Ruby Redfort, a child genius and code-cracking agent for the mysterious Spectrum, is not content with juggling her cryptography and her day to day activities as a normal thirteen-year-old. She wants to be a field agent but she’s finding the outdoor survival training a challenge. Not only is she failing for the first time in her life but her neighbourhood is suddenly being threatened by mysterious events that call for the very skills Ruby cannot grasp. Of her friends only Clancy Crew knows of her secret double life and he is more concerned with the amazing new bike that has just become available in town. Ruby is feeling lost in more ways than one and she needs to learn fast if she is to make it through alive.
Child’s creation is engaging and exciting. Ruby is a well developed character and the plotline draws the reader in until the thrilling climax. The recurring place that smell has in the book is enhanced by the bubblegum scented dustcover, an aroma that evokes Ruby throughout the book. It is a clever addition in light of the e-book phenomenon. The additional factual information about smell included after the close of the novel also adds to the reader’s experience of Ruby’s world.
Readers will enjoy Ruby’s feisty attitude and sympathise with her plights. The only shortcoming is that it is hard to distinguish Ruby’s many friends as most of them have small roles in the book. However, in the context of the series this may become less obvious as the characters will have been encountered before. The third book in this impressive series draws to a dramatic conclusion with the reader anxious for the next instalment to find out what is next in store for Ruby.