Review: Children of Paranoia, by Trevor Shane

Children of Paranoia
by Trevor Shane
Dutton Adult
September 8, 2011
384 pgs
All wars have rules. Some people, for an undisclosed reason, are on one side of the war while their foils are, for another undisclosed reason, on the other. With no end to it all in sight, winning is simply surviving.

Joe is a soldier in this underground war, one of the "good" guys, a killer, taught that those whom he kills are "evil". He was born into it. It's all he really knows. So when Maria comes into his life, and causes him to inevitably botch a big job, he starts really questioning the rules. And when Joe and Maria irreparably break one of the carinal rules, all they can do is run.

This makes for an excellent start to a series. Halfway through I actually forgot it was a series, so I kept expecting certain answers and revelations to pop up. As the book crept toward its end, I was disheartened,  it would come down to some ridiculous deus ex machina, but in reality it just heightens the anticipation of the next books.

For the first novel in a series (and for a debut novel, at that) there's a sense of the expository, but without the heady feel of too much exposition. On top of that, freshman author Trevor Shane's use of journal-as-letter narrative is (surprisingly) wonderfully engaging, moving the novel forward quickly and deftly, thrilling at each turn. There are some instances where that thrill can be off-putting, specifically Joe's first "job" of the novel, but it only goes to further the thrill of the book.

Full disclosure - this was an unsolicited review copy from Dutton. I had almost no expectations and those I did have were not entirely positive. I would not have picked this book up and purchased it - on the surface it seemed too outside of my comfort zone. It honestly took me a few chapters to really get into it but, once I did, I never looked back. This is a very exciting start to what could be a blockbuster series. Keep 'em coming, Mr. Shane.


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