I love Ally Kennen's books. They are outside my usual reading-comfort zone, and I'm not the target audience, but they never fail to draw me in. The convincing teen voice, the realistic world creation, characters and settings never fail.
Bullet boys was a different read to the previous books. Instead of the grimy urban setting we've come to almost expect, the reader is transplanted onto the Devon moors. Alex is a teen surprisingly content with his life. But, between them, Max, Levi and Sascha and the dangerous discovery in the barn bring an explosive mix of trouble into his life.
I couldn't quite get into Max's head, despite the sections of first person narrative, but his unpredictability is essential for the plot. The other characters really came to life; you could just see such a likeable bunch of oddballs finding each other in the mix at college.
The story builds to a chilling climax with sections of nail-biting suspense; one of those stories where the characters don't know who is friend and who is foe. There is no saying who it might be safe to turn to as danger closes in around them. Once again, Kennen has produced a tale that is exciting, dark and real but ultimately never too bleak. Really excellent.