Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Victoria "Tory" Brennan is the great-niece of the world famous Dr. Temperance Brennan, the world famous forensic anthropologist who helps identify bodies and put crimes to rest.  They have only met once in the six months Tory has been living with her dad, but they hit it off straight away - after all Tory is as much a scientist as her famous relative.  Moving to remote and lonely Morris Island in South Carolina after the death of her mother, Tory is just settling into a routine with the father she never knew, and dealing with the wonders of going to a super preppy high school as a "charity case" when all hell breaks loose in her life. 

One night on Loggerhead Island, the island that belongs to the University where Tory's dad works, Tory and her three friends Ben, Hi, and Shelton are exposed to a strain of canine parvovirus that is about to jump the species barrier and make some rather drastic changes in their lives.  As if the exposure to the virus and the side effects are not enough, Tory and her friends have uncovered something that was supposed to remain buried, something that puts all their lives at risk.  They weren't meant to discover the body, they weren't meant to uncover a murder, and they definitely weren't meant to discover the identity of the killer. 

When I picked this up I was not sure what to expect, especially after seeing a review that upheld the value of the book in dripping sarcastic tones.  To begin with it felt ind of "heavy" seeming to get bogged down in the scientific detail of naming objects and items, rather than focusing on the story.  I don't know if you get used to it over time, or if the details blended more into the story as it moved along, but the story soon overtakes the nagging little details and jumps in full-force for a story that twists together the action/thriller/science fiction/fantasy genres into a neat little package of good reading. 

There are only a few series/authors that blend together these genres in this way - James Patterson with his Maximum Ride series is the most obvious, but there is also a certain amount of comparison with series by Anthony Horowitz, Malcolm Rose, and Joe Craig.  This was a fantastic read and although the 400+ pages was a bit of a commitment, like Patterson Reich's has chosen to use short, punchy chapters that make the action move at a fast pace.  This is obviously the first book in the series, and it will be interesting to see if the series keeps it momentum going, or if it burns itself out quite quickly. 

If you like this book then try:
  • Maximum ride: the angel experiment by James Patterson
  • Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
  • Jimmy Coates: killer by Joe Craig
  • Jordan Stryker: bionic agent by Malcolm Rose
  • Framed! by Malcolm Rose
  • The Frankenstein factory by A.J. Butcher

Reviewed by Brilla

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