by S. R. Cronin
GENRE: Science fiction/fantasy
Seven year old Zane vowed to become a superhero. As a child too smart to fit in, he studied chameleons and muscle groups to learn to alter his appearance.
Now Zane is starting his first job at Penthes Pharmaceuticals, where he finds layers of corporate secrets and learns that knowledge is dangerous. Good thing he excels at blending in.
Once upper management discovers him, life gets more complicated. A sales trip to the South Pacific leaves Zane dealing with an unsolved murder, an unsavory boot camp manager, and new friends with abilities as surprising as his own and with problems far worse.
Zane wants to help them all. First, however, he has a few work-related issues to handle. Someone at Penthes will kill to protect mysteries the company has worked so hard to keep hidden. He has to figure out who, and then use his unique talents to stay alive.
As one boy came close to the bushes where he hid, Zane saw his own bare foot sticking out over the orange-brown soil. He dare not move it, so he thought hard about his foot and tried to flatten it tight against the ground.
The skin on his foot had started to burn and itch, and an alarmed Zane saw his foot was blushing. At least, it had turned an orange brown that mimicked the dirt. It had been his first inkling he could do more than make his body's shape twist and warp. Zane watched his orange brown foot in fascination while the neighbor boy ran by.
Every so often after that, Zane's skin would surprise him in the same way his muscles did. He could feel a color change coming, but didn't know how to control it. He figured he needed a wise teacher, like Balthazar.
"Can I learn to do that when I want to, wise one?" he asked his chameleon. He tried to make the feeling he felt when his skin did this. He concentrated hard on his arm. At first nothing happened. Then, yes. He felt the feeling. He made the feeling. His skin went from its normal color to a tan orange.
"You and I are going to be great friends," Zane told Balthazar as his grin widened. "You can teach me ways to fight bullies and you'll be the only one who knows what I can do."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Sherrie Roth grew up in Western Kansas thinking there was no place in the universe more fascinating than outer space. After her mother vetoed astronaut as a career ambition, she went on to study journalism and physics in hopes of becoming a science writer.
She published her first science fiction short story long ago, and then waited a lot of tables while she looked for inspiration for the next story. When it finally came, it declared to her it had to be a whole book, nothing less. One night, while digesting this disturbing piece of news, she drank way too many shots of ouzo with her boyfriend. She woke up thirty-one years later demanding to know what was going on.
The boyfriend, who she had apparently long since married, asked her to calm down and explained how, in a fit of practicality, she had gone back to school and gotten a degree in geophysics and spent the last 28 years interpreting seismic data in the oil industry. The good news, according to Mr. Cronin, was that she had found it to be entertaining and ridiculously well-paying. The bad news was the two of them had still managed to spend almost all of the money.
She was now Mrs. Cronin, and further good news was that they had produced three wonderful children whom they loved, even though, to be honest, that was where a lot of the money had gone. Even better news was that Mr. Cronin turned out to be a warm-hearted, encouraging sort who was happy to see her awake and ready to write. "It's about time," were his exact words.
Sherrie Cronin discovered that over the ensuing decades Sally Ride had already managed to become the first woman in space and apparently had done a fine job of it. No one, however, had written the book that had been in Sherrie's head for decades. The only problem was, the book informed her it had now grown into a six book collection. Sherrie decided she better start writing it before it got any longer. She's been wide awake ever since, and writing away.
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Shape of Secrets (46. Ascending Book 2) by S.R. Cronin tells Zane Zeitman’s story, as he becomes involved in a pharmaceutical company named Penthes and is tasked with far more responsibility than he ever imagined. Zane’s extraordinary powers of mimicry are showcased more and more as his life progresses, but he never dreams how important they can be, until he meets an unusual trio of people who remind him that the world is more connected than anyone realizes.
This intriguing story is a combination of science and speculative fiction with elements of fantasy and adult romance. Although it is part of a series, one can read this story without having read any of the other books. The cameos by characters from other stories help interconnect the tales and give interesting dimensions and thought-provoking concepts. I love the way seemingly unconnected elements are introduced and elaborated on until things start to weave together into a fun and complex set of mysteries.
The heartbreaking elements behind young Afi’s experience with a conversion camp and the struggle that Joy has to go through to live the life she wants as well as the mystery surrounding their reluctant benefactor all combine to keep one curious about what is going to happen. Those who are concerned with such things should be advised that there are unconventional romances portrayed. The stories I’ve read in this series thus far combine science and fantasy, suspense, family dynamics, and world issues in an entertaining tale and each main character has remarkable abilities. I look forward to learning what other powers these folks will display.
A copy of this title was provided to me for review