Muggy and hot enough for you? Hey, you have it easy, unless you are living in the Everglades, where the following book is set!
Spradlin, Michael. Killer Species: Menance From the Deep
25 June 2013, Scholastic Paperbacks
ARC from Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there.
Emmet Doyle is mad enough that he and his avian researcher father have to move from Montana to Florida, but nothing goes right. But then, nothing has ever since his mother passed away. Luckily, the park ranger in charge of where his father will be working, Dr. Geaux, has a son about his age, Calvin, and the two hit it off, especially when a short trip through the swamp puts them in the path of killer alligators. One of these killers has shown up, dead, and is the reason that Emmet's father was brought it. It seems to have some avian DNA, and is no doubt bioengineered. In fact, a mad scientist who goes by the name of Dr. Catalyst has engineered the animals to take out invasive boa constrictors, and he feels he is trying to save the Everglades. So does Mr. Newton, Emmet's science teacher, who is suspicious of everyone, including Emmet's father. When Dr. Doyle is kidnapped and ransomed by the deranged man, Emmet and Calvin use what they know about the swamp to try to find him. Unfortunately, Catalyst gets away, which leads us to
Feeding Frenzy, Book #2, which comes out 13 October 2013!
Strengths: Realistic portrayal of boys reluctantly becoming friends, and great descriptions of the swamp and the animals that are native to it. Interesting science and mutations, and lots of action and adventure. I would expect nothing less from Mr. Spradlin, whose Youngest Templar series is also fantastic!
Weaknesses: Only available in paperback! Drat! And I did REALLY worry about Emmet's poodle, Apollo, who got dragged all over the swamp. Leave the poodle at home. It's only going to bark at the bioengineered killing freaks.