ALTERED  by A.D. Croucher


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A teen patient’s superhuman skill is medical science gone awry.

Sixteen-year-old high schooler Reese, a Harvard prospect, has come a long way since his neurological treatment as a toddler. He suffers the same genetic disorder that claimed his mother, but his treatment has a far different effect, which has been building for years. His incredibly well-developed instincts raise interest and then cause concern, for both himself and his doctor. He returns to the medical facility where he received his experimental remedy, but his stay turns out to be more adventurous than expected. Reese must escape from the familiar but shadowy Dr. Wilcox, among others. The city of Detroit and the tortuous laboratory provide a dim, urban backdrop for confrontational exploits and elusion, interspersed by Reese’s love interest in not one, but two female characters. Also intermingled are Reese’s mystifying experiences as a 3-year-old, seemingly expressed both in flashback and extrasensory perception. The sometimes alternating sequences of past and present culminate in a tragic semifinale, as the authors (Croucher is actually two people) lay groundwork for the second installment. More than anything, the novel is fast-paced. Yet the single sentence paragraphs lack depth and read somewhat like the quick communication between members of the teen audience for which it’s intended. Readers will cheer for some characters, but that support often remains superficial due to an overemphasis on action. The screenplaylike text can be a little clichéd and tiresome at times, with dialogue that pushes comedy over more realistic responses. The authors do better when exploring familial themes and macabre descriptions. The action is sometimes a worthy component, but there’s more potential to garner from the Detroit setting and the compelling tag line: How human are you?

Brakeless action in need of depth.

Page count: 197pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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