cover image MindWar


Andrew Klavan. Thomas Nelson, $15.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-4016-8892-9

Klavan (the Homelanders series) kicks off a trilogy with this fast-paced cyberthriller involving a teenager tapped by a secret agency to fight evil inside a form of virtual reality. Former football star Rick Dial has been living in a funk ever since his father walked out on his family and Rick himself was injured in a car accident. A self-described “useless cripple,” Rick has taken to playing video games nonstop. His exemplary skills lead him to be recruited by the MindWar Project, where he’s charged with a vital mission: go into the digital “Realm” to investigate, spy on, and possibly combat the terrorist Kurodar. Inside the Realm, Rick fights code disguised as monsters as he learns how to achieve his full potential. While Rick starts out as depressed and surly, his self-image and confidence are gradually restored. The story, while interesting, suffers from a lack of focus—both an awkward romantic subplot and religious undertones involving the power of spirit feel tacked on, rather than an organic part of the novel. Ages 12–up. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (July)