Virals

by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs

Adventure has always been in fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan’s blood. After all, she is the niece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. So when she moves to middle of nowhere Morris Island, South Carolina, to live with a marine biologist dad she’s never known, Tory does the best she can to adjust to her new life.

There she meets a group of local kids who are just as “Sci-Phile” as she is—science geeks who’ve grown up exploring the backwoods marsh-lands of nearby Loggerhead Island. But there’s something strange going on at the Loggerhead Research Institute… maybe even something deadly. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them—and their DNA—forever.

Now, with newly heightened senses and canine-quick reflexes, they’ll have to solve a cold-case murder that’s suddenly become very hot … that is, if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent. Fortunately, they are now more than friends.

They are a pack.

They are VIRALS.

A gunshot is the loudest sound in the universe.

Especially if the bullet is coming at you.

Crack! Crack!

Bullets slashed the forest canopy. Overhead, monkeys screeched and scattered.

Down below, I ran.

Heedless, legs hammering, I pounded through the undergrowth. Mind blank. Terrified.

Find the path!

Shapes zoomed by in the black. Trees. Bushes. Startled creatures. Gun-toting killers? I couldn’t tell. Heart thumping, I barreled forward in a dead sprint. Blind.

A root snagged my foot and down I went. Pain detonated in my leg.

Get up! Get up! Get up!

Something large zipped past in the darkness. I froze.

“Ben?!?!”

No reply. Sudden stillness.

Waiting here means death. Move!

Scrambling to my feet, I bolted into the night.

Was Hi up ahead? Shelton had gone left, darting into the foliage.

Please be Ben that ran by me!

We hadn’t had a plan. Why would we? No one knew we were here, or what we were doing.

Who the hell is trying to shoot me?

Exhausted, I gulped air.

Later, after the change, I could have run forever. Fast. Tireless. My perfect vision piercing the night’s shadows. Not gasping, lost in the shapeless dark.

These thugs wouldn’t have stood a chance, whoever they were. Not with our powers unleashed. My pack would have savaged them. Planned without speaking a word. Stalked them like they were kittens. Then taken out the trash.

But not that night. I was in trouble. Fading. Scared to death.

So I ran. Hard. Branches clawed my limbs and ripped my skin. Finally, I hit open space.

The beach! I was close.

A voice hissed from the void.

“Tory! Over here!”

Shelton.

Thank God.

In the starlight, I could just make out the boat. Vaulting the railing, I dropped into the bow and turned to scan the shoreline. Clear. For the moment.

“Where’s Hi? Ben?” I whispered, panting, sweat-drenched. I was definitely on tilt.

“I’m here.” Ben eased from the darkness. A quick bound and he was in, sliding behind the controls. Keys in hand, he paused, afraid to turn the engine. Afraid not to.

Hi was still out there.

We sat, tensed, waiting. My courage leaked from my shoes.

Come on, Hi. Show. Please, oh please, oh please, oh please

. . .

Kirkus Starred Review
Click here to read it on the Kirkus website

From the opening sentence to the last word, readers will be absorbed in Tory Brennan’s world. Tory (the niece of Temperance Brennan, the star of the author's Bones series for adults) has just moved in with the father she never knew she had. It isn’t easy adjusting, but Tory’s “sci-phile” friends provide plenty of support. They swim, fish, pal around and explore the islands just off the coast of Charleston, S.C. When Tory finds a dog tag that’s been buried for decades, it triggers an adventure that leads to hidden experiments, a stolen wolf-dog hybrid puppy and a long-unsolved murder. But Tory can’t give up—not even after she and her friends succumb to a mysterious infection that twists their senses and gives them uncontrollable new talents. When the only doctor who might cure them is murdered, they are on their own. Reichs has found a pitch-perfect voice for Tory that will ring true with today’s teens, capturing an entirely new audience. Do we really have to wait until summer of 2011 for the next one?