Danger Zone Series by David Gilman
Published between 2007-2009
Max Gordon somehow always finds himself in some sort of trouble yet manages to just barely get out of it. Either he’s extremely lucky or extremely talented. Out of all of the three books in this series, I think the first one was actually the weakest one. I didn’t feel drawn into it as much and if it wasn’t for the fact that I didn’t realize that I had originally picked up the second book and was getting into it then realize that it wasn’t the first book, I might not have even finished Devil’s Breath. I still think the second book, Ice Claw, was the most intriguing one with the last book a close second.
While I have definitely more action-packed and “keeping my butt at the edge of my seat” kind of books, I do think Max Gordon and his adventures are quite interesting as well. The main reason is because he always finds himself in a crazy situation (i.e. finding himself at the mercy of a lion/tiger or trying to escape or enter a compound by getting through some whirling blades, etc.) yet somehow always gets out of it. Especially in the first book where he was in the safari in Africa and got poisoned by a scorpion which literally has like zero chance of survival, he somehow survives. Or the part where he was able to turn himself to a jaguar or bear to get out of situations. I mean, it was mentioned how he was able to do that but it wasn’t particularly clear. It was just crazy to see how a teenage boy was able to overcome such tough situations or outsmart a professional killer (multiples times!).
The one thing I have to say that I didn’t particularly enjoy was the writing style. For the most part, it was fine but there were multiples times when the author would purposely be like “Max was in the river and was not paying attention to what was lurking behind him. A crocodile was slowly sneaking up on him and suddenly its jaws sprang open and tear into flesh.” And that’s how he ends the chapter. So obviously when you read that, you’re like “oh shit! The crocodile totally bit into Max.” And then you turn the page and it’s like “JK, the crocodile bit into the dead body that JUST SO HAPPENED to be floating next to Max.” I mean, what are the chances of that? It was just so annoying and such a letdown half the time not because I wanted Max to get hurt but I wanted to know what would happen if he did get hurt because that would seem a lot more realistic.
The one thing I can say about Max is that he is extremely resourceful and intelligent. There were times he had to get himself out of tight places or he had to help his friend get out of tight places and he would come up with an idea that I think that most people would not have thought of. It also helped that he spent the last few years at that private school where the students were taught a lot of survival skills and basic training. Though it was never really described what exactly they were training for or why the school thought these skills were necessary. To be honest, the school that he went to sounded like one of those spy schools where they train the students to become spies or whatever.
Overall, I did find the series to be interesting. There were just a few things about the overall series that could have been better and would therefore have made the books so much better. However, if you have time and you’re into survival/adventure/thriller books, give these books a chance.