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The bus moved off again. I felt the lurch as it turned sharp left into the depot, the rackety sound of its engine bouncing off the cavern walls. In quick succession after that came a squeak of brakes, a slam of the cab door as the driver hopped down, a shout of welcome, footsteps - and, finally, an eerie quiet.

 "Keep down, there'll be more to come yet," Motto whispered, reminding me of what he'd gleaned from his timetable studying.

 For the next twenty minutes we stayed tucked where we were, hardly breathing, as other buses came in from their various routes, their engines revving as they were reversed into position, then turned off for the night.

Above us, through the rear window, I could see the dome-shaped lights dangling from the depot ceiling.

 Motto checked his watch. "Not long now," he said.

 Finally, I heard the clanking of the metal shutter doors being rolled down. Footsteps echoed, then came a lower rumbling as the concertina panel between the depot building and the overflow area was wheeled shut. The dome lights flicked off. A door clicked shut.

 In the silence Motto gave a hiss of triumph. "Pete! We are in, kid!"

"A hard hitting, but subtle novel with two clever twists at the end of the story" -  The Guardian


"It's a taut thriller, beautifully written, with each character clear in the mind of the reader. A terrific read, quite un-put-downable. Give it to the boys who don't read and see if they can resist it." - Bookshop


"Excellent story with a brilliant cover" - School Librarian


"A tense, tight thriller which explores uneasy friendships between leaders and followers and the charismatic allure of the gang"  - Books for Keeps


"The book kept me wondering what would happen next - especially the ending, which I didn't expect!" - Teen Titles

Writers are always asking themselves strange questions.


One of mine was: why do the best friends you have at primary school so rarely end up as your best friends in secondary school?


Another was: Who sprayed the graffiti on the walls beside the railway lines leading into Waterloo station - and what made them risk their lives do it?


Somehow this pair of questions (and my answers to them) became intertwined.

The outcome was TAG.

Shortlisted for the Norfolk Libraries Teenage Book Award


(c) Michael Coleman 2020

tag cover
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