Bergers Book reviews:  After solving her mother’s murder in Death Spiral, Faith Flores is off to Santa Fe, New Mexico, for a summer internship in science, working with genetically modified chiles. She’s never met her dad, but knows he grew up in Santa Fe, and plans to look him up while she’s there. Soon after arriving, Faith learns of a dangerous teen drug on the local market called liquid gold, which has suddenly become more plentiful.

Family matters quickly get out of hand as her search for her dad takes an unexpected turn, but they’re not as complicated as Faith’s romantic life. A new boy in the internship program, Clem, rivals Jesse back home, and she needs to sort out how she feels about both of them. And when a girl Faith meets at a party dies from an overdose of liquid gold, Faith’s antenna goes up. After watching her mom battle addiction, Faith is determined to stop others from being traumatized by this deadly drug.

Faith is a tough-minded teen who’s not afraid to tangle with the bad guys. Nothing holds her back from her investigations, even when trouble is lurking all around her. But in Code Red, we also see Faith’s softer side, as she grapples with her family discoveries. I really enjoyed this book, and I can’t wait to see the next installment in this series.


Stuff and Nonsense:  Faith Flores, the science whiz we met in Death Spiral, has flourished while living with her Aunt T. in West Philadelphia.  

Here, we meet her upon her arrival at St. John's College in Albuquerque the residence for ten teens who have been chosen from around the country to act as summer interns in various fields of study.  Faith will be spending the summer at the fictional Salazar Center for Plant Genomics.  

She doesn't expect to make any friends, but almost as soon as she arrives, she connects with an attractive young local named Clem, a violinist who has won the music internship several years in a row.
During their orientation, the teens are warned about a new designer drug on the streets.  Called "liquid gold", it's derived from a local plant and used not only for recreational purposes, but also as as a date-rape drug.  

Faith has another goal while she's in Albuquerque: to find her father.  According to a newspaper clipping she'd found in her late mother's things, he'd been arrested on a drug charge there two years earlier.  

The story is an enjoyable read that is difficult to put down.  Faith is an engaging protagonist, smart and driven, but not without faults.  Due to her background, she is slow to trust and easily spooked.  It's encouraging to see a young woman who is interested  -- and successful -- in a scientific field.  Also refreshing is that her supervisor is female.

Code Red can be read as a standalone, but do read Death Spiral first in order to fully appreciate Faith's journey.


Must Read Faster:  This book was just as awesome as the first! I'm really loving how Faith is evolving as a character and the writing was already pretty on point, but in this one it was just as tight. There's another mystery that keeps you flipping the pages, more characters that are just as well written as Faith, and more deliciously geeky science and sleuthing that just makes this series super fun! 

I'm telling you guys this series is pretty darn awesome! I wouldn't recommend missing out on it!