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Escape from Shadow Island

(Max Cassidy #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  500 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
"'My mum killed my dad, then dragged his body all the way along the beach . . . I don't believe a word of it'"


Max Cassidy is a teenage escapologist, so good he's nicknamed the Half-pint Houdini. His father disappeared two years ago and his body has never been found. His mother is now serving a life sentence for her husband's murder.

Max's mission to learn the truth about
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Walden Pond Press (first published July 2nd 2009)
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Rating details
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Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-reading
In this book Max must infiltrate and escape shadow island to find his father, free his mom, and free his friends.

I liked the book because I thought it was exiting to hear about his strategies of escape.

I think you would like it if you are interested in adventure and Intensity.
Zach A.
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Escape From Shadow Island:
When There’s No Hope Of Success, Why Even Try?
The next Harry Houdini. The greatest escapologist in the past 10 years. The boy wizard. Max Cassidy has been described as all of those things, but he has a blemish on his reputation. His mom is in jail for the next 18 years for the murder of his father. Only Max, his mother, and Consuela, the Cassidy family aide know that his mother never killed his father. This takes place in Paul Adam’s novel, Max Cassidy; Escape From Sha
Tyler Togstad
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Personal Response:
This book was very good. The story was incredibly easy to predict, but the author does a great job of covering this up with the action parts of the book. Because of these action scenes, this is probably one of my favorite shorter books. It shows that simplicity and good character development make the book, not the crazy depth the small details have. Sometimes it's nice to not have to decode a secret language to understand a book. I know that was some insane exaggeration, but y
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I received this book on Friday and was sooo excited to read about an escapologist that I started it right away and the story was so brilliant that I read it in a day! I couldn't put the book down and I thought it is a fantastic idea for a series!

Okay, so I might need to add "don't do this at home" for the kids and all that!
(there's a disclaimer in the first pages of the book and I literally jumped to read what they meant - I'm one tough cookie that way)

The idea of this book is such sheer brillia
Nov 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book feels it is necessary to explain what the definition of “implode” is, and than 20 pages later uses the word “soporific” without any explanation. I don't know if the author thinks he is addressing smart children or dumb adults. This thriller revolves around a teenage boy whose father is murdered and his mother is accused of the crime and put in jail. This seems to be a common theme; this is the second book I've read this summer with this plot (the first is Nothing to Lose by Alex Flinn ...more
Irvington Public Library Teens
Max performs as a 14-year-old escape artist, which is a good thing because his parents can't earn money. His dad is a legendary escape artist who mysteriously disappeared in Santo Domingo two years ago. Max's mother is in prison for murdering his dad, but Max believes she is innocent. After a mysterious stranger comes to Max, saying he knows the truth about his parents, non-stop action/mystery begins! I want to read the sequel "The Jaws of Death" when it is published in August, 2011. -- Steve Fo ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-reading
Max is a 14-year-old boy who is trying to find his supposedly "dead" father, and get his mother out of jail for a crime she didn't commit. I liked this book because there was a lot of action and suspense, and I would recommend this book to people who enjoy action and mysteries.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nathan B
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is very good. It's is about a boy named Max who is a very good escapologist like father. Then all of a sudden he disappears and Max has to find out what happened to him. There is a lot of action is this book, the action never died down. There is also a lot of mysteries that max has to solve from how his dad dispersed to who is this mystery man. I recommend this book to anyone who likes not stop action, suspense, and thrilling events.
Melana Carlton
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was really good and fun to read. Mystery books like these really pull me into the story, and it's like I'm living the scene. In Escape from Shadow Island, Max's mom was convicted of Max's dad's death and was sent to prison for 20 years. Max uncovers the secret of his fathers death and proves that his mother is innocent. The book was really exciting and thrilling, it was action packed and was really dramatic.
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Young Teens or Teens
This book is amazing. It has suspense, action, and murder but still good for a young teen. I'm always looking for murder mystery books that are age appropriate for me because that is what I like. Most of them are adult books but this one is perfect.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
When you suddenly realize that you're holding your breath because Max's in trouble is because you're reading a good book. A great adventure exceptionally narrated.
Mar 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Max Cassidy, a brave, young, and at 14 years old, is the worlds foremost escape artist. Learned by his father, Alexander Cassidy, as he was growing up. He taught his son the physical skills that his job needed. These skills were strength, suppleness, agility, and breath control. In Santo Domingo 2 years ago, Max's father, mom, and his fathers assistant traveled to do a show. While Max was in France for a school field trip, something very bad happened in Santo Domingo. When Max got home his whol ...more
Nov 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Give credit to Paul Adam for making the ending a full on of action, people!

