The map had been printed pre-exodus – there was no symbol on it to indicate the Titan wall, which ran from the Canadian border with its trenches and electrified fence to the Gulf of Mexico. Also, the map showed dozens of bridges crossing the Mississippi River when only one was still in existence. Known as “the last bridge,” it crossed into the quarantine zone by way of Arsenal Island. Everybody knew that. Everybody also knew that the last bridge was heavily guarded.
“Isn’t Arsenal Island a line patrol camp?”
“It is. Dr. Solis lives there with the guards. So don’t get caught,” Spurling said as if it was no big deal. “If you do, don’t expect me to intervene on your behalf. I’ll deny everything. By the way, when you find Mack, tell him that he has five days to complete the fetch.”
“Why only five days?”
“The patrol is shoring up the rubble along the east side of the wall. They start work on these tunnels Thursday morning.” She flicked a hand at the two steel doors.
“Tell them not to!”
Spurling arched a penciled brow. “The line guards work for the Titan corporation. They don’t take orders from government officials, not even me.”
“But what if it takes me five days to find him?”
“Arsenal Island is directly on the other side of the wall. It should take you ten minutes to get there. After that, either Dr. Solis knows where Mack is hiding or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, do not go looking for your father. Just come back here and press the call button outside that door. I’ll come get you.”
“If I try but don’t find my dad, will you still destroy the evidence against him?”
“Please. Why would I put myself at risk if I have nothing to show for it?”
“The more time you waste now, the less Mack will have for the fetch.”
Before my legs locked up entirely, I slung the deadweight of the messenger bag over my shoulder and picked up the map. I would find my father and give him the letter and then he’d do the fetch and everything would go back to normal. I could do this. I would do this. And I wasn’t going to freak out about it. . . much.
I lifted my dial. “I need to call our housekeeper and tell him that I’m okay.” Howard had to have heard from some parent that I’d been hauled off by biohaz agents. He was probably outside the quarantine center at this moment, trying to kick down the door.
“Howard was arrested hours ago.” Spurling’s tone was offhanded. “I have to say, for an old guy, he’s a tough nut to crack.”
“He’s being questioned about his knowledge of your father’s illegal activities.”
I stared at her, wanting to shout that Howard knew nothing. But was it true? I wasn’t sure of anything anymore.
“By the way,” she went on, “we dropped off your pets at the local shelter. You have until the end of the week to claim them.”
And I’d thought this woman couldn’t make me hate her any more. “What if I can’t?”
“Well, someone might adopt the one-eyed dog or the diabetic cat, but the rest? Even you have to admit they’re a pretty sorry lot.”
I drew a breath against the tightness in my chest. Director Spurling had just drawn a bulls-eye on everyone and everything I loved. And if I didn’t do what she wanted, she was going to start pulling the trigger. I cleared my throat. “I’d like to get going now, if that’s okay.”
“Of course.” She led me across the room to the twin doors. “I knew you were the right girl for the job, Delaney,” she said, and pressed her fob to the pad on the wall.
The door on the right rolled open and I found myself staring into a gaping darkness. Feeling close to heart failure, I stepped into the tunnel.
“One last thing,” she said. “I’m sure you’ve heard that the Ferae virus isn’t as lethal as it was nineteen years ago.”
I nodded, though I wasn’t planning on testing it out.
“Then you’ve probably also heard that instead of dying when people get infected now, they mutate.”
A cold feeling crept along my neck. “Those are just stories.”
“No, actually, they’re not. So be careful.”
Every muscle in my body went rigid. “What? Are you saying there are mutants over there?”
“On the far side of the river, yes. Stick to the island and you should be fine. Good luck, Delaney.” Spurling pressed the lock pad again and the door slid shut behind me.
Almost 20 years ago, the United States was decimated by a virus called the Ferae- turning people into monsters then destroying them. Giving up control to the Titan Corporation, the survivors in the West live behind the Wall, with the East is left to go back to nature, and those contaminated with the virus.16 year old Lane grew up with the wall, and doesn’t know that her father Mack is one of the most renowned fetches in the world- taking the challenge of finding anything in the Feral Zone and bringing it back, for a price. However, when her father goes missing and Director Spurling forces Lane to find him or be faced with losing everything, Lane must turn the stories he told her into fact and piece together the clues in order to survive- for there are no second chances.
A gripping bio-dystopia, Inhuman has a lushly built world with developed characters and surprises around every turn. When Lane discovers that her bedtime stories were actually true, and that the stories her father told her were clues in case she ever needed to brave the Feral Zone, she starts to find her footing in this new and strange world. She is accompanied at various times by Everson (a Titan Guard) and Rafe (a Zone thief), who both have their secrets that they want to keep from Lane, and their own wishes for Mack if they can find him. Humans blend with the animals, and readers won’t be able to tell from outward appearances which is which. Definitely a series to keep an eye on; first of a planned trilogy. 4 out of 5 stars. Pair with other bio-dystopias like The Compound by S. A. Bodeen, The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau, or The Proxy by Alex London.
Want to win finished copy of Inhuman? Share in the comments your thoughts on the book, or your favorite dystopian that deals with biological issues. Don’t forget to leave your twitter handle or email so we can contact you if you win! Giveaway will end October 11, 2013. Open to U.S. residents.