Code

by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Tory Brennan, the great-niece of Dr. Tempe Brennan, and the Virals return for a third thrilling adventure on Loggerhead Island.

The Virals are put to the ultimate test when they find a geocache containing an ornate puzzle box. Shelton decodes the cipher inside, only to find more tantalizing clues left by “The Gamemaster”. A second, greater geocache is within reach – if the Virals are up to the challenge. But the hunt takes a dark turn when Tory locates the other box – a fake bomb, along with a sinister proposal from The Gamemaster.

Now, the real game has begun: another bomb is out there – a real one – and the clock is ticking.

There was a rumble, followed by a series of booms. I turned to see dust billowing from every window.
“Holy crap!” Shelton panted. “Did Hi blow up the castle?”
“No.” Ben’s voice was tight as he peered back at the fortress. “The walls are still standing. Something else must’ve happened.”
“Good God.” Hi’s voice shook as he pointed the opposite direction. “Look.”
My gaze followed Hi’s finger. Across the harbor. Downtown.
A pillar of smoke was rising from Battery Park. Below it, trees were burning like torches soaked in pitch. As I stared in horror, sirens began to wail.
“You don’t think…” Hi trailed off.
No one responded.
But I knew. My gaze dropped to the iPad, waiting.
In moments a new message appeared onscreen: Understand?
Two options took shape below the question: a white circle with gold writing, and a black square lettered in red.
The white circle read: “Yes. Time to play The Game.”
The black square read: “No. I need another demonstration.”
The image of a stopwatch formed. Began counting down from ten.
A hollow feeling welled in my gut.
Nine. Eight. Seven
“Guys,” I whispered, “I don’t think this is a joke.”
I held up the iPad.
Six. Five. Four
Hi paled. Shelton swallowed. Ben clenched his fists.
The Gamemaster’s warning flashed in my mind.
Accept my challenge and complete The Game, or innocents will die.
“We have no choice,” I said quietly.
The boys nodded.
Three. Two
Feeling helpless, I pressed the white button…
We’d become pawns in a madman’s game.

Kirkus Review
Click here to read it on the Kirkus website

In this third Virals thriller, the focus is on Tory Brennan (niece of Temperance Brennan, hero of Reichs’ Bones books for adults) and her friends as they continue to explore their special wolf powers, acquired by accident but growing stronger every day.

Tory would like nothing better than to spend time with her friends prowling the barrier islands of Charleston, S.C. It’s too bad her dad’s irritating, socially conscious girlfriend insists on having Tory make her debut at this year’s cotillion, an event that holds no interest for this 14-year-old tomboy. Escaping to participate in a new game with her friends seems like a lark, as they uncover their first cache in what appears to be a treasure hunt. But things turn serious when each successive discovered cache turns more and more dangerous, putting not just Tory and her friends at risk, but their families as well. It’s a race against time to find the self-proclaimed Gamemaster and put a stop to this deadly game before an oncoming hurricane strikes Charleston, wiping out his tracks forever and setting him free to play his fatal game again…and again. More than just a Bones Jr., more than just an exploration of heightened natural abilities, this series mixes thrills with timeless coming-of-age themes, teasing the intellect with well-drawn characters and keeping the pages turning with a well-tuned pace.

Another successful adventure.