Conspiracy 365: June

(Conspiracy 365: Book Six)

Gabrielle Lord

Kane Miller
June 2010, 185 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-935279-55-6

Genre: Young Reader
Subgenres: Thriller
Reviewed: 6/9/2010

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

Book Cover


1 June

Big River State Forest

12:00 am

Everything fizzed and flickered out.

The force of the crash-landing had shaken up every cell in my body. I was trembling all over, but my arms and legs felt numb and helpless. I couldn’t see a thing--I was surrounded by darkness . . .

Darkness and smoke!

The fumes were filling the cabin, fast. I could feel the small space I was in warming up. My blood pumped, driven by panic. I thrashed my hands around, still trying to find the lever that opened the canopy. I had to get out before I choked to death!

I fumbled around, coughing from the smoke. Something in the undercarriage collapsed, sending the wrecked jet lurching. I fell forward, slamming the windscreen hard with my head. A small crack zigzagged across in front of me, but the thick glass remained otherwise intact.

Then came a whoomp from the rear of the aircraft, followed by the crackling of flames--the Orca had fully ignited! Intense heat engulfed me and my desperation soared. I instantly pushed myself back into my seat, brought my knees up and kicked at the canopy with all my power. I kicked again and again until it opened a few inches, letting the night air gush in. I gulped it down as the fire behind me intensified.

I kept kicking until finally, I heard a snap. The canopy yielded and I bashed my way out, coughing and spluttering, dragging myself and my backpack out of the cabin.

I rolled to the ground, shot to my feet, and then raced away from the burning wreckage and into the darkness.

12:04 am

After a few seconds I stopped running and looked back. The Ormond Orca was a mass of flames and some nearby trees had caught fire.

As I stood there, mesmerized, watching it all burn in blurry-eyed shock—amazed that I was still alive--the burning Orca buckled, then exploded! The force of the blast was so strong that when it hit me it threw my body to the ground, and I almost collided headfirst with the thick trunk of a tree.

I ducked my head just before a torn panel of the Orca wing hurtled past me and sliced like an axe blade into the tree trunk, just inches above me.

12:06 am

From where I was lying, I could see the jet’s burning body in the moonlight. Steaming debris was strewn all over the smoky area surrounding what was left of Great-uncle Bartholomew’s Orca. If I’d wanted to alert the authorities to where I was, I couldn’t have done a better job.

My ears were buzzing and the sound around me was all muff led. I felt around for my backpack, grabbed the strap and pulled it to me. My shoulder throbbed from the bug extraction.

Face-down in the dirt, my damaged body tried to recover and regain control. I couldn’t help thinking of Bartholomew and his fighting spirit. It was my fault he was dead. Sumo and Kelvin shouldn’t have involved an innocent person, but I shouldn’t have either. How much longer could he have lived if I hadn’t shown up and brought so much danger with me? He could have had another ten years with his life’s work, the Ormond Orca. He spent so long building it--and then it took me just one flight to completely obliterate it all . . . My uncle and his airplane crashed on the same day. And they’d both gone up in flames.

"I’m so sorry," I whispered.



Callum "Cal" Ormond escapes from crashing and burning in the Ormond Orca. Fleeing through the forest with Oriana de la Force's men, Kelvin and Sumo, behind him, Cal ducks into a store in the town of Big River. The store has a couple of old computers and Cal logs on and starts telling Boges what has been going on via his blog. Cal informs his best friend about his uncle, the Ormond Jewel, and his ancestor, Black Tom Butler. Boges guesses that Cal's dad hinted that Cal needed to research Black Tom Butler because of the picture he drew of a butler holding an ace and a face card . . . a blackjack.

Cal hides out in the Waratah Scout Hall for a few days while search parties look for him. The news is reporting that Cal killed his uncle and stole his plane, which he crashed. Cal tries calling Eric Blair again, who he tried to call a few months ago, and Eric is still out from work. Eric was his father's colleague that may have gone to Ireland with him just before Cal's father got sick. Cal and Boges figure that something fishy is up since Eric has not been to work in months.

