|Virals by Kathy Reichs|
Virals gets a vivacious 3 gnomes and a gnome hat out of 5 gnomes for being a great murder mystery and a scientific take on werewolf like powers all rolled into one.
Tory Brennan is the niece of Temperance Brennan, the main character from Reich's other books. She is best friends with Hiram (Hi), Ben, and Shelton. Tory's being raised by her Dad Kit after her Mom was killed by a drunk driver. They are still getting to know each other because Kit didn't know she existed for fourteen years. He's a marine biologist at LIRI (Loggerhead Island Research Institute).
This is not just another rote werewolf story, it's more science based. The wolf part of this book comes from a mutated strain of parvovirus which is usually lethal to dogs. Wolves are connected to the story because Tory has a strong interest in them. On the island there is an interesting pack. A wolf named Whisper mated with a German Sheppard and know they have two wolfdog puppies. Tory is connected because she once saved the youngest pup, nicknaming it Cooper.
All there problems stem from finding a dog tag, well actually having a dog tag thrown at them by a monkey ( I for one would never want to be close enough to a monkey for it to throw stuff at me). To solve the mystery of the name tag they have to clean it off to see what it says and the group figures that there is only one way to do that. They need some of the lab equipment at LIRI so they stage a break in at LIRI to clean the dog tag and that's when the trouble really multiplies.
There are two mysteries in this book, one involves a cover up and a body. The other mystery involves the wolfdog named Cooper and a strain of parvovirus. The book kind of reminds me of an updated version of Scooby Doo with a murder mystery and super powers thrown in.
Love interests in the book are kind of mentioned but not explored much. Tory likes Chance who has a girlfriend, Jason likes Tory and is friends with Chance (my personal theory is that it's probably a good idea not to trust someone named Chance). The reader can tell that Ben also likes Tory but she's kind of oblivious to this, maybe their relationship will be explored more in the next book. Tory is also thrown into the debutante culture which is interesting but kind of comes out of nowhere (I agree with Tory about the debutante culture I'm pretty sure it would horrify me too).
The book moves along really fast and the chapters are very short. I wish that the relationship between her and Kit would have been explored more. I also expected the paranormal/supernatural aspect of the book to happen a lot sooner. The glimpses you do see of there wolf type powers are intriguing and described so you think well maybe this really could happen.
Overall a great beginning to a series with a mix of science and the paranormal that leaves a lot of questions left to solve.