Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Virals

Virals

Kathy Reichs
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Penguin, 2010   ISBN: 978-1595143426

In the last year a great deal has changed in Tory’s life. Her mother was killed in a car crash and she came to South Carolina to live with Kit, a father she had never met before. Kit is a research scientist who works at an offshore research facility on Loggerhead Island, which is located not far from the mouth of Charleston harbor. He, and now Tory, live on Morris Island, which is owned by Charleston University. The only people who live on Morris Island are Charleston University employees like Kit and their families. Tory goes to school in Charleston with the three other teens who live on Morris Island. Since they only have each other, Tory, Hi, Ben, and Shelton are a close-knit quartet, and when they are not in school they tend to stick together.

   One day, not having much else to do, the friends decide to go to Loggerhead Island. Tory wants to check up on the pack of wild dogs who live there. Tory hasn’t seen them for a while and she is worried about them. Most people are not allowed onto Loggerhead Island, but because Kit and the other parents work for the university, Tory and the three boys are allowed to go there, so long as they behave themselves.

   The dogs Tory wants to check on are a female wolf, her German Shepherd mate, and their two wolf dog puppies. When they get to the island the teens discover that one of the puppies has fallen into a deep hole and Tory rescues him. They also find an old dog tag. The writing on the tag is hard to make out so the Tory decides that she will get into the research facility where her father works to use some of the equipment there to clean the tag.

   When the teens get into the facility they accidentally stumble on a lab they have never been to before, and in the lab is one of the wolf dog puppies. It appears to be very sick with parvo, a deadly dog disease. Tory is appalled that Dr. Karsten, the head of the facility, appears to be using the puppy for some kind of lab experiment and she decides there and then that she is going to save it. She takes medical supplies so she can care for the puppy, and then she and her friends smuggle the dog off Loggerhead Island and they take it to an abandoned bunker on Morris Island.

   Tory knows full well that they cannot let Dr. Karsten find the puppy and that if he does they will all get into a lot of trouble. What she does not know, at first, is that the puppy is carrying an altered form of parvo, one that can be passed onto humans. It isn’t long before she and the three boys are very sick. Then they notice that something really bizarre is happening to them. They are changing in a radical way and they have no idea why this is happening or what to do about their conditions.

   The fact that they are sick with some mystery illness is bad enough, but then the teens get into even more trouble. They follow clues to find out who the dog tags belong to and end up finding the body of a missing girl on Loggerhead Island. As they are digging up the bones of the poor girl, who disappeared in 1969, they are shot at and escape through the woods. When they return to the gravesite with the police and their parents, the human bones have been replaced with monkey bones, and there is not sign that they were shot at. Everyone thinks that Tory and her friends made a mistake, but the teens know what they saw. Someone is trying to hide a murder, and they are determined to find out who that someone is.

   This is exciting book, the first in a series, we meet four teenagers who end up getting involved in two mysteries purely by accident. One of the mysteries has a huge impact on their lives, while the other could end up costing them their lives. Full of unexpected twists and turns, this novel will delight readers who enjoy thrillers.

   

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