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Genius Squad book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Now that the Axis Institute for World Domination has been blown up; t. Genius Squad 2 Catherine Jinks PDF ePub Mobi - Download Genius Squad 2 Catherine Jinks (PDF, ePub, Mobi)Books Genius Squad 2 Catherine Jinks (PDF, . And he's under constant threat from Prosper English – the criminal mastermind he helped to put in gaol. Will Genius Squad be the answer to all Cadel's prayers?.

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Genius squad. ISBN (pbk.). I. Title A Text and cover design by Ellie Exarchos Illustrations by Heath McKenzie Set in /13pt ITC Legacy. Genius Squad · Genius Squad. Genius Squad Text 31/1/08 AM Page i GENIUS Squad Genius Squad Text 31/1/08 AM Page ii By the same a. Genius Squad. Home · Genius Squad Breakout Squad. Read more · Bankroll Squad · Read more · Annihilation Squad. Read more.

It was Hazel who spoke for him, assuring the newcomers that they were very welcome, and offering them a cup of tea — or perhaps coffee? I liked how he knew that he should not hide any facts from Cadel just because he is a kid - he was open and honest with him something I can't say for Cadel but then again he is a kid, genius or not and that scene in the park when he informs Cadel of the assassination plot against Prosper English is one of my favourite scenes. This article needs additional citations for verification. Each page builds up suspense that culminates into a surprise scenario that will leave you scrambling to catch up. You should understand that by now. After months of being followed, he could spot them quite easily. Focus, he thought.

Though he does get to use his go-to disguise of dressing up as a girl a few more times. I will now let the image of teenage David Hewlett in drag entertain me, as this book failed to do. Jul 21, Shanshad Whelan rated it it was ok Shelves: The first book had a number of flaws, but was intriguing enough to pull me through and make me curious about the sequel.

I got through this book basically wondering why I'd read it. The focal point seems more on Cadel's clumsy attempts at relationships than anything "genius" like. While I'm not one for endless technobabble, having a book about a "genius squad" that never lives up to the name is disappointing.

Not enough description of gadgets and the kind of intelligence and ingenuity that would The first book had a number of flaws, but was intriguing enough to pull me through and make me curious about the sequel.

Not enough description of gadgets and the kind of intelligence and ingenuity that would make me respect the group. And the ending was just. And I don't like books ending in syrup. Nov 02, Kim rated it liked it.

Nowhere near as good as the first one. All the solutions seemed more trite, all the characters more annoying. I was hoping the sequel would improve upon the first book, but instead it seemed to exacerbate the problems and offer nothing more fun to counter them.

Jun 14, Becky rated it really liked it.

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Jinks, Catherine. Genius Squad. Genius Squad is the sequel to Evil Genius. So if I didn't love and if I'm honest, really almost hated why would I pick up the sequel? Am I just into torturing myself? But it's a good thing. A really good thing in this case. My problems with Evil Genius was in the narrator and also the pacing but it's not necessary to go there. Our hero, Cadel Piggott, was so far removed Jinks, Catherine.

Our hero, Cadel Piggott, was so far removed from the human race, so cold, so calculating, so mean-spirited, so outside-it-all, so without conscience that it made it hard for me to like him.

Even just a little bit. But Cadel's a whole new man now. Well, sort've. He's fifteen. He's matured in many ways. If by maturing you mean becoming human, becoming likable, becoming vulnerable, becoming a person who thinks about his choices being right or wrong. That doesn't mean he's above doing wrong, it just means that he thinks first. He may lie. He may keep secrets. He may want to do small acts of revenge. But he now thinks about whether the ends justify the means. But more importantly, Cadel is now beginning to think about other people besides himself--at least part of the time.

So, I liked this one. I really liked it. Cadel, as I mentioned, is fifteen now. And we first meet him living in a foster home. He's in a home with two other children. I believe they're both foster care kids too. And life isn't easy for this ex-genius.

