Friday, 12 October 2012

Review: This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

This Is Not a Drill 
Author: Beck McDowell
Series: -
Pages: 214
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Release Date: 1st November 2012

Synopsis (Goodreads)

A father who misses his son.
A soldier home from war.
A man with nothing to lose.

When Brian Stutts walks into a first-grade classroom with a gun, Emery and Jake’s world is blown apart. They’re just teenagers helping to tutor some kids, but now they’re at the centre of a deadly hostage crisis.

While Jake tries to get a secret message to the outside world, Emery reaches out to the desperate, unstable man. But Brian Stutts is holding the gun, and one way or another he’s not leaving without his son.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell was kindly provided to me by Hardie Grant Egmont Australia.

This is Not a Drill was such an intense, emotionally gripping read which kept me immersed in the story from the very beginning.

This story is told from the POV'S of 17 year-old Emery and Jake, high school seniors who have volunteered to be French tutors to a group of first grade students. They are thrust into a life threatening situation when a childs father, Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from PTSD after serving in Iraq, arrives at school wielding a gun after being denied visiting rights to his son.

I really enjoyed the main characters who had previously been in a relationship, being forced into such a devastating and traumatic hostage situation would be unbelievably difficult but these teens handled it well and their relationship woes I found was a nice distraction from the drama unfolding in the classroom.

The young children of the story are written well and their interactions with Emery and Jake believable and with affection.

This is Not a Drill deals with a very real subject and is extremely emotional reading about what this father had endured. It is well paced and engaging and Ms McDowell’s writing is superb.

There were a few potholes in the plot which I don’t feel enhanced the story and I definitely had different expectations when it came to the ending and I can’t help but feel things were a tad rushed but all in all, I really enjoyed this fast paced, emotionally tense and engaging story.

Thank-you kindly to Hardie Grant Egmont Australia for providing me with a copy of This is Not a Drill.


  1. Oh wow, the synopsis gave me shivers, glad you enjoyed this one

  2. At first I thought this was going to be a FUN read.. what was I thinking..? This Is Not A Drill actually sounds quite frightening! I'm glad to hear that it was fast paced! And the character relationships sound great. Lovely review!

    1. Thank-you :) it was an enjoyable read but quite sad what the father had been through as well as the predicament the teens were in.

  3. I really enjoyed this too and how much better is the Aussie cover? The US one is pretty dismal and I think it will put readers off.

    1. I completely agree! Very bland in comparison. I'm glad you enjoyed this as well :)


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