Genre: Young Adult; Crime; Thriller
With the hunt for Robert Cage only getting more perilous, Jet Cage and the Rat Pack have to be all the more careful in what they do, where they stay, and who they trust. And missing two of their companions to an involuntary lockdown in Mr. Kevin Duke’s alleys isn’t making their task any easier. As the Rat Pack remains stuck without resources at the most crucial point of their chase, both Jet and his father struggle to get the higher ground over each other, pulling their best tricks out of a shoe and throwing them over a fence, hoping the right one lands face-up. But, of course, things can never go too well.
Like his son, Cage has his own spool of ploys to unravel, and he isn’t going to let anyone get in his way. But, after he accidentally leads the Rat Pack to the clear-cut start of his troubles, curiosity gets the best of the nine unremitting teenagers as they follow his history to a brick building on Stalepoint’s eastern border.
This series just keeps getting better with each book and as it stands, this one is the most emotional. I was warned, but my heart still broke. After coming to know Jet’s side of things in books 1-2, book 3 treated us to a flashback from his father’s life that makes the reader not only feel sympathy for this villain, but also further understand Jet’s indecision and turmoil with realizing the only way to end things is to kill the dad he still loves.
In this fourth installment, desperation grows as the Rat Pack attempts to finally finish their deadly game of chase with Jet’s father, Robert Cage, who is falling further and further into violent madness with each step. Our oddball group of clever and resourceful teenagers must gather all their wits and strength to undermine the gang of the alleys, work with double agents, dodge the police, and stop this deadly former hitman who has terrorized the area for years. All while keeping themselves alive and well.
The Rat Pack has quickly learned they are at war. With Cage, with the alley gang and those they once called friend or family, and even themselves; and in war, there will always be casualties. Throughout their numerous trials, these teens somehow manage moments of laughter that see them through to the conclusion of their battle. However, fighting to keep their lives is one thing. Fighting to keep their sanity is a whole other. Once their mission is complete, what will remain? Will they still have their friends? their loved ones? their minds? Will they ever really be at peace?
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: the author has done an amazing job crafting both an adventurous, albeit grim in points, tale and lovable characters including villains you hate to love. I love the use of ‘gray morality.’ How there is so much in between good and evil, and figuring out which is which isn’t always easy. There are both steadfast characters as well as those whose minds we see shifting and battling with themselves throughout the progression of the story. My favorite part of this book was what Jet decided were acceptable losses; what he wound up willing or unwilling to sacrifice in his near-life-long mission.
“Over the Alley Fences” is full of tense action scenarios and confrontations, suspense as our heroes navigate the underground of their corner of the world, and emotional narrative when they must face deadly circumstances head-on by themselves. The way everything was wrapped up was great. Tying up loose ends into a satisfactory conclusion can often prove difficult, but the author seemed to weave the ending together perfectly. The emotions of these events remain alongside a hopeful future that sends the message that peace can be found after strife. I particularly enjoyed how Spiegel wrote in interesting character and plot connections that tie even into previous installments. No spoilers from me though. Just take my advice and give it a read.
Want your book reviewed? Click here for more information.
~Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden
Follow this blog by entering your email at the bottom of this page to get updates on book reviews, free books, and giveaways!