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'Exposure: A Virals Novel' by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs: Exciting

Fourth in the Virals series -- action and adventure for middle grade readers
Fourth in the Virals series -- action and adventure for middle grade readers
courtesy of Putnam Juvenile

Exposure: A Virals novel

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"Exposure: A Virals Novel" is the fourth novel in the series which began with "The Virals" by acclaimed author Kathy Reichs and her son, Brendan Reichs. While all three of the previous books (including "Seizure" and "Code") have been exciting and filled with action and adventure, this book probably will invigorate readers anew.

This entry introduces a new twist to the story of the four teenagers infected with a canine virus that changed their DNA in strange ways. Tory is the unofficial leader of the group, which also includes the wolfdog, Cooper, from whom they caught the disease when he was part of an illegal experiment.

Their powers have enabled them to solve mysteries in each of the preceding books, and now there is another mystery for them to solve. Twin classmates have been kidnapped, and the police seem to be bungling the investigation. Unfortunately, during the investigation, the canine powers of the group seem to be acting up.

There are definitely changes going on, and that worries Tory. But she is more worried when her new best friend, Ella, is also kidnapped. The kidnapper leaves behind the same strange astrology card that he or she left at the scene of the first kidnapping.

The action is pretty much nonstop and the stirring of a romance between Tory and one of the "pack" continues. Throughout the story, Tory feels something a bit off with her "wolf sense." Something new and different. It's not until the end that the authors let the reader know what that feeling is -- and it definitely brings a new twist to the series. So this book ends on a cliffhanger of a sort, and readers will be anxiously awaiting the next episode to find out what happens when there is a new member of the pack.

The writing is fast-paced and the dialogue believable. The only slightly jarring note is at the end when the first person narrative from Tory's point of view changes suddenly, and the role of narrator alternates between Tory and the others in the pack. It took me a while to figure out who was narrating because it wasn't clear right from the start of the chapters. And because Tory narrated almost the whole story, the switch at the end was confusing. Better to have kept all first person narrative to Tory, or alternatively to have kept switching throughout the story.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Putnam, for review purposes.

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