At the beginning, he's living a mostly restricted life. He does get some computer time, a few hours each day, but it's not his computer. It's not super-advanced. And he can't really go about doing his normal genius-y things. He's under police protection as well. He's the sole witness for the prosecution. He has to stay alive so he can testify against Prosper English. Surviving may be more difficult than he at first thought. So, the book is called Genius Squad.

As you might have guessed, Cadel and his best friend Sonja get an offer they can't refuse. A chance to prove their genius for the "good" guys. Off the record of course. No, he isn't working for the police. And no, there isn't proof that these so-called good-guys are actually good.

In fact, these good guys are doing some illegal things. But Cadel thinks the ends will justify the means. I won't go into all the specifics, but this genius squad does add some suspense and mystery to the plot. Genius Squad is an exciting page turner. I definitely recommend it. Apr 07, Eliose rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Teens, people into mysteries.

Spoilers are a pain. Read at your own risk. It continues on from the end of Evil Genius. New characters are introduced and old characters are expanded and fleshed out. I love the dynamic between Sonja and Cadel. He learns to become compassionate because of her and to think of others. Cadel becomes more human in this book as he makes friends with the people he has to work with to take down Proctor. The teenagers act almost exactly how some teens would act-only caring about money and having fun, ev Spoilers are a pain.

The teenagers act almost exactly how some teens would act-only caring about money and having fun, even though they're doing something that would help thousands of others. The adults can be condescending and almost rude, which I believe would be most likely the reaction adults would have, if confront with childeren who think they know better or who do know better than they do. Other adults are much more helpful and considerate to the teens, but they're the ones to look out for. Those adults didn't want me to tear my hair out, but they did make me a little hesitant to like them.

Even the nicest of characters can show their true colors. The events unfolded in the book had many twists and turns that made me breathless in anticipation for what would happen next. The pace of the events seem a little slow, but the information that the reader is giving makes up for it. The scenes in the book all have hints to different possibilities to what would happen next.

Some were obvious clues, while others told me a while for it to click, making me smack my head because of the obviousness. The writing style was easy to follow. Some concepts, for example the technology and other related topics, were hard to understand. There were a few terms I was unsure of, but the words don't really take away much from the story. I'm not much of a technological geek, but I grasped most of it. The technology gave a lot of depth to how Proctor was trying to get to Cadel and how Cadel was trying to work out what was going on.

All in all, I really loved the book. The paced was at a nice speed for me to understand what was going on and the scenes were great. The characters were lovable and I couldn't wait for the next book. May 20, Armchair rated it liked it Shelves: Cadel Piggott is a pretty fascinating protagonist: He developed a conscience over the course of Evil Genius, and he spends most of Genius Squad struggling with it: Both novels have a diverse and interesting cast of characters.

This is not so in Genius Squad , every mention of this character is defined by disability to the point that the character becomes almost dead weight Cadel uses some of the drawbacks of the disability to his advantage.

Quite sad. No dice. There was a caper, of sorts, but it was dry as they come. Genius Squad was really a bit of false advertising: Jul 07, Molly rated it it was ok. The first book was so amazing!

I thought it would be a sure thing the second book would compare, but unfortunately no. The book lags in almost everything! And while I loved Sonja in the first book, it seems that in the second she was a hindrance to the plot moving on.

Don't even get me started on how ridiculous the premise was. Keep Cadel the feelings-challenged outcast! For gods sakes, don't give him a home and a stable life until the very end! That stuff is meant for a conclusion, not a lead-i The first book was so amazing!

The whole novel left a bitter taste in my mouth. You can't just keep recycling the same person you used the first time! I didn't even bother to pick up Genius Wars. I have better things to read than another half-baked attempt to throw the hero I love into a shambling, sketchy story with virtually no plot arc and a forced love interest.

Oct 13, Jennifer rated it liked it Shelves: I found this enjoyable, and I like that Catherine Jinks doesn't write at an extremely low reading level, even though this book is oriented towards kids. The book gets a little boring at times, especially when Jinks spend a lot of paragraphs talking about hacking which is definitely not as entertaining as, but definitely more realistic than, hacking montages in movies or TV series.

