Wolf’s Lair : Book 3 in the thrilling Katipo Joe series by Brian Falkner. Schoolboy, Spy, Assassin. @scholasticNZ So good! I really couldn’t put this book down.

Posted: March 23, 2022 in Uncategorized
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Wolf’s Lair : Katipo Joe Book 3

By Brian Falkner

ISBN 9781775437482

Scholastic NZ

Joseph St George begins his story as a school boy in Berlin before the beginning of World War Two. His ordinary world is turned upside down when his British father is arrested as a spy. Joe and his mother escape Berlin but when they become separated Joe is sent to New Zealand. His return sometime later, sees him caught up in a world at war and his search for his parents sees him infiltrate the Hitler Youth movement. His loyalty is all a lie, of course, as it becomes clear that in order to find his parents he must become a spy. This puts him in constant risk of being found out and life becomes more and more dangerous. Survival becomes everything.

Joe’s orders are to get closer to Hitler and this works well. He begins moving in the same circle as Hitler. Indeed, Hitler sees him as his protégé. Joe then makes connections to the best and worst of the people surrounding and protecting Hitler. Joe’s order is huge, absolutely dangerous and will be life-threatening if caught. There is always the question about who to trust. Who are the good guys, and who are the bad? As he draws closer to Hitler he becomes aware that someone is watching him but he has no idea who. He also finds himself attracted to Sofie, a fellow Hitler Youth member, but their friendship could ruin everything. As his feelings for her grow, it puts them both in danger.

Joe does things that go against his natural kindness and caring. He struggles at times with guilt, and the realisation that some of the things he does, no matter how abhorrent, are actually necessary. War brings out the best and worst of people.

The suspense is palpable. I could almost hear the bombs in the background and feel the fear. This is a solid, gritty read and at times, quite confronting. While Joe’s story may be fiction, many of the events and people are real. This makes the series more realistic, more believable. Joe grows as a character, but he also retains a vulnerability, especially around people he cares about, which makes him more likeable. His flaws and strengths are real.

I loved the first two books and have been hanging out for the third for ages. I was hooked from the moment I sat down to read. I couldn’t put the book down. I sat on my bed reading instead of getting ready for work. I was in danger myself, for being late as I just wanted to know what was going to happen next in Joe’s world.

Like the previous books in this series, there is action, suspense, danger, history, a bit of a romance and a few surprises too. I’ve said it in previous reviews of this series, but this really has everything. Great writing, great story, from a great writer.

There are a number of photos in the back of the book of the real people in this narrative, which provides interesting details.

Totally recommend this YA series. I would love to see these books as a movie or TV series. An audio version would also be great.

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