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Nemesis

Cover of Nemesis

Nemesis

Project Nemesis Series, Book 1
Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.

It's been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he's not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.
From the Hardcover edition.
Orphan Black meets Lord of the Flies in this riveting new thriller from the co-author of the Virals series.

It's been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he's not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Brendan Reichs

    He killed me.

    PROLOGUE

    SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

    I swore to myself I wouldn't die that day.

    Up and down.

    Come at me, you bastard. Sweaty-palmed as I gripped a battered Louisville Slugger, eyes glued to my bedroom door.

    He was already inside the trailer—early this time, as the first slanting rays of sunshine began peeking over the mountains. While Mom was still away at work. I'd heard the front stoop creak, and instantly knew who had come.

    That I was trapped.

    Right here. In my own home.

    Another unpleasant first.

    I wasn't scared. Not of him. Of this. That's just not how it worked anymore.

    But my anger simmered near the edge of control. A floorboard groaned.

    I took a calming breath. Narrowed my focus to audible noises beyond the door, a flimsy piece of sliding metal that couldn't stop a toddler. All that separated me from a monster who'd come to snatch my life away.

    Silence stretched, then another muffled step. I tensed, prepping for battle.

    There's no sneaking quietly across my crappy, not-so-mobile home, a fact I'd established many times during my sixteen years of life. I knew exactly where he was standing. How his weight was aligned. What the man was seeing as he peered across our shabby single-wide, eyes glued to the only other place I could be.

    So why the delay?

    I thought furiously, cycling through possibilities. Was he waiting me out? Could he possibly believe I didn't know he was there? The first shot exploded through the door. High and left, but I panicked just the same.

    A gun this time.

    I dropped into a crouch, options rapidly dwindling.

    The window.

    I darted toward a grimy, dirt-streaked square of glass overlooking my single bed.

    Too quick. I never sensed the trap.

    The second bullet punched through the closet, slicing into my right shoulder and spinning me like a top. I gasped in pain. Fell against the bedside table.

    The third shot tore into my chest.

    My legs faltered. I tumbled to the floor, struggling to breathe, blood bubbling on my lips as I stared up at the drab fluorescent lights on the ceiling. Pain tinged everything red.

    He'd been waiting for me to flee. I'd accommodated him.

    Checkmate.

    I lose. So I die. Happy birthday to me.

    The door slid open. I barely flinched.

    A man entered, tall and thin, with coal-black hair cut short. High cheekbones. Narrow, elegant nose. He wore the same unadorned black suit as always. Silver sunglasses. Shiny black boots. His work clothes, I supposed.

    Behind the opaque lenses, his face was utterly expressionless. That always got to me. What kind of human could do such horrible things, yet show zero reflection of them in his features?

    A psychopath. That's who.

    The black-suited man stood over my punctured, broken body. Squaring his shoulders, he pulled the slide on his weapon, a gleaming black handgun that fit snugly into his palm. The barrel rose.

    "Why?" I croaked, as my heartbeat lost its rhythm. We'd been through this before.

    Same question. Always the same question.

    "I'm sorry," he said quietly, taking aim directly between my eyes.

    Same reply. He always apologized.

    I wasn't going to scream. I'd done it before, and refused to give him the satisfaction. I wasn't going to beg either. I'd learned that didn't get me anywhere.

    But I wanted an answer.

    "Why?" More gurgle than words. Liquid was filling my mouth, hot and wet. The...

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    December 19, 2016
    Reichs (coauthor of the Virals series) incorporates enough life-threatening, apocalyptic elements into this fast-moving tale for half a dozen ordinary thrillers: an extinction-event-size asteroid, comets crashing to Earth, mysterious tsunamis and earthquakes, secret medical experiments, libertarian survivalists, and more. Sixteen-year-old Min Wilder, meanwhile, has problems of another sort: on her birthday, a stranger, who may be related to the aforementioned apocalyptic events, murdered her, only for her to wake up, apparently unharmed, in a forest near the Idaho trailer park where she lives. This has now happened five times: five deaths and five resurrections. With worldwide destruction imminent, a military unit has sealed off Min’s town, and she learns that her classmate Noah (who trades narration duties with Min) is experiencing the same kind of recurring violence. Min is a tough hero, and her close friend Tack is compulsively funny, though other characters hew more to stereotypes. Reichs pulls everything together at the book’s end, and a plot twist few will see coming should leave readers eagerly awaiting the second book in this duology. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from December 1, 2016
    Reichs follows up his Virals series (co-written with his mother, Kathy Reichs) with a new series about imminent human extinction.Min is not your average 16-year-old. Living in a trailer park in an isolated town high in the mountains of Idaho, she's learned to keep pretty much to herself. She has a mother who loves her and a best friend, Tack, who'd like to be more, but she knows they can't understand what she's going through. Every two years on her birthday, she's murdered. And every two years she comes back, completely unharmed. She's tried to escape the inevitable but knows it's only a matter of time before the man in black returns for her. Now things are getting worse, with an asteroid headed toward Earth. Will this be it, the real end of her life? Just when she's found that classmate Noah is having the same strange experiences she's tried to keep hidden? Reichs varies his narrative structure, opening with Min's present-day account, interspersed with italicized flashbacks, and then switching to Noah, whose account is punctuated by transcripts with the doctor he shares with Min, before their stories converge in alternating chapters. It's a pacing strategy that keeps the pages flipping madly. Min, Tack, and Noah are all evidently white. Hooked readers will be tapping their fingers waiting for the sequel. (Thriller. 12-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    February 1, 2017

    Gr 7 Up-Reichs's new novel offers readers a glimpse into the final moments of a preapocalyptic world, as seen through the eyes of two radically different teens. Min and Noah haven't been friends since they were kids, and they don't have much in common: she's from the wrong side of the trailer park; he's from the right side of the mansion. What's the recently discovered common thread that links them? Since they were eight years old, they've both been murdered on their even-numbered birthdays by an unidentified assassin-and then have immediately come back to life. Min is taking a proactive approach to finding her murderer, enlisting the help of her best friend and breaking into offices to uncover encrypted files. Noah, stuck under the controlling thumb of his psychiatrist and desperate to be normal, is slower to acknowledge his bizarre, brutal reality. Yet with the threat of cataclysmic death and destruction on the rise, Noah must decide which path to follow-blazing a trail with Min or falling in line with his powerful and popular friends. The two characters have an abundance of differing traits (rich/poor, male/female, insecure/brave), so their alternating narratives offer a little something for every reader to relate to. Min is a self-assured female protagonist, and Noah is a refreshingly complex young man, a stoic type who is willing to admit to himself when Min is stronger and more fearless than he is (which is often).

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Nemesis
Nemesis
Project Nemesis Series, Book 1
Brendan Reichs
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