Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Virals, By Kathy Reichs

The contagion has mutated! Be still, my pumping heart

Kathy Reichs's "Bones" novels seem to proliferate like malevolent bacteria, and now we have a new strain to contend with. Virals is the first in a spin-off series based on the adventures of Tory Brennan, the 15-year-old niece of the Bones heroine.

Set amid the bayous of South Carolina, the book follows Tory as she investigates a conspiracy involving murderous land barons and telekinetic wolves. This is evidently an attempt to corner the lucrative "young-adult fiction" market, but surely even teenagers will tire of Reichs' lifeless prose, built as it is out of prefab phrases: eyes "widen", hearts "pound", adrenaline "pumps". The reader just groans.