Saturday, May 14, 2011
"Virals", by Kathy Reichs
Book 1 of the new series featuring Tory Brennan
This novel is written with young adults in mind, the story is told by Tory Brennan the 14 year old niece of anthropologist Temperance Brennan, the well-known protagonist in Kathy Reichs' adult series "Bones". The story is not complicated and does not bog done with tech talk although some is used to stimulate young minds in the science of forensic. Ms. Reichs has added a touch of science fiction, supernatural elements and humour into her mystery to appeal to a younger segment of readers.
The story starts with Tory moving in with her father on Morris Island, S.C. after her mother's death. She has trouble adapting to her new surroundings in an elite private school but fortunately, it is her love for science that creates a bond with three boys who are science geeks much like herself.
One day, Tory finds an Arm Forces identification tag (dog tag) that is old and almost impossible to read and becomes obsessed with finding its owner. Tori and her three new friends (aka the Pack) break into the university lab to clean the tag. The Pack's curiosity is heightened when the name on the tag reveals a link to a decade old missing person, a suspected murder that someone has been working hard to cover -up for years. Tory and her friends use their smarts and new found ability to uncover the truth......
As a side plot, while in the university lab, the "Pack" also looks for clues to the whereabouts of a missing wolf/dog and stumble upon a restricted part of the lab, where questionable experiments are being conducted. To their surprise they find the dog in a quarantine section and unknowingly to them become infected by a strain of canine parvovirus which slowly invades their bodies and modifies their DNA, changing their lives forever.....
This novel is quite engaging even for adults. It was hard at first to adjust to the choppy narrative, but once into it, the tale proceeded beautifully into a captivating mystery with a different twist. Tory, is a smart cookie, kind of a modern day Nancy Drew, a smart and loveable protagonist. The boys behave like boys and adults are perceived as un-hip and coming from another planet. This novel has a cliff-hanger ending and I can honestly say I even enjoyed it more than some of the tedious "Bones" novels.
I think this novel will appeal to the Young and the Young at heart.