cover image Surface Tension

Surface Tension

Mike Mullin. Tanglewood, $17.99 (424p) ISBN 978-1-939100-16-0

In this timely contemporary thriller, an act of domestic terrorism places an ordinary teenager in the crosshairs of the white nationalists who want to eliminate him as their sole witness, and the authorities who are convinced he was somehow involved. However, 17-year-old Jake Solley doesn’t even remember what happened; because of injuries sustained during the event, his memories are jumbled. All he wants is to resume life as usual, but a teenage girl is trying to kill him, and the FBI is shaking him down for information he doesn’t have. Jake’s only ally is his girlfriend Laurissa, but when she’s also placed in jeopardy, he has to take drastic measures to thwart the terrorists’ next attack and prove his innocence once and for all. Mullin (the Ashfall trilogy) tells much of the story from the viewpoint of Betsy, the teenage daughter of the terrorist’s leader and Jake’s would-be assassin, contributing an additional layer of narrative tension. Though Mullin’s premise is riveting and timely, the authorities stretch credibility with their ruthlessness and unwillingness to believe Jake. It’s a strong action story that touches lightly on topics of grave complexity, such as the Islamophobia that fuels the antagonists. Ages 12–up. [em](May) [/em]