Phantom Thief by P.D. Atkerson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wow, was this one action-packed ride! I’ve been meaning to read P.D. Atkerson’s books for a long time now, and I’m so glad I got the chance to read this one.
Characters: Okay, can we just talk about Simon Lee? (I’m going to call him Lee, because that’s how I think of him.) This kid was hilarious. The sarcasm was so intense, and I loved how he fought against adults constantly thinking he was incapable because he was only 15. (How is that kid only 15?) But for all of his bluster, he made me want to give him a hug. He triggered my teacher persona massively! But by the end of the book, I think maybe he was coming around a little bit? I don’t know. I feel like he has a long way to go. And Winfield! What a great character. I was rooting for the truth to come out (it didn’t until the end of the book) but what a great twist! I would’ve loved to see more of his and Lee’s interactions, but I guess that’s what the rest of the series is for. Winfield, though, was a cool agent, and he sometimes was a good example/protector to Lee. (Emphasis on sometimes.) The rest of the agents – Trinity, Davis, Smith, and Pierson – were interesting, but I kept getting them confused at first. However, Davis and Smith seemed like they could have an interesting book. So intriguing!
Plot/Setting: Okay, when you pick up this book (and you should!) don’t walk into it expecting a hefty dose of realism. Once you have that correct expectation, you’ll have a blast. In reality, this is way more exciting than what “real” spies/agents would do most days. The plot was pretty direct, and the twists in this one were golden – I loved it! I had to see what happened next. The setting wasn’t hugely described – it was based around D.C., but there weren’t long descriptions about the city. Honestly, Lee could be anywhere, and things would be a massive riot.
Moral/theme: I didn’t find a lot of overt themes in this one, but there was of course Lee and Winfield’s tenuous relationship. Lee said a couple prayers, but he definitely wasn’t the most devout. I’m looking forward to see if the rest of the series develops Lee into more of a Christian character, because that could be a really beautiful story.
Overall, this was a blast. If you’re in the mood for a spy/adventure book that isn’t mired down in a lot of details, this one’s for you. The writing worked well – it wasn’t anything flashy or dramatic and was easy to read. I’m looking forward to discovering more of Lee’s adventures sometime in the future!