Reviews for Camp Valor

by Scott McEwen

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Fourteen-year-old Wyatt is in a pickle. Framed for a crime he didn't commit, he's languishing in jail and facing a life sentence when he has a surprise visitor, a burly, tattooed man who calls himself Sergeant Hallsy. The sarge makes him an unusual offer: in exchange for three months of his life to be spent at someplace called Camp Valor, he'll arrange for Wyatt's release. No dummy, Wyatt agrees and soon, finding himself at the remote camp, learns it's a top-secret training facility designed to turn at-risk teens like him into government agents or, rather, lean, mean killing machines. The training he undergoes makes U.S. Army basic seem like a walk in the park. Inevitably, ready or not, the plucky teens test their training by battling an übervillain who can't stand light. Guess who wins? The authors won't take home any prizes for originality or style, but their prose is serviceable and gets the work done. Reluctant readers will doubtlessly enjoy this fast-paced action-adventure book and look forward to the inevitable sequel.--Michael Cart Copyright 2018 Booklist

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A supposed summer camp for troubled teens actually turns out elite warriors for American covert ops in this gore-splashed series opener.Pulled out of a juvenile detention center and flown to a mysterious co-ed camp deep in the wilderness, Wyatt undergoes a punishing three-month version of Navy SEAL training (hell week and all), then, with his newly forged band of brothers and sisters, takes on a crazed superhacker with a habit (described in grisly detail) of eating select body parts of captives and underperforming employees. Assembled from a mix of rapid cuts and flashbacks that serve to fill in background details, the piecemeal story rolls along to its bullet-riddled climax, past sprays of blood and crunches of bone, team-building ordeals, a romantic triangle, and set pieces ranging from a high-speed car chase through midtown Manhattan to a kidnapping by Islamic State group terrorists. At summer's end the survivors disperse, with the odd Glock or other keepsake and clear hints (some gruesome) that all might not be as it seems. With minor exceptions the cast defaults to whitealthough the hacker's sidekick, Raquel, a barely restrainable psychotic killer, is Syrian/Lebaneseand is neatly divided into rugged heroes and caricatured villains. Readers fond of atmospheric prose or nuanced characters and situations will be deeply disappointed.A lurid, unvarnished crossover by the co-author of the bestselling American Sniper (2012), with clear potential for both sales and sequels. (Paramilitary thriller. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.