What came to mind was Artemis Fowl while reading this book. I know I shouldn't compare books but my mind just did that itself. Even though Max was a fine enough main character it was odd. A 14 year old boy who cries? Okay so nothing wrong with that, that's fine, but being kind a wimpish like Artemis Fowl? What I did I like about Max was he was strong and knew how to do some ACTION. Like he could get out of handcuffs!

The b
Katieb (MundieMoms)
I think that Max Cassidy is a book tween and teens will enjoy reading. It's a quick murder, mystery read, as 14 yr old Max is out to prove that his Mum didn't kill his father, a world famous escape artist who was killed two years ago Santo Domingo. Now Max has followed in his father's shoes and can escape from most anything, even the unescapable Shadow Island.

In his quest to prove his Mum's innocence, Max travels from England to Santo Domingo to find answers. Max soon learns that finding his an
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
I think that Max Cassidy is a book tween and teens will enjoy reading. It's a quick murder, mystery read, as 14 yr old Max is out to prove that his Mum didn't kill his father, a world famous escape artist who was killed two years ago Santo Domingo. Now Max has followed in his father's shoes and can escape from most anything, even the unescapable Shadow Island.

In his quest to prove his Mum's innocence, Max travels from England to Santo Domingo to find answers. Max soon learns that finding his an
Jan 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book Escape From Shadow Island by Paul Adam is about this teenager who is fourteen years old named Max. As I read about who Max really is, I think this fellow Max is not a great person, but turns out to be adventurous. What surprises me is that Max's family is mostly gone and meaningless. His mother had been accused of murdering his father. When I continued reading on this story, it was pretty depressing to understand how the life of the character, Max was. With mystery, crime, and adventur ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Authorities tell Max his father's dead and his mother killed him. Not believing what he's been told, Max and his guardian, Consuela, have been trying to exonerate Max's mother.

One night, after his magic show act, Max is told by a stranger that his father is still alive, but the man is found murdered in his hotel room before Max can find out where he is. With only the knowledge of where his father was last seen, Max sets out to save his dad.

Corrupt cops, a p
Michaela Lake
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came from the local library. I read the first chapter standing by the shelf - literally couldn't put it down! So of course,it had to come home with me.

I like the way we are let in on some of the secrets of escapology. The main character was well drawn and some of the realities of life in show business neatly pointed out.

