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Book review: 'Trace Evidence' short story collection is an excellent farewell
"Trace Evidence: A Virals Short Story Collection" is by Kathy Reichs and Brendan Reichs. - photo by Rachel Chipman
"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 packs 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 fathers 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 doesnt progress past kissing.
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