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Death Spiral: A Faith Flores Science Mystery    by Janie Chodosh Amazon.com order for
Death Spiral
by Janie Chodosh
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2014 (2014)
Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Death Spiral by Janie Chodosh is the first Young Adult novel that I have reviewed. I must say, I am impressed by the quality of the writing as well as the topic tackled.

Faith Flores is a sixteen-year-old with a very troubled past. At sixteen, one wouldn't think anyone would have to deal with what her junkie mother has thrown at her. Faith loves her mother very much, even considering the lifestyle the latter's use of drugs forced them into.

When Faith's mother is found dead, the cops consider it an overdose and close their books on her. Faith doesn't buy that, knowing that her mom was clean and had been participating in a trial period for a new treatment to get her off and keep her off drugs. Faith's mother's close friend Melinda sends Faith a note telling her that something was wrong with the trial drugs. But then Melinda is found dead.

Faith is living with her Aunt T but not living by her aunt's rules. She breaks her friendship with someone with whom she had grown up. She also turns her back on Jesse who has taken a shine to her. She is afraid that she - and, by extension, her aunt and friends - are on a hit list by the drug company. Too much money is at stake.

Faith manages to talk to some doctors and scientists involved in the trial and we are treated to a pretty interesting evaluation of the science involved. We are also given a bird's eye view of the life of a junkie as well as a visit to a morgue. Pretty horrifying.

Death Spiral is the first YA novel published by an extension of Poisoned Pen Press Poisoned Pencil Press. If this is an example of the quality of their coming publications, Pencil will be as successful as Pen.

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