"Gold Medal Threat" by Michael Balkind is a murder mystery set at the Olympic Games in Australia.
There is a minor connection to Balkind's previous novels in that Casey, one of the main characters is the son of Reid Clark, detective and sportsman in previous Balkind novels. Reid Clark runs a sports club called AllSports and some of the athletes at the Olympics have trained at that club back in the US.
Not long before the Olympics Casey and his friend Johnny overhear by chance parts of a conversation between two assassins about a murder plot aimed at one of the gymnasts. However, our heroes do not know which one of the athletes is targeted and they are not certain they could identify the assassins. The book becomes a battle against time to identify the victim and the murderers before it is too late.
This is aimed mostly at the young adult market but has is just as enjoyable for grown ups. I am far from the target age group but really loved the book. Balkind loves his sport and proves this with the knowledgeable description of some of the sports events.
The story moves along in a great pace, as befitting to young adult novels this book is less dramatic than its predecessors and more of a fun and adventure read then a gruesome or terrifying thriller. Having said that it is still great suspense, cleverly plotted and just like Balkind's other books entertainment.
The boys also get close to two young athlete girls, adding more interest and spice to this already colourful great book.
"Gold Medal Threat" confirms the author's versatility which was already shown in is second book, "Dead Ball", which so decisively was written in a different style to "Sudden Death". This must be my favourite book of the three published so far as it is at times very playful and light hearted.
The ball is back in Balkind's court to show where his writing takes us next. I will be waiting in anticipation. A well deserved 5 stars out of 5.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)