Book Review: Virals by Kathy Reichs

Cover of "Virals"
Penguin Group. Purchased book at Paragraphe Bookstore during book signing by the author.

If you are a fan of the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs, you will enjoy her new book and series Virals even though it’s geared towards a young adult audience.

The protagonist of this new series is Tory Brennan who is Tempe’s grandniece and who has obviously inherited her great-aunt’s love of science and her penchant for getting into trouble. The story takes place in the Charleston area where Tory lives with her new-found father Kit who is a marine biologist working at the Loggerhead Research Institute.

Tory is new to the area. She’s still getting over her mother’s death and she’s still getting to know her dad. Fortunately, she bonds with three other teenagers who are also into science as she is.

Their adventure begins when they discover and old deteriorated dog tag on Loggerhead Island and decide to find the owner. While investigating, they rescue a wolf-dog puppy from the research facility on the island. They become exposed to an engineered form of the canine parvo virus and become infected. The virus changes their DNAs and now the Virals must rush to solve the mystery of a 40-year-old murder while dealing with their new powers, their parents and the normal teenage angst.

Virals is a fast and enjoyable read. I’m sure fans of Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan’s book will love this new series and recommend it to the young readers in their lives. I found it very refreshing to have the protagonists be a group of teenagers who love science and technology. A win for Ms. Reichs.

Kathy Reichs YA series Virals

Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist just like her character Temperance Brennan who is featured in her books and the TV series Bones.

I was a fan of the show before reading the books. I kept meaning to buy the books but at the time I was living in Venezuela and they weren’t all available. I wanted to start the series from the beginning and read the books in order!

Last December I finally started the series and I’ve read all of them except for the latest book Spider Bones which is still only available in hardcover. I love the stories and I got a kick out of the fact that many of them are based in Montreal the city I now call home.

I was really excited to find out that she would be making an appearance at a downtown bookstore but I didn’t know anything about the new book she would be promoting. I thought it was another book in her regular series but then I read online that it’s a Young Adult novel and that the heroine is the niece of her main character Temperance Brennan.

Thursday, November 18th finally arrived and I left work in a rush and walked over to the bookstore. I bought the new book and settled in to wait. Despite the fact that the book is for a YA audience most people waiting were adults and some of them elderly.

Ms. Reichs finally arrived and she spoke about 15 minutes about her new series (you can find more information here) and the she took questions from the audience. A few questions were about the TV show Bones and she explained her role as a producer. She explained why Montreal isn’t featured in the show and that TV Tempe is in a way book Tempe but at an earlier point in her career. I asked her if her main character would be making an appearance in the new series and she explained that yes she would be because young Tory Brennan would be going to her famous Aunt Tempe for help with the science as her pack of Virals solve mysteries. By the way, the book says for ages 12 and up but she joked that she’s going to have it changed to 90 and down since it’s mostly adults buying the books for themselves!

After the Q & A, Ms. Reichs signed books and posed for pictures. I found her to be an incredibly smart, funny lady. She’s really down to earth and she speaks in a no-nonsense kind of way. She is the first author I’ve met and I’m really happy with my experience.

Virals in now on my “To Read” book pile and of course I will post a review once I’ve finished reading it.