cover image BZRK


Michael Grant. Egmont USA, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-60684-312-3

In Grant's (the Gone novels) launch of a SF spy series, when Sadie McClure's father and brother are killed in a gruesome plane crash, she is pulled into the titular secret organization her father ran, fighting a war on the nanotechnological level to save humanity. All members of the organization take names of people who famously went insane, so the newly-minted Plath gets teamed with (and romantically linked to) fellow recruit Keats. As they finesse their skills of observation and precision, and learn the art of emotional detachment, they are also trained to operate their "biots," biomechanical extensions of themselves. The organization uses the biots to fight the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation. Silly name aside, the latter organization has no scruples (their top recruit, Bug Man, is a rapist and murderer). Grant doesn't shy from moral compromises and brutal violence%E2%80%94heroes and villains alike suffer death and dismemberment%E2%80%94but he also draws into sharp focus the psychological toll that these events take on the characters. An entertaining, smart thriller with a conclusion that points to the next installment. Ages 14%E2%80%93up. (Feb.)