________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 5. . . .October 2, 2009.


G Force. (Redline Racing Series).

Anthony Hampshire.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2009.
183 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55455-027-2.

Subject Headings:
Automobile racing-Juvenile fiction.
Sabotage-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 4-9 / Ages 9-14.

Review by Deborah Mervold.





“The Indy 500 is one of the few sports events left in the world that still welcomes talented newcomers. Of course there are always the star drivers and teams who compete each year, but there are also the rookies who arrive every May from other forms of racing with a dream to race in the 500. And Indianapolis gives them that chance. There’s one simple rule for everyone. If you’re fast enough you’re in. So, we’re having a go and announcing it on the website today. Of course it will cost a boatload of money. Plus, we’ll need time to put the right people and equipment in place in order to get up to speed and qualify. But J.R. thinks we can do it. So do I.”

My tea was getting cold as I stared into the distance, but it didn’t matter. Getting a shot at the biggest race of them all tends to refocus your attention. And so did something else.

 The fifth book in the “Redline Racing Series” has Eddie Stewart, a young Canadian driver, training in Britain at the Apex Training Facilities after winning second place in the North American Formula Atlantic Championship and Rookie of the Year. Allen Tanner, his race engineer, has met with J.R. Reynolds from the DynaSport sports equipment company to drive the DynaSport car in the Indianapolis 500. This is a coup for the young driver. When his old team that he has known from Junior High reunites to begin the training, Eddie is excited. He knows that Rick Grant can design the cars; Herb MacDonald can build them, and he can drive them fast.

     As J.R. provides the space and money, they begin to work on three cars. When they start to test the cars, accidents occur. The brakes fail, and then a tire blows. Is it mechanic error or sabotage? After Eddie is injured in one of the accidents, the team decides to bring in another driver in case Eddie is not ready to drive in the big race. The team looks inward and then, with help from the trainers at Apex, looks at enemies of the team and also enemies of J.R. to solve the mystery. The book culminates in the race at Indianapolis with an exciting finish.

     The novel is a detailed account of what it takes to be part of a racing team. The focus is on Eddie, as the driver, but readers will enjoy the technological approach to racing as the book covers the training and preparation for a big race. The vocabulary is suitable for reluctant readers as well as a variety of readers in the middle years. Older racing fans would also enjoy the novel. There are 25 chapters and a map of the training route. A glossary of racing terms is also included at the end of the book. Although not overly described, the characters have interesting relationships with each other, and the secondary characters add to the novel. There are enough clues to keep the reader involved, but the plot is simple enough for all readers. An interesting Shakespeare connection is explored from a meeting at the Shakespeare tavern to a threatening note using a quotation from Hamlet.

     The detailed preparation for racing may lose some readers but will interest many others. G Force would be an excellent book for school and public libraries. The fifth book, although following the adventures of the same characters, can be enjoyed alone as well as part of the series.


Deborah Mervold is an educator and teacher-librarian from Shellbrook, SK. She is presently employed by Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology (SIAST) working in the areas of faculty training and program development.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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