The Peco incident by Des Hunt

The Peco incident is set on the Otago Peninsula around the small settlements of Harwood and Portobello, about 40 minutes from the centre of Dunedin. Having lived on the Peninsula during my high school years, I immediately felt at home with all the places Des Hunt describes – and boy does he describe them well!

This story is about two boys: Danny, who lives with his family in Harwood, and Danny’s cousin Nick who is visiting from the North Island. Danny is unsure about the visit, especially once he finds out that Nick has ‘forgotten’ his calming medication, Ritalin.

On their first day together the boys visit the Portobello Cafe and discover a disturbingly large amount of dead birds, mainly swallows, on the ground. The boys become curious and start to investigate more and soon the horror of the Peco egg farm is exposed and a strain of the bird flu is spreading like wildfire amongst the local bird population. Is it deadly for humans too? And what do Scottish tourists Brio and Roost have to do with it all?

The strengths of this gripping story are in the relationship between Danny and Nick, and in the suspense cleverly created against the stunning backdrop of the Peninsula and Tairoa Heads. Des Hunt is onto a winner here – by chapter 2 I was completely hooked!

As there are a couple of slightly ‘colourful’ words sprinkled through the book, I’d recommend it for ‘Senior Fiction’ and age 11+.

Ms. Hill 🙂


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