This second volume of a YA series follows a Los Angeles crime fighter whose own body is both his salvation and destruction.
Chase Jackson, a high school junior in Glendale, California, has survived the football season and his first few weeks as the costumed vigilante Outlaw. The super speed, strength, and coordination that helped him become a star quarterback also pushed him into battle against teenage slumlord Tank Ware. After a brief sabbatical from crime fighting, the Outlaw meets another superpowered individual named Carter. He explains that Chase’s abilities come from a virus that amplifies his body chemistry. And if Chase doesn’t slow down and avoid stress, the virus will either drive him insane or kill him. Slowing down is tough, however, considering that bands of rioters have been roving Los Angeles in protest of anti-immigration laws. Chase is also still in a sham relationship with cheerleader Hannah Walker, who adores him merely as an accessory. Worse, his best friend, Katie Lopez, is dating Tank, unaware that he runs a gang and is at war with a new drug lord named the Chemist. The Outlaw must contend with new players, too, like the Sniper, who’s ready to pick him off if his powers run amok, and PuckDaddy, a legendary hacker who may or may not be on his side. Janney (The Outlaw, 2015) ratchets up every component that made the first novel in this series so compelling. The central arc of a football season, however, has been replaced by the mystery of the Outlaw’s aneurysm-inducing powers. Janney’s pacing is excellent, as are the action sequences; during a riot at school, Chase “could almost literally see the angles I should throw [the ball] if I wanted to hit him” when contending with a trespasser. As in the previous book, Chase finds solace at church, where the message “Love each other. Live peacefully. Take care of the poor” proves irresistible. By the explosive end, Janney’s Los Angeles and its Infected citizens know tragedy and that harder times approach.
An epic, masterly expansion of the Outlaw’s