Victim: teenage female (13-14?). Unconscious. Head injury, laceration to arm. Struck by lorry. Driver present at scene. Possible victim ID = Ashleigh Jarvis. Bus pass + purse in pocket. No shoes. Feet dirty. When Ashleigh is taken to hospital following a traffic accident, an examination of the unconscious girl reveals injuries that suggest a disturbing series of events prior to her being knocked down. Ashleigh has been keeping a dark secret - and sixteen-year-old Trainee Police Officer, Holly Blades, will stop at nothing to discover the truth. Gritty, electrifying drama from BAFTA award-winning writer, Chris Ould: the freshest blood in YA crime fiction.
In summer 2012, Foyles and Usborne, Chris OUld's pubilsher, held a competition for aspiring writers aged 15-18, asking them to review the book. These are the shortlisted entries entries, beginning with the winner,Julia Aleksandra Kruszewska:
A shocking portrayal of teen crime, Chris Ould paints a realistic picture of youth immorality. The target audience is able to relate to the characters; I especially love Holly's "never give up" attitude and resilience to whatever is thrown her way. The refreshing twists and turns in regards to characters' motives, and the changes of perspectives throughout the story add to the pacing, making it an irresistible page turner. I cannot wait to sink my teeth into the next one after having devoured this gutsy, electric, hypnotic book. Lovers of teen crime will find their new obsession.
Julia Aleksandra Kruszewska, age 15
Chris Ould's new book explores the realities of youth crime. His research into the subject is apparent; there is much to be learnt from the numerous details which make the story feel realistic. The characters are appropriately likeable and dislikeable, although sometimes feel underdeveloped - we're told tantalisingly little about Holly's life outside the TPO scheme for instance. Hopefully this shall be further explored in the next book, which I expect to be equally as gripping. The plot develops well and the twists are effective, as are the subplots which skilfully weave themselves into the narrative. A very enjoyable read!
Mathew Nicolson, age 17
In the first book of this YA crime series, Holly and Sam- a pair of sixteen year old trainee police officers- deal with the case of a fourteen year old who was knocked down by a lorry. Ould's portrayal of youth crime pulls no punches and the pacing is excellent. However, his greatest talent lies in his dialogue; from the rough Cadogan estate to the police station, every line of speech tells us something insightful about the setting and people. With well-developed characters and a shocking twist at its climax, Case One will leave teens breathless for the next book.
Joeyta Dutta, age 16
As soon as I read the first line I was hooked, Chris Ould possesses a unique talent of arousing questions in the reader's mind to keep them reading on. The book consists of rough-edged characters and short fast-paced chapters with alternating perspectives. At the start this format confused me but I got used to it as I read further on, plus it never took my attention of the drama going on in the story. This book is a brash, fearless, suspense-ridden crime fiction novel and I would recommend it for 15 year olds and over. Can't wait for the next!
Hannah Abban, age 16
Street Duty Case one: Knock down is a thrilling fast paced novel about Crime in the modern world. The novel really is a page turner that keeps the reader engrossed from page one. I loved how easy it was to bond with the characters. Holly was my personal favourite. It was great to have a Young adult crime novel with a female heroine! The multiple perspectives kept the book quick moving and kept the reader guessing. It was written so perfectly and it's wrapped up nicely at the end. I cannot wait to read the next adventures of the TPOs!
Annabelle Hammond, age 17
Street Duty contains all of the key elements of successful teenage fiction, comprising of action, relatable characters and an unpredictable plot. However, the factor that sets this novel apart is that Chris Ould writes realistically for a mature audience, rather than patronising teenage readers. Holly, the teenage protagonist of the book, is given adult responsibilities and a self-righteous attitude, and although she is often subject to age discrimination, Ould uses her character to recognise that young people are often underestimated. The use of multiple narratives and plot twists make the novel fast-paced, unpredictable and enjoyable from beginning to end.
Emily Wood, age 16
Ambition and the lack of it are seemingly the two key themes in Chris Ould's Knock Down, a fast paced and moving novel which realistically portrays the controversial topic of youth crime in British society without making it appear more glamorous and appealing to his teenage audience. The contrast between the driven protagonist Holly Blades and the seemingly good for nothing youths on the estate is vital, encouraging motivation and discouraging the behavior which many teenagers today are stereotyped for. Although some issues in the novel are left unresolved, Ould makes up for this with his page turning style and surprising turn of events.
Katherine Phillips, age 17
Being just a few years older than Holly ,and having actually actively tried to get an apprentice job, I can say that her feelings of being one , and experience being an apprentice as a TPO was very real to me. Apprenticeships are very valuable and you can tell they do a lot of work by this book! TPO's shouldn't feel bad - they are amazing! I could clearly visualise the Cadogan Estate. Drugs , vandalism and rape. It's all very true, cold, cold Britain. I think the sequel will be just as good, especially as Holly grows up.
Carol Chachati, age 18
Street Duty had me hooked within the first page. It is realistic, gripping, and knowledgeable. It contains lots of conflict and switches between different stories which makes the plot more interesting. The character Ashleigh was my favourite; she comes across as intriguing in the first page and leaves you questioning about her and what happened. I thought this book was amazing and I guarantee that anyone will like it, despite what genre is usually preferred. I would give this book a 4/5 and would recommend this book to any young adult. I can't wait to read the next one!
Amber-Safina Austin, age 15
Street Duty, Case One: Knock Down by Chris Ould is a gripping crime novel that focuses on Ashleigh Jarvis, the victim of a road traffic collision, and the TPO Holly Blades who wants to discover the truth about what happened. The use of regular policing jargon makes this novel seem extremely realistic. The dark and atmospheric backgrounds of these troubled teenagers fantastically portrays real youth crime, it is an aspect of life that many can relate and agree to. The multiple intriguing perspectives kept me guessing. Overall, a fast-moving puzzler that is perfect for crime novel lovers!
Lauren Main, age 15