In my local library this was in the children's section. I think it would be better housed in the teens department, as there is some violence and graphic description, w
Adele Broadbent
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Max is an escapeologist (The Half Pint Houdini) – just like his father was before he died. But did he die, and why was his mum imprisoned for his murder? When a strange man visits him and tells him his father is alive and his mother framed, Max’s search for the truth begins. When the stranger is also murdered, Max knows he could be in danger but convinces his care giver (Consuela-his dad’s stage assistant) to take him back to Santo Domingo – the central American country where his father disappea ...more
Books Kids Like
Dec 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Max Cassidy's father disappeared two years ago, and his mother has spent the entire time in prison accused and convicted of his murder. Max lives in London with his guardian, Consuelo. He attends school and earns money performing as an escape artist--his father's profession. Max decides to return to Santo Domingo, a small country in Central America, where the supposed murder took place in hopes of finding clues that will clear his mother's name. What Max finds is a country ruled by corruption, a ...more
Sep 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is just another teen spy adventure novel, with a difference! Max Cassidy has no training in martial arts, rare languages, surveillance or any of the other skills teen spies have. But Max does have one thing going for him. He’s an Escapologist. Handcuffs, meters of thick chain, solid doors and even large stretches of icy water are no match for this mini Houdini. So when the Santa Domingo government convict Max’s mum of murdering his father, something he knows she didn’t do, Max sets off ...more
Sandra Stiles
Oct 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I believe any boy, and many girls, will love this book. Max Cassidy's mother is in jail accused of murdering her husband. Why? Her husband disappeared and she has been accused. Max doesn't believe his mother is guilty and sets out to prove her innocence. His belief is confirmed when a man approaches him and tells him is father is still alive and then the man turns up dead. Someone doesn't want anyone trying to find his father. Powerful people are going to a lot of trouble to keep Max and anyone ...more
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Paul Adam writes thrillers for adults, this is his first for children. Max, 14, is an escapologist like his father. His father was murdered 2 years ago, and his mother accused and convicted. A man finds him after one of his shows, tells him to meet him at a hotel because he has information that proves his mother's innocence. When Max gets there, the guy is dead, but has a sequence of numbers under his wig. Max, with the help of Consuela, follows this and other clues in the hopes of speeding up t ...more
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Max Cassidy is a 14 year old boy, and is a profesional escapologist, just like his dad. But 2 years ago his dad had a show in Santo Domingo and was supposidly killed by Max's mother and she was sent to prison for 20 years. After Max's show he meets a man Luis Lopez-Vega. He tells Max that his dad is alive and his mother inocent. So he goes down to Santo Domingo to investigate. When he starts snooping around he starts to think this offshore island fortress has somthing to do with his fathers disa ...more
C.O. Bonham
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked Alex Rider
This book is a must read for anyone who loved the Alex Rider adventures. Like Alex Rider, Max Cassidy is a fourteen year old boy with extraordinary talents and a very tragic back story.

Max's Mother is in jail for murdering his father and now his father's former magician's assistant is his legal guardian and Max must preform two magic shows a week in order to pay the mortgage.

After a mysterious stranger confronts Max after a show he sets out for south America to find proof that his mom is innoce
Josh Newhouse
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great quick read about a Young Escape artist on a quest to clear his mother of his father's murder! Loved it... but there were a couple hamhanded social action didactic moments and a weird, unresolved ending clearly leading to a sequel that pulled it down to 4 stars!

I wish the author lived in the USA so I could nominate for our state award list, but regardless a great book to get reluctant boys to read full of action, adventure, suspense, and a little lock-picking!

Makes me wonder how much of the
Douglas Larson
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is the first in a series about a boy who is a self-trained magician. In this story he goes about finding closure over the death of his father in the recent past. The protagonist doesn't quite believe that his father is really dead so he emabarks on a mission to discover the truth, i.e either confirm that his father is dead or find the truth about his dissapearance.
While I like the story overall, I found the prose style a bit awkward at times and some of the key plot points seem too contriv
WCPL Teens
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Max, age 14, is a leading teenage magician skilled in the srt of escape. He learned his craft from his father, who mysteriously disappeared from a small Central American country 2 years ago. Max's mother was tried and convicted of his murder, even though a body has never been found. When Max receives a message that his father is alive, he travels to Santo Domingo to learn the truth. But the truth is hard to find in a country run by corrupt officials. Not everything gets solved at the end - look ...more
I liked this, and was swept away by the story, which was about a young escapologist whose mother is in jail for the murder of his father. Max gets swept up by a few mysterious clues, then goes on a dangerous hunt for the truth. The villains are nefarious, the women play lovely supporting roles, but Max himself is a little stiff and awkward. Beyond that, I enjoyed the tale and would imagine many readers would be anxious for the sequel.
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Librarian's Note: There is more than one author with this name on Goodreads database.

Paul Adam has written eleven critically-acclaimed thrillers for adults. His books have sold widely around the world and have been translated into several foreign languages.

He is also the author of the Max Cassidy Series of thrillers for children.

Paul Adam has also written television and film scripts. He lives in

Other books in the series

Max Cassidy (3 books)
  • Jaws of Death (Max Cassidy, #2)
  • Attack At Dead Man's Bay (Max Cassidy #3)