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Book Review: The Unwanted by Daniel L. Carter

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The Unwanted begins with a series of bombings, which include children in the death toll; the FBI is investigating them. At each scene, it is the deaths of the five children, always five, which weighs heavily on Nick Catlin’s conscious. He is the lead agent on the case and is disturbed to find children involved in any way. Why always five and why include children at all? Nick intends to find the underlying cause of these bombings, and even as he is talking to his partner, they have to respond to another scene. This is an extremely new bombing, and something has happened, while almost everything is the same as in the other scenes, there are two woman from the group who have disappeared, as well as the children, all five of them. As they arrive at the new scene, the site is not as organized; the job appears to be hurried and seems to lack the finesse of the other bombings. One of the bodies recovered is that of a police officer, bringing even more problems into play. How far does the information leak go, will they be able to control the information in order to catch a killer?

Nick and his team race against time hunting a cruel and sadistic killer, murdering both witnesses and children to hide his motives. Nick is in deep, it is imperative to find the answers to these killings and to stop the murder of the children. Their suspect is a geneticist, full of anger towards the U.S. He blames the government for the death of his family, and while he remains hidden, his henchmen are out creating havoc and destruction. What is it about the children, that put them at risk of this killer?

The FBI are operating against a cold and calculating mind, with knowledge of their every move, able to cut them off at every opportunity. Nick finds himself drawn into the madness, struggling with his own demons, and as he begins to see improbable things, he worries that his very investigation is at risk. Is what he has seen an experiment or has Tibon Agha, their suspect, engineered a mutant army?

As Nick tracks down the missing children, he finds more then he has bargained for. The children have far exceeded the size and abilities of other children their age and there is something both unnerving and yet special about all of them. Each has developed different characteristics and abilities. They have been raised with faith in God and have a heavy belief in prayer, and when they are finally found by Tibon and his crew, they must come together and rely on each other and their belief in God, to not just save themselves and their adopted families but the country itself. In addition, as Nick fights for his own life, he too must rely on the help of these children, for it will take skills and abilities, far above what he and his team are capable of to stop Tibon and his mutations.

In The Unwanted, Daniel L Carter has developed the very world of today, yet covered it with a sheen of otherworldliness, seeming to set up a futuristic place rife with possibilities and powers. The characters are well developed each with characteristics that are unique, and all with an old-fashioned sense of love and caring. Their mutations put them at risk and yet they have survived far longer then predicted. It is the current consensus that they have only lived to their current age due to their closeness and belief in both God and prayer. Religion is a part of this story, and woven throughout the entire frame of the story structure; the work would not survive without it. It is not pushy or an effort to foist religion, it is just an intricate part of the story giving it a unique edge.

The children are charismatic and extremely different in their personalities, and each has a strength that makes them unique. The nurse Janet Renard, one of the two that escaped with them, becomes their pseudo mother, with her family their extended family. This is a well-written story, staying true enough to science that it is somewhat plausible. Carter’s writing brings to mind the Maximum Ride series, by James Patterson. The characters come off the page and are just young enough to be lovable. They have problems and phobias as well as anger and other personality traits that make them much like you and me.

Carter has created a wonderful story full of surprises and human emotions. The Unwanted is fast paced and interesting, often leaving you tense and uncertain, but always rooting for the children, hoping they can overcome the hardships they endure as their bodies begin to change. He takes a page out of science to create a fiction that one day may actually be one of our headlines, and while you feel uncomfortable at how the children came to be what they are, they did not choose to be this way, and you are with them, feeling their dreams and really liking their character and personalities. This story is unique and the characters solid, making a strong foundation for a faith based science fiction. The Unwanted is a truly remarkable story.

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.