by Jan Coffey

January 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2406-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

The topic of this book is certainly an unfortunately familiar one to every one in this country – school violence. Though, in this case, the mental state of the teenage killers is a result of something that was done to them, rather than hatred or violence.

In only a matter of days, several fifteen year olds, all touted as being extremely intelligent and well behaved, have gone on violent killing sprees at their schools, and in the end, taking their own lives. Until Juan Bradley, who, after shooting a teacher, passes out and ends up in a coma.

Secret Service agent Brian Atwood and his partner are brought in to the investigation since they have experience with school violence. Years earlier the two wrote a study on the subject, in the hope teachers and other officials would be able to notice early signs of impending trouble. But this case is different than any others they’ve worked on.

Dr. Lexi Bradley is frustrated she’s being kept away from her son. After interviewing her, Brian sympathizes with her and does his best to keep her informed. When test results end up disappearing, and an attempt is made on Juan’s life, things quickly become even more complicated. Someone is contacting Lexi, and she soon finds herself helping agent Atwood try to figure out what is wrong with Juan. When it becomes clear that other children may suddenly snap, they are rushing against time to try and stop them.

I enjoyed seeing Lexi and Brian work together and the respect they had for each other. But, while a satisfyingly suspenseful tale, the scientific aspects of it were a bit far fetched. For those of you familiar with this author’s work, you might recognize the town of Wickfield, CT from the previous novel Five in a Row.

Reviewed in December 2006 by Jackie.

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