However, I enjoyed it, mostly because I can't help but root for Cadel, who's trying to be a good person, despite l I found this enjoyable, and I like that Catherine Jinks doesn't write at an extremely low reading level, even though this book is oriented towards kids. However, I enjoyed it, mostly because I can't help but root for Cadel, who's trying to be a good person, despite literally being raised to be an evil genius.

I also love the way in which Jinks writes about how Cadel tries to figure out what to do in social situations.

Feb 13, Max added it. I always wished that I could be as smart a Cadel. But not have the same life. Imagine not knowing your parents, and evil people claiming you to be their son. Imagine been in constant surveillance, because any moment someone might try to kill you. Cadel is afraid, but also knows how to cope with the cops.

His skills in computers is amazing, and he might even prove the a fake gene mapping company is cheating clients out of their money. But the police cant find out. Because if they do, all Cadel ha I always wished that I could be as smart a Cadel. Because if they do, all Cadel has ever gotten at his new life, will be taken alway from him.

But this might be a good thing, because Prosper English, who claims to be Cadels dad, is an evil man and he has escaped jail in search of Cadel. Feb 02, Omkar K. This book was really good, but the main part where someone gets kidnapped, only lasts for about a couple chapters until a detective comes and saves him. Although the main part was late, the start of the story still kept me entertained, especially with Cadel joining Genius Squad, which ended up leading to all the action parts in the story.

The book had a good ending, but it left you in the dark about some things. It was really good!

I can't wait to start the next book!!! The characters are really interesting and the plot was so good as well. I feel like it has a great depth of emotional realism. Aug 28, sj rated it it was ok Shelves: I never give up on series, but I really can't be bothered to read the last one in this trilogy. It was boring and too long. But it was. Don't bother. Quite a gap between reading this one and the first book, so there's a decent chunk of stuff I don't remember. Cadel's real father is Chester Cramp, who runs Fountain Pharmaceuticals, another Darkkon corporation.

However, with Chester sitting in an American Jail. Cadel agrees to being adopted by Saul and Fiona, who happened to be getting married.

Saul finally finds out about Genius Squad, and though he is very upset that Cadel lied to him for so long, he agrees to let Genius Squad live on.

His reasoning for this, is that he believes that Genius Squad might just be their best chance of finding Prosper and bringing him down once and for all. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Find sources: Retrieved Children and Young Adult Literature portal. Retrieved from " https: Hidden categories: After school, for about three hours, Janan and Mace divided the computer between them.

Occasionally they did their homework on it, but mostly they just played mindless war games. During dinner, no one was allowed near the computer.

And afterwards, Leslie Donkin would usually spend a quiet evening writing emails, or pursuing his genealogy research over the Net. As a result, Cadel only had access to the computer for three hours a day, between twelve-thirty and three-thirty in the afternoon.

On weekends he sometimes managed four or five hours, if he woke up early. And he also spent as much time as he could on the library computers. Nevertheless, he felt deprived. Almost disabled. It was like walking around on crutches, or trying to peer through misty glass. That was why he had decided to build his own. Even more exasperating was the knowledge that the police could easily have given him a lift home.

There was no real need for him to stand around breathing in petrol fumes. Why should he have to suffer like this, just because his surveillance team were determined to be uncooperative? Though the drops were still light and scattered, a brooding mass of cloud to the south suggested that a storm was heading in his direction. Cadel wondered how far away it was.

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The walk home usually took about ten minutes; would he beat the downpour if he ran? Pulling up his collar, he set off at a rapid pace — but before he had even rounded the first street-corner, something caught his eye.

It was a computer monitor, sitting by the side of the road. Cadel had been vaguely aware of the forthcoming municipal council clean-up. He had noticed the piles of junk that had begun to accumulate on surrounding nature strips: But he had never expected to see discarded computer equipment.

Certainly not discarded computer equipment that appeared to be no more than four or five years old. He dashed over to the monitor, hoping that it might be accompanied by a keyboard, or even a hard-drive. Instead he found that it was sitting beside a length of cracked concrete pipe, a roll of dirty carpet, and a three-legged coffee table. An unmarked police car silver, this time was lurking some distance away.

