In debut novelist Gutman’s thriller, a teenager uses his newly discovered power as a weapon against an affluent but fiendish organization that’s targeting him and his family.
Thirteen-year-old Noah Montana’s father, Adam, subjects him and his little sister, Emma, to relentless mental exercises, which Noah feels are borderline abuse. But Noah is unprepared when he finds vials of his blood and samples of his skin in his dad’s office. One day, Adam urges his son to put on a couple of silver bracelets—a moment that changes everything. The bracelets initially make Noah sick, but they may also be the reason that he’s able to stop a trio of dodgeballs in midair in his gym class. Soon, a group called the Brigade sends men after Noah who demand to know where Adam is; Noah, in turn, becomes desperate to find where the Brigade has taken Emma and his mother, Amy. The novel proceeds at a rapid pace, providing much of the back story, such as details of the Brigade, only after the action’s underway. Noah receives support from his two loyal pals, the charming Z (short for Zafar) and the bulky Vincent. But there are also surprising allies, including one or more people sporting abilities similar to Noah’s. The story eventually elucidates this power, although readers will likely understand what it is before Noah himself wraps his head around it. There are scores of blistering confrontations, physical and otherwise, and Gutman doesn’t pull his punches. Neither do some of his characters, so Noah and friends are certainly not immune to injury—or the threat of death. Gutman augments the plot with plenty of mysterious elements, including strangers dressed in gray who seem to be trailing Noah and a cryptic sequence of numbers that Adam forces his son to memorize. This appears to be the first installment of a planned series, as it leaves quite a few subplots unresolved; for example, Brighton Adelson, the apparent head of the Brigade, largely remains an enigma, and at least one character remains in peril at the story’s end.
A cool, edgy tale of a superpowered teenager that will leave readers hankering for a sequel.