Bodyguard – Target by Chris Bradford

 

 

Ash Wild is the most successful teen rockstar in history. Millions of fans adore him. But one fanatic wants him dead.

Surf champion and top bodyguard recruit Charley Hunter is assigned to protect the superstar on his sell-out US tour. But Ash isn’t pleased to discover his new bodyguard is a girl.

Faced with a growing number of death threats, several suspicious accidents and an unruly rockstar, Charley has her work cut out keeping Ash alive on the tour. How will she spot a killer in a crowd of 50,000 screaming fans?

The Bodyguard series so far introduced us to Connor, who is plucked from his normal teenage life to become a member of Buddyguard, a covert organisation employed to protect all manner of clients from millionaires to politicians, with one difference – they are trained to protect people their own age or younger, to blend in with them and use their advantage in looking like any other kid in protecting their client.   Target is a prequel and also marketed as a new entry point in the series.   The main character here is Charley, a tough new recruit only a few missions into her career.   All of the events take place before any mention of Connor.

Charley is thrown into the maelstrom that is Ash Wild’s life on tour; a life of constant movement and of being on edge 90% of the time.   Charley and the rest of Ash’s bodyguard team are faced with all the elements that make up the modern celebrity life: paparazzi, social media, relentless scrutiny, jealousy and obsessive fans.   The story seems more relatable to the reader even than previous Bodyguard books, since this is the kind of narrative that plays out every day in the real world, and we are constantly exposed to it through the internet and TV.

Bradford handles the tension well throughout, coming up with all manner of threats to Ash’s life, with cliff-hangers strewn across the story.   Charley is written well as a character.   We see her early days before Buddyguard and it gives an insight into her motivations in life and her personality.   She is a likeable character and I found myself rooting for her to succeed in an adult (and man’s) world in winning over Ash and his band, and in getting to the bottom of where and who the threat is coming from.

As a standalone, it’s not necessary to have read any of the previous books.   Also, the whole story comes at an excellent time, holding up a mirror to our ever-growing obsession with celebrity culture, showing the lengths that people will go to, to emulate, maim or kill their heroes.

The only issue, and I won’t spoil it here, is that Charley as we know her in the first few books of the series, is quite a different character than she is here and a reader of the series will be waiting for something to happen in this book.

Having said that, Target is a fast-paced read and there’s enough action to keep fans of the series more than happy.   There’s more to come in the series and it’s one to watch.

 

 

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