The raindrops were pattering down more heavily. Quickly Cadel slipped off his denim jacket and draped it over the monitor. With a grunt and a heave, he lifted the unwieldy machine and began to stagger along, clutching it against his stomach. It was a dead weight. A grey-haired man with a seamed, pouchy face was sitting behind it.

He seemed to hesitate for a moment. You know the rules.

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He narrowed his eyes. Something in them must have unnerved the older man, because he frowned and adjusted his sunglasses. Go on. Instead he turned away, fuming. Then he trudged home through the rain, concentrating on geometric multigrid algorithms in a fierce attempt to disassociate himself from what he was actually doing. By gabbling on about something she might be interested in — like Laplace equations, for instance — he was able to distance himself from the whole embarrassing and undignified procedure.

It was ten past two. Cadel knew that he only had one hour and twenty minutes of on-line exploring left. There were more important things than lunch to worry about.

And then the doorbell rang. Cadel caught his breath. Please, he thought, let that be someone trying to sell cosmetics or charity chocolates. He clenched his teeth as Hazel waddled past him to answer the front door.

A murmur of voices soon reached his ears, followed by the sound of approaching footsteps. Three sets of footsteps. He looked up to see Hazel emerging from the hallway with two people behind her: The woman was small and slim, with extraordinarily thick, reddish, fly-away hair escaping from various combs and pins and loops of elastic.

The man was neat and wiry, with dark hair going grey, and sombre brown eyes. Cadel knew the woman: But he had never seen the man in his life before.

It was Hazel who spoke for him, assuring the newcomers that they were very welcome, and offering them a cup of tea — or perhaps coffee? We just need a few words with Cadel. In his room, perhaps? Cadel knew her well enough by now to realise that she was annoyed with someone. For a moment he studied her curiously, noting the flush on her chalky, freckled skin.

Then his gaze travelled to the man beside her, who was staring at Cadel in obvious surprise. The detective put out his hand, which Cadel took reluctantly.

When he nodded, she winced. I had a feeling it might be. So, with an aggrieved sigh, Cadel rose from his seat in front of the computer and led the way to his bedroom. Here there were only two places to sit: He felt ill at ease in his room, which still bore traces of its previous occupants: Nothing in the room had been chosen by Cadel, apart from the clothes in the wardrobe, the books under the bed and the monitor sitting on the floor.

Out of spare parts. Someone left it in the street! But the detective shook his head. You look so young to be building your own computer. I realise that. For one thing, she thought them unnecessary. For another, she was usually required to be with Cadel when they were conducted, since he had no family members to look after his interests.

Then I joined the police force here. He tried to imagine Mr Greeniaus wearing a red jacket and funny pants, sitting up on a horse. It was difficult. Except on parade. No wedding ring was visible. At that instant, someone knocked on the bedroom door. It creaked open a few centimetres.

But Hazel shook her head. I just wanted to say — I have to go and pick up Janan from school. Just help yourself. Before Mace comes home and scoffs the lot. Did you tell Hazel? He was still on his feet, regarding Cadel with a speculative expression in his dark eyes. To have someone poking around in your stuff. Saul was having a dig at him. Not even when I was seven years old.

And he turned on his cassette recorder. The phone had worked well for a number of years, but had abruptly stopped functioning after it was confiscated by the police. Cadel had never expected to see it again. One day, however, he had found himself sitting across a table from two representatives of the US National Security Agency, who had bombarded him with questions about his computer phone. Apparently something had gone wrong with the biological portion of its wiring.

Some kind of short-circuit had fused most of the DNA substrate. But the NSA was determined to replicate the original design, because DNA wiring would mean an end to many of the heat problems associated with highspeed processing. Though his understanding of the technology was incomplete, he had answered all the questions put to him. For that reason, perhaps, the NSA had kept asking them. Because originally he was supposed to be your therapist, is that right?

