A loner teen finds himself caught up in a paranormal paramilitary threat—but he has both untapped personal resources and some unlikely allies to help him out.
Ever since his mother died, his father—a sometime Special Ops–type agent who happens to be of Native American descent—has been worse than useless. Lucas just concentrates on doing well in school and mooning over the beautiful daughter of one of the Pakistani scientists working at the new Romanian-owned top-secret facility in town. He goes out of his way to avoid the Sunglass Mafia, a bunch of unusually pale Russian students. But when his father is kidnapped and gives him a coded message by telephone, Lucas discovers that his heritage is more complicated and powerful than he had thought. Bruchac throws an enormous number of plot complications at his protagonist, from a schoolboy crush to filial angst to bioterrorism of a particularly creepy sort to a coming-of-age epiphany with a twist. For the most part, he keeps all the elements working pretty well, but Lucas tends toward introspection, which results in rather more navel-gazing than thriller-readers normally like. But the scenes with the Sunglass Mafia both defy stereotypes and manage to be very funny, and when the action kicks in, it does so in overdrive.
A solid entry into the paranormal market, with an appealingly different hero. (Paranormal thriller. 12 & up)