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.

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