But mostly we would make broadcasts to Dr Darkkon. Cadel met his searching gaze with a look of surprise. Greeniaus continued. He had never given it much thought.

The kids you saw? He cast his mind back to the dark old terrace house where Prosper had received him; to Wilfreda, the strange receptionist with black teeth; to the morose-looking teenagers who had sometimes passed Cadel in the hallway, or on the stairs. She was quite tall and — you know — big. With greasy brown hair. She was wearing a school uniform. A kind of checked, pleated skirt. Most of whom are either dead or missing.

Anyone at all? It was the question of someone who was seriously searching for corroborative evidence. The grounds were so well kept. And there had to have been people who fixed things, because of all the explosions and break-ins and spontaneous combustion that happened.

Did you ever see him? I was told about him. What about them? His pounding footsteps and loud, high-pitched voice distracted Cadel for only a moment. There were more important things to concentrate on. And Vadi. The man with the gills. It was followed by a huge crash, and more wild yelling. The floor shook, as if from repeated blows. Fiona and Saul sat up straight, clearly alarmed.

Hazel gives him a chocolate bar for lunch every day at school, and when he gets home he puts the wrapper away in a special box. But Cadel discouraged her. Cadel listened for a moment. So did his companions. After a brief pause, they heard a faint murmur of voices. Chocolate-bar wrappers.

She must have found a replacement. Mr Greeniaus was frowning. He darted another quick look at Fiona — but when he spoke, he addressed Cadel. Is that correct? He followed me on a train once, too. I recognised him. There was an old guy who shuffled around with a toolbox.

I remember seeing him from the back. He was fat and grey-haired. Just his back? Did you ever see him at the Institute? But I mean, why would Prosper use a human fish just to clean his house? Or hearing any other names? Whereupon Mr Greeniaus grunted. The detective watched him. So did Fiona. Then Hazel knocked on his door again. Her voice sounded higher than usual. Her tight grey curls were uncharacteristically ruffled. Her small green eyes looked anxious.

Fiona gaped. As he stuffed his recording equipment back into the lining of his jacket, he revealed that he was wearing a shoulder-holster — with a pistol protruding from it. Fiona gasped when she saw the pistol. There are children in here! It was his most frightening memory, and it still haunted his dreams at night.

Something had prevented him from doing so. But Hazel was already in the kitchen with the police. Only Fiona Currey had remained behind. He fully expected to see Saul and Hazel conversing with a pair of familiar men in wrinkled suits and sunglasses.

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To his surprise, however, his surveillance team were nowhere in sight. Instead, two uniformed police officers — one male and one female — were standing by the fridge. From the description. I see. This child is a witness. That was a serious oversight.

Look — what would you say if I talked to your duty sergeant. He recognised the slap-slap-slap of large, rubber-soled feet galloping down the side path. Mace, he knew, was heading for the kitchen, kicking over flowerpots on his way.

Cadel tensed as he heard Mace thudding up the outside stairs. Even Saul Greeniaus had noticed the racket by this time. Hazel shuffled towards the back door, but Mace reached it first. He flung it open, exploded into the room, then stopped abruptly when he saw the uniformed police. His face reddened. Cadel was by now familiar with that dull rush of colour, which was always a bad sign.

When Mace was really, really angry, he always turned red. Then he would sit somewhere out of the way, swearing under his breath for perhaps ten minutes, before his rage erupted in a series of destructive acts. Cadel found himself edging closer to Saul Greeniaus. How are you, Thomas? She was small and stocky, with a hard-edged drawl and stiff blond hair cut short. Been going to school. Good on ya. He must have hurled his bag at the wall as he went, because there was a huge thud, followed by a rather nasty crunching noise.

Then a door banged at the other end of the house. The policewoman sniffed. Saul Greeniaus then accompanied the uniformed officers to their car, while Cadel, left alone in the kitchen, wondered what he should do about Mace. Mace was already in a foul mood; he would probably explode when he saw that his football boots were sitting under the pile of dirty sheets that Cadel had dumped on them.