A few days later, Cal hops on a train and ends up back in the city where he used to live. Boges takes Cal to a friend's beat up trailer on an empty lot in the country. Since no one is living there, Boges suggests that Cal hang out there for a while. Earlier Cal had contacted Jennifer Smith and she sent to Boges the flash drive Cal's father left him. Boges and Cal check out the pictures on the flash drive of Cal's father in Ireland visiting ancient castles. They realize from looking at the pictures that Eric Blair must have taken them and come to the conclusion that they really need to find him.

A week or so later, Boges pays another visit to Cal at the trailer, but is followed by Sumo. Cal and Boges both escape by running evasively and then hiding in a clock tower. Boges leaves and Cal bumps into Griff. Griff seems to be rolling in money and tells Cal that if he ever needs anything, look him up.

Boges tells Cal about a place that his uncle cleans that is on the beach and going to be empty for six months while the owners are out of the country. The mansion is at Crystal Beach and Cal loves the place. He promises not to disturb anything in the house. He is happy to have a place with running water.

Boges and Cal guess that Sligo originally stole the Ormond Jewel from Cal's house way back in January. But Sligo has moved and Winter is reluctant to tell Cal where he is living now. Boges finds someone who knows where Sligo is, but wants $400 for the information. Cal contacts Griff and says that he needs to earn some money. Griff says that Cal can take home $500 if he helps with a job that night. But when Cal sees that they are going to carjack a woman's red car, he jumps in to defend her. After Griff and the other thugs flee, the woman, Belinda Quick, an attorney, who was grateful for Cal rescue, gives him a ride.

Cal and Boges finally figure out where Sligo is living and Cal convinces Repro to help him break into the house. Repro claims to be able to crack a safe and Cal wants to get the Ormond Jewel back. With Winter' s help, Cal and Repro make it onto the house and locate Sligo's safe. But will Repro be able to crack the safe before Sligo and his gang of thugs return?

Conspiracy 365: June is the sixth thrilling book of twelve in the Conspiracy 365 series written by Gabrielle Lord. This book is intended for young readers 10 and up.



Conspiracy 365: June answers a few, but not many, of the questions Cal has had for so long. There are new puzzles to be solved and Cal is getting worried that he is running out of time because of the December 31st deadline. He also learns that the heir to the Ormond Singularity must be 16 years of age or older. If the heir dies before his 16th birthday, whatever benefits the Ormond Singularity might bring reverts to the next of kin in the bloodline. Is Cal the heir? If Cal is the heir and he dies, does that mean that his uncle or his sister is next in line?

Gabrielle Lord continues to write exciting and fast-paced books in the Conspiracy 365 series. The quick pace of the story and the action sequences make me want to sit up and cheer, "Run, Cal, run!" All I know is that I am hoping the Cal can figure out all this Ormond Singularity stuff in the next six months. He has already used up half of the year and has discovered a few answers to the clues his father left, but still has many more to solve. And if he has to go to Ireland for more answers, how in the world is he going to do that?

I find as I read each new book in this series, and get to the next inevitable cliffhanger on the last page, I want the next book right away. This series reminds me of the old radio adventure shows of the 1940's that I have heard about. My father has mentioned how they always ended in a cliffhanger and listeners had to wait for a week for the next exciting episode. That is what Conspiracy 365 is. It is an old-time radio action-adventure show put down on paper for kids of today. And after 60 plus years, this format still works . . . and works well.

Overall, Conspiracy 365: June is another exciting chapter in the most electrifying year of Cal Ormond's life. Male young readers will especially enjoy this series. If they are anything like me, they will be chomping at the bit waiting for the next book to be published. I wonder what secrets Cal will solve in the next chapter of his life in Conspiracy 365: July? I cannot wait to find out.

I rated this book an 8½ out of 10.

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