Review by

Ruby Redfort: Blink and You Die (Book 6)

Inspiring a new generation of super-cool girl spies

There is something rotten at the core of top spy agency Spectrum. One of it’s agents appears to want Ruby dead. Who? Why? Will they rue the day they crossed Ruby Redfort, the smartest, bravest secret agent ever? Congratulations to Lauren Child, who’s just been appointed our new Children’s Laureate. The hugely successful creator of Charlie & Lola, and the irrepressible Clarice Bean, now turns her versatile talents to 9+ adventure-crazy girls.

In best children’s story tradition, Ruby’s parents are kept well away from the action, their benign parental neglect suiting Ruby’s secret agent lifestyle perfectly. In this adventure, not only is she dealing with unknown enemies, but also old adversaries, most notably, the sinister Count Von Viscount.

‘…goodness has deserted the Count, his hangers on are a murky soup of the vile and unhinged’

I do love a dastardly villain. Brilliantly, in my view, the action is set in the 1970’s. This means that the most high-tech we get is a super-speedy bike with unpuncturable tyres. And accessing secret files means physically seeking them out. No cyberspace here thanks. There may be no Tech to speak but we do get a bunch of spoofy gadgetry. The ringing bar of soap that’s a telephone, toast that pops up uninvited, bearing a message, the Bond-esque escape watch.

Death-defying moments and outrageous coincidences add to the fun. Ruby is a true believer in following your instincts. Applying this attitude to second guessing the plot, led to all my hunches being hopelessly wrong. These villains are truly elusive.

Being a champion code cracker, Ruby is set various fiendish puzzles throughout the book, as is the intrepid reader. The brain stretching even continues with the posing of an ethical thought question. Wow.

An admiring round of applause then, for spirited and ambitious girlhood. Start with Book One: Look Into My Eyes.

Ruby Redfort: Blink and You Die is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books, 560 pages.

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2 Responses to “The Private Blog of Joe Cowley: Straight Outta Nerdsville by Ben Davis”

  1. Ann Backer

    Julie, finally found Bookstoker! It’s my new best bookfriend. Have read several from your list already and will be on the lookout for others as they appear in paperback- at Ark and Norli and Tanum. (Because it’s so important to browse and buy locally.)
    Life has settled down enough now for me to read in long stretches of time.
    This summer, a mix of biographies and novels. A friend gave me Knausgasrd I, “because you live in Norway”. A struggle even so.
    You mentioned An Examined Life. Do you know that Norli has piles of the translated copies, for kr 99?
    Because a woman working there recommended it so highly.
    So impressed with your reviews! Look forward to more and more!
    Greetings from Ann, 9:30 pm, out on the veranda at Hankø

    • Julie

      Hi Ann,

      So pleased you’ve found us and that you like Bookstoker! Please tell your friends, we always need more followers. And do let me know if you read something exceptional. Always on the lookout for good reads. I loved The Examined Life, good to hear it’s out in Norway. Enjoy summer! Have so many wonderful memories from Hankø with you.


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