To prevent Mace from trashing all his belongings, Cadel would have to keep an eye on the boy. Cadel considered his next move. The smartest tactic, he decided, would be to shut himself in his own bedroom for the rest of the day with something shoved against the door, perhaps.

Even if Mace set fire to the house, Cadel could always crawl out the window. Not that he really expected Mace to commit arson. But there was bound to be trouble of some kind, and Cadel was determined to stay well away from it.

As he made for the kitchen door, however, he found Fiona blocking his escape route. It was Saul Greeniaus, quietly re-entering the kitchen. Some kind of glitch. Are you finished with Cadel now? The detective must have shared this view, because he fixed Fiona with such an intent, questioning look that she was compelled to elaborate. Do you have a mobile phone? Or something similar. You should understand that by now. Perhaps it had something to do with Mace, and his toxic temper. Mace had already been there.

How am I supposed to use it now, when its guts are full of sugar? Though the police were long gone, Janan remained curled up under his bedclothes in a state of shock. She had left a message with his case worker. I have to defend myself somehow! He had been expecting another placid reminder that consensus was the best way of handling disputes.

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It took him a moment to realise that she must have heard certain stories about him. From Fiona, perhaps? Fiona was familiar with some of his background. She may have warned Hazel Donkin that her new foster-son could be very, very dangerous if sufficiently provoked. And Hazel had believed her. The police were the same. They were afraid of his high IQ.

Not to mention his warped upbringing. And the last thing Cadel wanted now was to ring any more alarm bells. Finally, after months of being as good as gold, he had begun to sense that Fiona, for one, no longer regarded him as a kind of human time bomb. He honestly believed that she liked him. If that happened, he would find himself back at square one. She looked relieved. She even managed a smile. When she spoke, however, her voice was still shaky.

A brief inspection had told him that the damage would be almost impossible to rectify. What right did that hulking great moron have to bully him like this? In the old days, he could have dealt with Mace quite easily. Mace was no different from a lot of mean-spirited kids who had paid for their bad treatment of Cadel over the years.

Oh, no. Back in high school, when various bullies had received their just deserts, no one had understood that Cadel was ultimately responsible. He had disguised his involvement far too well. He had planned his many acts of revenge so carefully that there was never any obvious link between himself and each peculiar sequence of events that resulted in the downfall of yet another foe.

Of course, Cadel had long ago rejected his murky past. Such petty, vindictive schemes were nothing to be proud of. Plotting variables was so much easier when your target lived in the same house, followed the same schedule, and used the same bathroom.

By the time he fell asleep, Cadel had devised a neat little scenario which, though it would hurt Mace cruelly, could not possibly be blamed on Cadel. A perfect crime, in other words. But when he woke up in the morning, he felt ashamed. Unfortunately, his good intentions came to nothing. As far as Cadel was concerned, they had been hostile acts. So he set about robbing Mace of his most prized possessions. Cadel had been forbidden to touch them, of course.

He knew, however, that Mace kept them near his bedroom window.

He also knew that their covers were very sticky, because Mace would often read them while he was eating sweets. Knowing all this, Cadel could make some fairly detailed calculations, using a series of complicated probability algorithms that he had developed himself.

Though his method was by no means perfect, it had served him well enough in the past. And this time, too, it was successful. Once these two steps were accomplished, Cadel had no further active role to play in the process.

He could simply sit back and watch events unfold, from a discreet vantage point. He had a while to wait. Hazel never collected any discarded clothes from the bedrooms until she had finished her data-entry work, at about midday.

He could have gone out, but it was threatening to rain — and besides, he wanted to be on hand. It was very, very important that the timing was right. Any variations would have to be dealt with at short notice. By delaying Hazel with a brief talk, for instance. Cadel found it hard to concentrate. On one of these trips, he noticed something that made him do a double take.

Had he imagined that flash? Were his eyes playing tricks on him? He could hear her chatting to her sister in the kitchen. For a while he squatted, motionless, waiting for another hint. Another clue. It came just as Hazel appeared in the kitchen doorway: An invader. So he wandered back to his room, where he occupied himself with mental arithmetic until the moment of truth arrived. She must have seen at once that the dirt-bike magazines were crawling with ants; there was a shriek, followed by a slapping noise that may have been the sound of Hazel hitting the magazines with a dirty sock or a pair of underpants.

