Fear haunts the streets of Manchester: a schoolgirl has disappeared. Preston is drawn to investigate, exploring the city in the hunt for his missing friend. Deep in the bowels of a secret scientific institute, he discovers a sinister machine. Captured and condemned to a cavernous space filled with problematic teens, Preston is determined to escape - but this is no ordinary jail. Friendships are forged and lives lost in a reckless battle for freedom, revenge - and revolution.
This is the second book written by Martin Griffin, a former Times/Chicken House children's fiction competition winner in 2012 with Sleepwell and Fly. His first book "The Poison Boy" was written under a pseudonym of Fletcher Moss, named after Fletcher Moss Botanical Garden, but this is known locally as Fletcher Moss. I think that this is a really cool thing to do.
Lifers will be his first book written for a teenage audience. It takes you down the familiar streets of Manchester. As you wander along the famous city centre landmarks, you will be easily led to believe that things are going on as normal. However you'll be sadly mistaken, as behind the back streets there is definitely a different story being written portraying the darker and sinister side of Manchester. You will be gripped and engrossed the more that you read and explore it.
The city skyline is dominated by creaking steel rigging. Something strange is brewing in the city at night. A different world of secrets and a mysterious building turns the lives of the main characters upside down, literally. A group of kids fight back against a twisted government plot, which involves the plan to contain problematic teens within an undercover and underground secret prison. The plot really makes the story very unpredictable; teenagers will really love and relate to the characters and the ongoing actions that unfurl along this epic read.
It's a seriously well plotted thriller. It contains just the right amount of dialogue and detail to keep the reader on their toes. It gives a great insight into a fantastically atmospheric world which is both surreal and deeply absorbing. With a fantastic blend of technology and Sci-fi elements, it is well balanced against a believable reality and backdrop. A world full of adult corruption, a fight for justice (instilling a massive dollop of tension) which is all fuelled by non-stop action. This is a high octane, adrenalin- fuelled ride that you will not be able to put down.
My favourite part of the story was inside the sinister machine. This produced a captivating and contemporary vision with children all battling for survival and desperately seeking to find a way out. It's a very gritty, super dark and easy to follow prison break out, which reads really well on paper. This is another cracking read from Chicken House which is due to be published early April 2016.