Conspiracy 365: January

(Conspiracy 365: Book One)

Gabrielle Lord

Kane Miller
January 2010, 185 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-935279-49-5

Genre: Young Reader
Subgenres: Thriller
Reviewed: 1/18/2010

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

Book Cover

Read an Excerpt

10 January


Flood Street, Richmond

5:28 pm

I flattened against the wall of the house on the corner of my street, peering around cautiously.

I jumped back fast. Police were everywhere! Two detectives stood outside in the garden of my place, while other officers in navy blue coveralls swarmed around in the street outside.

Another squad car blocked the other end of my street. There was no way I could make it to the house.

"Hey! You!"

I'd been spotted again!

I turned and ran.

"There he is! After him!"

I bolted, pelting along as hard as I could, jumping over trash cans, scrambling cats, until I'd come to the corner at the other end of the street that joined ours in a right angle. But instead of turning and following the street, I continued straight ahead, jumping a low brick wall, and hurtling through the garden of a small cottage, down the side passage, over the gate and straight on through the garden at the rear of the house. I threw myself over the back fence, falling heavily to the ground on the other side.

I was in the backyard of another small cottage, not far from a clothesline. I waited there for a while, listening to my heart rate slowly ease. I switched my phone off and looked around in disbelief. Here I was, hiding out near some stranger's laundry, while the police hunted me.

I was trapped in a nightmare.

Any second now. I'd wake up, safely home with my family.

6:16 pm

There was no waking from this. This was my new reality -- I was a hunted fugitive.

I huddled there until nightfall. I could smell dinner cooking and watched the lights come on and off.

9:33 pm

Finally, I crept out, cramped and hungry. In the garden shed near the bushes I'd hidden in, I found an old brown rain jacket. I shook the dust and spiders off it, and in spite of the hot night, pulled it on. I climbed over the fence again and back onto the street.

I started walking.



On December 31st, a muttering man appears and calls Callum "Cal" Ormond by his name. He tells Cal to keep away from "it" and to run and don't stop for a year. He tells Cal to hide and lay low but doesn't really explain much more, but does mention the Ormond Singularity. Cal, who is 16-years old, and who has just recently lost his father to a wasting disease, doesn't know what to make of the crazy fellow.

That night, Cal is on his father's boat with his father's twin brother, Rafe, in Treachery Bay, to watch the fireworks show for the new year. After the fireworks have ended, Cal realizes that the weather is turning bad, but Rafe doesn't seem to care. When the winds pick up and the boat is overturned, Cal is left on his own to fight the freezing water and the sharks that appear.

After being rescued, Cal reads the last letter he received from his father, who was a photo-journalist, and who had gone to Ireland to gather footage for a story about Australian families with Irish ancestry. Along with the letter is a picture that his father had drawn of a World War I soldier holding aloft a flaming sword while having angel-like wings sprouting from his back. Cal, his mother, and his sister, Gabbi, return from the coast to their home in Richmond to find that it has been broken into and thoroughly searched.

Cal tells his best friend, Boges, all that has happened in the last few days.  Rafe, who had washed up on the shore after the boat turned over, seems to be spending a lot of time at Cal's house comforting his mother. Rafe is nothing like Cal's father, and Cal doesn't really want his uncle, who he really doesn't know all that well, hanging out with his mom. When a large envelope arrives from the hospice where his father died, Rafe snatches away the envelope claiming it has something to do with Cal's father's estate. But Cal saw that the envelope was addressed to him and thinks it might have something to do with all of the strange occurrences that have been happening lately.

Cal and Boges sneak over to his uncle's house and Cal finds the envelope, but the pictures he expected to find are not there. He does make photocopies of everything else in the envelope so he and Boges can study it later. He also finds Rafe's gun and picks it up to look at it, and then places it back in the bedside table. Cal receives a phone call from Jennifer Smith who wants to meet with him. She claims that she was his father's nurse at the hospice and has something for him. While Cal waits to meet with Jennifer, he is kidnapped and questioned about the Ormond Angel and the Ormond Riddle.

After escaping, Cal takes the key he stole from his uncle's house and pays a visit his family's mausoleum in the cemetery. In the mausoleum, he finds the pictures from Cal's father that Rafe has hidden and takes them. The next day, after he and Boges have studied the pictures, Cal returns home to find Rafe laying in a pool of blood in the kitchen and his younger sister, Gabbi, not breathing. He performs CPR on his sister and flees his house when he hears someone coming.

On the run, he sees himself on the television and he is shocked to learn that his uncle, who is not dead, is blaming him for shooting him and trying to kill Gabbi. Realizing that this must all have something to do with the Ormond Angle, Singularity, and Riddle, Cal finds a place to lay low and work on the mystery that has changed his life.

Conspiracy 365: January is a Young Reader Thriller written by Gabrielle Lord. This book is intended for young readers 10 and up.



Conspiracy 365: January rocked my world! From the shark attack at the beginning of the story, I knew that I had found the kind of book that I thoroughly enjoy reading. Filled with action, mystery and intrigue, Conspiracy 365: January grabbed me by the shoulders and didn't let go until I reached page 1. Oh . . . this is a really cool thing about this book: the page numbers count down until they reach page 1. I think is is a really nice touch, giving the reader a feeling of foreboding doom.

Gabrielle Lord has created a wonderfully, exciting book in the first monthly installment of Conspiracy 365. Having a new book come out on the first day of every month in the year 2010 is a great idea. It is kind of like watching the television show on FOX called 24. On 24, each episode consists of one hour of Jack Bauer's life during a crisis. In Conspiracy 365, each book takes place during the month it is named after while Cal tries to unravel the mystery behind his father's untimely death and his family heritage.

Can his Uncle Rafe be trusted? What is the Ormond Angel? What is the Ormond Riddle? Why are two different groups after these answers? Why are they both after Cal? With the help of Boges, Cal realizes that he must lay low and work on figuring out the answers to these questions while trying to remain alive.

Overall, Conspiracy 365: January is a rip, roarin', action adventure, thriller that had my heart pumping faster as I gobbled up the pages. And when I was done, I wanted the next book . . . desperately. At least the wait will only be a month away, not a year like most books. What an awesome idea this is! So, bring it on Gabrielle Lord. I am definitely ready to find out what happens next to Cal in Conspiracy 365: February. This is going to be a fun year.

I rated this book a 9 out of 10.

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