In Code: A Virals Novel, the third installment of Kathy Reichs’ young adult series, Tory Brennan and the rest of the Virals are back for a geocaching hunt that, once again, places their lives in jeopardy. While the novel possesses the fast pace, wry humor, and accessible science that make her Temperance Brennan novels, (Deja Dead ,Flash and Bones) so enjoyable, Reichs co-writes the “Virals” novels with her son, Brendan, former attorney-turned-new writer. In an interview by Publisher’s Weekly, Kathy Reichs describes the collaborative process.
“With each novel, we begin with a detailed outline that we write together, chapter by chapter. . . We work out a central theme and storyline, and figure out what kind of science we’ll use in the novel,” Reichs explains, “Brendan writes some parts of the novel, and I write others.”
The end result, at least in this installment of the “Virals” series, is a plot that advances in a clunky manner and patches of dialogue that seem awkward and forced. I found myself thinking, “who talks like that?” on more than one occasion. That being said, before writing off the rest of the “Virals” series, both young adult and older readers should have patience. I’m more than willing to give Brendan Reichs time to refine his voice as an author. His raw talent is already evident; he will undoubtedly improve with each novel. I am anxious to watch as his writing style evolves.
Pub. Puffin (2013), Paperback, 432 pages