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Luke Harding has barely had time to celebrate becoming the youngest ever person to qualify as a forensic investigator when Malc, his Mobile Aid to Law and Crime, calls him to their first case. A student has been mysteriously shot dead with an arrow. An elusive killer is at large and all the evidence points to Luke being the murderer himself...Imagine a place where technology rules...where London is a slum and the North is a cultural capital...where from the age of five, The Authorities decide your future. In this fascinating parallel world, quick-thinking Luke Harding is the youngest Forensic Investigator ever, aged just 16. Luke and his right-hand robot, Malc, make a top team. Together, they have the talent to crack any crime - and a good joke, too. Luke Harding has just qualified as an FI when fellow pupil Crispin Addley is shot dead by an arrow. Addley was on his way to beating Luke's record grades in Forensics. Then sports teacher and pairing committee chair Ms Kee killed. Kee had been irked that she had 'lost' sporty Luke to Science. Malc states Luke had motive to kill both people and Luke, ridiculous though it seems, has to accept this. Then Vince Wainright is murdered with a diamond cutter. Vince was to be paired with Jade, Luke's secret girlfriend. Luke must race to clear his name. He interviews colleagues, friends and enemies of the victims but there is no clear lead. The Authorities are threatening to take Luke off the case as he is the prime suspect. Luke then realises a connection between the murder weapons - a diamond cutter, a diamond-shaped arrow and a poisoning with the venom of a diamondbacked snake...Luke's nickname at school is Diamond. At the memorial service of Ms Kee, Luke hatches a plan to use special technology to try and expose the killer. Jade is an expert musician and has a new machine that can direct sound at a person like a laserbeam without people nearby hearing anything. At the after-service gathering Jade directs whispers of guilt at some of the suspects. All act confused except for school nasty Ed Hoffman who, thinking the whole room has heard and he's been exposed, grabs a knife and lunges to stab Luke. Malc takes the blow, saving Luke's life. Hoffman is taken away.
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About the Author

Malcolm Rose, a former professor of chemistry, is a well-known children's thriller writer of some 25 novels, including five Traces titles published by Kingfisher. Malcolm has won the Angus Book Award (Tunnel Vision) and the Lancashire Book of the Year Award 2001 (Plague). His books regularly feature in the Book Trust 100 best books for children list. In the USA, Traces: Framed! was selected as a Best International Book by the International Reading Association. Malcolm lives in Sheffield.

Reviews

Gr 5-8-Luke Harding, a 16-year-old, newly qualified forensic investigator, is called in on his first murder case when fellow student Crispin Addley is found with an arrow in his heart. Malc (Mobile Aid to Law and Crime), a robot whose technological capabilities include X-ray, lasers and scanners, and an enormous database that can cross-check facts within seconds, helps Luke throughout his investigation. This futuristic novel has a thrilling plot and deadpan humor. Fans of Anthony Horowitz's "Alex Rider" series (Philomel) will enjoy following Luke's action-packed career in which solving crimes sometimes involves saving the world. Lost Bullet takes place in a future England, where London's infrastructure has been so long neglected that trees and vines have created a junglelike atmosphere amid the concrete and brick structures. Crime is rampant, and Luke narrowly escapes gunshots as a sniper shoots at him at the beginning of the novel. He picks up a clue that will help to unravel a murder investigation, again with the help of his trusty robot sidekick, Malc. Luke must infiltrate a dangerous cult called the Visionaries, whose views of medicine and use of violence to achieve their goals make them the perfect suspects. This is a suspenseful, thoughtful, and humorous addition to the series.-Elizabeth Fernandez, Brunswick Middle School, Greenwich, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"Fast-moving storytelling in true thriller tradition" Jan Mark, TES"

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