Alex Rider, then you are sure to love this!”

Oliver (10)

Archie Blake and his dad share a useful skill – they can pick locks. After the loss of his mother, together he and his father have lock picking competitions to see who can pick a lock the fastest. His dad is a policeman and he works for the art crimes department.  Archie’s whole world falls apart when his dad is arrested for the theft of a diamond necklace. 

Archie decides to go on the run and to prove his father is innocent – but he only has 48 hours to do so. His only option is to go to the safe house where he meets a girl called Bunny who helps him with his quest. Together they fall deeper into the twists and turns of jewel heists and police corruption.  Maybe his dad wasn’t as innocent as he thought?

I think this book would be a great read for 9 to 12 year olds.  Packed with thrills and dangerous feats I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down!

Running Out of Time by Simon Fox, reviewed by Torrin (16)

Running Out Of Time is a poignant story about the current refugee crisis, it’s also a high concept science-fiction thriller. Simon Fox juggles complex ideas about a new kind of time travel as well as exploring the journey of a refugee.

An important, timeless novel that was thrilling and moving all at the same time.


I worried that perhaps the science-fiction would eclipse the journey of Alex (our central character) but it supports it. Fox understands that the most interesting themes and ideas in the book are the more grounded and down to earth ones therefore the focus of the novel is on them. It’s rare to find a science-fiction book which works as a complex character study with the science removed, it’s almost unheard of in children’s or YA fiction.  

The sci-fi concept isn’t undeveloped either, it’s a simple yet hugely effective idea that allows for organic twists and turns.

The heart of the story is Alex, we know hardly anything about his life before he became a refugee – we don’t even know which country he’s from. What draws the reader to him is his calm sense of self and his perseverance. The rest of the characters are never quite who they seem either, turning them into three-dimensional human beings not just stereotypes.

Whether you’re a fan of Science-Fiction or not you really need to pick this one up. It’s an important, timeless novel that was thrilling and moving all at the same time.