Author: Kathy Reichs
ISBN/ASIN: 9781595143426 (arc)
Release Date: November 2, 2010
Rating: 4 Stars
Kathy Reichs has pulled three cherries to a jackpot with Virals-her debut young adult adventure tale about an intrepid teen that stumbles upon a cold case murder in her backwater turf.
Tory Brennan, niece of Bones fame Temperance Brennan is not happily enjoying her new home. Not really. Her father Kit is fumbling at fatherhood, and his girlfriend Whitney is trying to turn tomboy Tory into a debutante.
Largely Isolated at a research-oriented facility on Morris Island, Tory has had to make due with the teens of other scientists stationed at the Loggerhead Island Research Institute or LIRI. But she’s become close to her rag tag entourage. Hi, Ben, Shelton and Tory even have their own Civil War bunker which doubles as their honeycomb hideout. Everyday they are boated into exclusive Bolton Prep in Charleston, where they have to endure being referred to as the “boat people”. That is something she could almost deal with if she didn’t have an impossible crush on Chance Claybourne.
Teenage angst aside, that is not what’s singular about Virals…Reichs has thrown the whole kitchen sink into this affair and it works: a cotillion, human remains, murder, assassins, super powers like telepathy and acute senses, a wolf/dog hybrid, a viral contagion let loose, mobsters working for a senator, secret pharmaceutical experimentation-Virals has it all.
Reichs has demonstrated that she has not succumbed to the quick sand trap of dumbing down YA novels…a mis-step that has foiled other debut authors before. Virals is smart with sassy Tory Brennan manning the helm. It feels more like a YA intrigue with Reichs, Michael Crichton-esque techno smarts and an action packed Clive Cussler feel to it with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. It is completely out of the box fix and a welcome change.
With Reichs just hinting at the DNA shifting powers that the gang has gotten I expect that the next installment of the Virals series will be more action packed than ever. Something I am entirely looking forward to.
A Fiendishly Bookish Review (and one grumpy cat).