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by Rob Therman
A Roc Book, 2011, $7.99, 324pp
Release Date: August 2, 2011

Rob Thurman likes to write about close-knit brothers operating in a world of bad, crazy danger. In the Cal Leandros books, beginning with Nightlife and continuing through six books so far, the crazy badness is supernatural and the danger happens in urban areas with all the opportunities for mass casualties and great nightlife that big cities afford. The Chimera series, of which this Basilisk is the second, has the fraternal element, but now the settings are smaller, western towns and the danger has a scientific, not supernatural origin; the result, however, is similar enough: the brothers’ lives are very much on the line, and occasionally they cross that line. In both series, the younger brother is fighting to hold on to his humanity after being turned into a weapon.

Michael and Stefan want to disrupt the organization that kidnapped Michael and made him a deadly chimera; plenty of other “lost boys” are still being experimented on by the supervisors. Only now the result is a basilisk, a boy who can project death with his thoughts. Fortunately, the resourceful brothers get some help from the comic relief Dream Team of Saul and Ariel. Saul is world-weary – but not really – and sarcastic; Ariel is a nerd with a crucial skill set and a lot of sex appeal. Ariel is a great character, and most of the best writing revolves around her.

As usual with a Therman novel, one of the best features is the jazzy, sharp writing style that packs a strong emotional uppercut.  ~~ Chris R. Paige

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