As Cadel had predicted, she then rushed back out to the laundry, where she grabbed a can of flyspray. Here she was probably planning to shake and swat the infested journals until every ant clinging to them had dropped into an empty flower bed. But she was halfway to the door when the phone rang — at which point she set her burden down on the hall table so that she could pick up a nearby telephone receiver.

Cadel, who was watching from behind his bedroom door, heaved a sigh of relief. His calculations so far seemed to be panning out. Apparently Janan was throwing a tantrum because Hazel had not packed his chocolate bar. A nougat bar had been substituted for the chocolate one. It had happened once before, when Hazel herself had mixed up the packed lunches. This time, though not to blame, she was nevertheless forced to fix the problem.

And in all the commotion, she forgot about the pile of magazines left on the hall table. Cadel had been counting on this memory lapse. Cadel checked the relative positions of these two bundles with a measuring tape. He was satisfied with what he found. He was waiting for Leslie to return home from his early shift. Unless this happened while Hazel was out, the whole plan would be ruined.

Nervously, Cadel glanced at his watch. He was far too concerned about the success of his scheme. He had been shocked — even appalled — to discover how much garbage had accumulated there before his arrival. For months, spam had been piling up among the meagre trickle of personal messages, because neither Hazel nor Leslie knew how to filter or erase unwanted mail.

It had been like walking into a house and finding that the entire building was piled high with rotten food and old newspapers. Cadel had never seen anything like it before. His offer to clean out the trash had been met with heartfelt gratitude. Hazel had even given him her password — apparently without a second thought.

This too had appalled Cadel. Not even Sonja. The sender had a fairly innocuous address, and was probably harmless, but Cadel remembered the blinking light on the hard-drive.

Would it be wise to proceed cautiously? Perhaps not. He found it hard to believe that there was any connection, but all the same. He could feel it, instinctively. A submerged drag on the system. As if it was ever so slightly preoccupied.

Like Mace and Janan, it had been badly treated early on — exposed to all sorts of nasty, marauding behaviours — and the results were hard to fix. Cadel had done his best. But still he felt uneasy, wandering around behind a wall that had been breached so many times. That was why he so badly needed a new computer. Fortunately, Leslie arrived home dot on time. Leslie was a short man, but he had plenty of bulk.

Though mild-mannered, soft-spoken and middle-aged, he still carried enough muscle to intimidate a boy like Mace. The trouble was that Leslie worked such long shifts. And was always so tired at the end of them. There was a thump as Leslie set down his plastic case. A clunk as his keys hit polished wood. He seemed to be thinking. An endless slab of text pleaded with him to sample its wares: Our site tops incompetent competitor sites. Suddenly Leslie picked up the pile of dirt-bike magazines, dumped them in the recycling bin, and lifted the bin from the floor.

Then he lurched back outside with it, leaving Cadel almost light-headed with relief. So far, so good. Cadel scrolled down the rambling advertisement, trying to calm himself. Focus, he thought. Just focus. Why does this text feel so wrong? Every customer account receives discount specials.

Moments later, Leslie returned. Hang on a minute, he thought. And he reached for a pen. So sample our offering today and download it. He was scribbling down the first letter of every word in what was, he felt certain, a simple acrostic. It read: Crosswords, acrostics, diagnostics, enigmas, labyrinths, letter-locks, e-cards, tangrams, sotadics, ciphers, anagrams, target, codes, hackenbush, unending puzzles.

Click on mindbenders. And there, at last, was the address of the site. Cadel wondered what a sotadic might be. He was almost tempted to find out. Such a virus would mean that her anti-virus programs were malfunctioning — or too antiquated. And since Cadel was responsible for writing some of these programs, he found the idea of a breach very alarming indeed.

Only an exceedingly nasty little germ could have slipped past his scans. Unless the virus had been lying low, disguised as something else?