Jimmy Coates: Killer


NOTE: Read The Abstract Bookcase: Jimmy Coates: Killer first. That’ll explain this sordid review, it’s the crazy uncle at the party that people try to avoid. And it doesn’t have nearly enough skittles, unicorns and rainbows, what’s up with that?

SECOND NOTE: if you were linked to this review, welcome to II! I hope you enjoy this and stick around. We’re all lovely folks that adore our reading and writing, and would love to have you on the forum — come say hi!


I am hesitant to compare Jimmy Coates: Killer with Alex Rider (I believe books and authors should stand on their own feet; just because Book X is better than Book Y does not make Book X a good book) as I think Joe Craig is a talented author in his own right.

However, in such a spy/action genre, there are so many others fighting in the same field. In a way though, these comparisons can actually highlight the triumphs of Jimmy Coates.

That and this is a good place for me to vent.

I’m going to restrict my comparison to Alex Rider because that is what so often gets mentioned, and because it’s the one series I know best.

It is, in a sense, the inevitable comparison. Both books feature young male superspy protagonists. The difference is, on his way to the moon, Alex Rider took a detour on a motorcycle down a ramp and over a tank of a well known shark. Horowitz (until Crocodile Tears I must note — excellent book that redeemed my faith in the series) seems to have this odd need to justify everything that Alex does and how it is plausible and possible.

Whilst I sort of appreciate that Horowitz isn’t treating his audience like children, it is also incredibly jarring in terms of Alex being anywhere close to the audience surrogate. Kids, I’m sorry to ruin life for you, but you aren’t going to end up in space and survive.

By trying to make it realistic, Horowitz sacrifices realism.

Craig, on the other hand, has created an absolutely ridiculous scenario, justifying it as being “future technology” and gets on with the immensely fun story. And that’s what truly matters in Jimmy Coates, with books aimed at a certain age range, sometimes all you want to do is enjoy the action.

And they are just as enjoyable as Alex Rider. They are not clones, they stand on their own feet. So if you enjoy Alex Rider it is definitely worth giving these books a try.

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  1. fffan on 17 August 2010, 04:09 said:

    seems to have this odd need to justify everything that Alex does and how it is plausible and possible.

    Oh it’s one of those books is it? This was probably the one thing that annoyed me the most with Artemis Fowl. Eoin Colfer seemed to keep say things like, “This – is – real! MAKE A RELIGION OUT OF IT!” in my humble opinion.

  2. Jeni on 17 August 2010, 07:00 said:

    Eh, not really. It’s just that every outlandish situation that Alex Rider gets himself into, Horowitz feels that he has to explain how it’s possible a 14 year old is able to do all this stuff.

    Take the going into space thing: he actually put a full length piece at the back explaining how Alex could go into space without any training whatsoever and make it back alive.

    Yes, he’d done his research, but cheese on crackers, it gets tiring.

  3. imgrum on 16 October 2019, 03:25 said:

    Sounds like a great book to read. Thank you for sharing it here.