Book review: 'Trace Evidence' short story collection is an excellent farewell
Posted April 14, 2016
"TRACE EVIDENCE: A Virals Short Story Collection," by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs, Puffin Books, $9.99 (f) (ages 10 and up)
“Trace Evidence” is for all the readers who were not ready to say goodbye to the Virals pack: Tory, Ben, Hiram and Shelton.
The Virals series follows the four teenagers as they contract a virus that gives them wolflike superpowers and as they learn to channel those powers to solve crimes. This last installment, “Trace Evidence: A Virals Short Story Collection,” contains four novellas that detail the pack’s adventures at various points in the series.
The Virals series is co-authored by mother-son team Kathy and Brendan Reichs. Kathy Reichs is the author of the Temperance Brennan novels, which served as inspiration for the popular television series “Bones.”
In the first story, “Shock,” Tory arrives at Morris Island and meets her father as well as Ben, Hiram and Shelton. In “Shift,” the pack solves a lab equipment theft and pinpoints the culprit. “Swipe” follows the Virals at a comic-con event where a valuable Terminator suit has gone missing. And in “Spike,” Tory and the gang must save her father’s wedding from sabotage.
Readers of all ages can enjoy this short story collection. The puzzles are intriguing, and the authors mesh the supernatural, forensic science and mystery elements well, with no genre dominating the story. Younger readers and their parents will especially appreciate the compelling but low-key nature of the crimes. The intelligence of the protagonists is refreshing, but parents may want to caution young readers against the disregard for authority displayed in all of the stories. Overall, this collection is an excellent farewell to the Virals series.
“Trace Evidence” contains little violence, a few mild instances of profanity and romance that doesn’t progress past kissing.
Rachel Chipman has a bachelor's degree in family life and human development. Her current goals are to read more, write more and learn to type while holding her infant daughter. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.