Two Minute Review: Night Speed by Chris Howard

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Title: Night Speed
Author: Chris Howard
Genre: science fiction, thriller
Series: N/A
Pages: 416
Published: expected May 3 2016
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 3.75/5

Only those young enough can survive the pulse-pounding rush of tetra, a dangerous and addictive new drug that fuels a nine-minute burst of superhuman strength and speed. Alana West has been trained to use the drug so she can pursue the young criminals who abuse its power—criminals like the breakneck who nearly killed her kid brother.

On tetra, Alana is unstoppable. The rush makes her an explosive blur as she surges through New York City, battling to bring down breaknecks before they leave more people dead or injured in their wake. But with the clock ticking down to her eighteenth birthday, Alana will soon be too old for the rush...when just one more dose will prove deadly.

Supported only by her strong and steady handler, Tucker, Alana goes undercover, infiltrating an elite gang of breaknecks to stop the supply of their drug. But when Alana gets trapped on the wrong side of the law, she learns the breaknecks are not quite what they seem—especially Ethan, the artistic boy whose bottomless brown eyes seem to see the truth inside her. With her own dependency on tetra increasing, Alana must decide where her loyalties lie before the rush ends. Forever.

I thought that this literally high speed adventure was surprisingly good, with an interesting and well-thought out hook, creative execution, and enough action, extended chase scenes, and key plot twists to keep those 416 pages moving quickly. The nonstop race wears a little long and thin by the end, but Night Speed is an exciting and creatively fun read. 

I can be a plot or a character reader and I'm about evenly split in my involvement with this particular story. I liked what Howard brought to the table with his main character of  Alana, especially her complicated bond with her younger brother, but found the rest of the characters involved with Night Speed's plot to feel a bit wooden, or undeveloped. Still, Alana herself was enough to reel me in until the premise and tetra were brought in to further cement my interest.  

The plot is pretty well handled once the book fully engages about 15% in, but there are a few slight missteps en route to the story's end. I don't want to spoil anything for new readers because there's more than meets the eye to Alana's story, so all I will say I that some events strain credulity, but.. not enough to seriously detract from my enjoyment. It's a bit of a mixed package, but the overall impression from Night Speed is a good one.

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