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Urban Outlaws

Review

Urban Outlaws

Peter Jay Black's action adventure novel URBAN OUTLAWS is a strong opening to what could shape up to be a strong series. URBAN OUTLAWS is a "gadget-filled" adventure centered around five orphans staying together to look out for "the little guy." Black is planning or has planned URBAN OUTLAWS to be a five-book series, and upon reaching the conclusion of this fast-paced thrill ride, this reviewer cannot wait for book two. From start to finish, the protagonists are strong, the action maintains an even pace and the villains are pure, downright evil.
 
This pack of roguish rapscallions has come out swinging in their debut and it is not likely anything is going to stop them.
 
Upon its opening, URBAN OUTLAWS presents the reader with five orphaned youths pulling a heist on the bank accounts of a businessman who has been secretly selling illegal firearms. The Outlaws' plan is to take a large sum of money from this particular businessman and give it to a charity that needs it more. After some narrow escape work, base jumping and a police chase, the heroes succeed. In this opening mission, the Outlaws acquire a sum of just over one million British pounds. Of that money, they only keep 1,000 pounds, giving the remainder to a children's hospital. This heist sets into motion a chain of events they had not planned for and becomes the main crisis of the novel. 
 
The narrative is told from the perspective of the team's leader, 15-year-old master computer hacker Jack. Jack is the oldest and wisest of the Outlaws, serving as an exceptional set of eyes to view as much action as needed without spoiling the suspense. Jack might make the plans as clear and concise as possible, but it is up to Charlie, Obi, Slink and Wren to help him see it through.  With each member bringing their own specialties to the table, the Urban Outlaws are unstoppable.
 
Going into the book, one of my concerns was that even if one of the five members of the team was awkward or uncomfortable in a scene, even for a moment, the entire presentation of the novel could be brought down. However, of the five heroes on the Urban Outlaws roster, not one is unlikable or off-putting. Each character's personal backstory is appropriate to their presence, presentation and behaviors, making readers care about them completely. Additionally, Jack's inner monologues concerning his team or what can be called "why the reader should care about the team" are the novel's strongest pieces of writing. 
 
The novel sets up a series of obstacles for this group of kids to dodge or knock over, and when these children hit back, all bets are off. This pack of roguish rapscallions has come out swinging in their debut and it is not likely anything is going to stop them.

Reviewed by Matt Burbridge on October 24, 2014

Urban Outlaws
by Peter Jay Black