Author Trevor Shane creates a world that will have you questioning every lingering glance from a stranger in Children of Paranoia. Is the extra nice sales clerk just a nice guy, or is he planning to kill you. How about the sexy girl giving you the wink at the bar? Is she friend, foe or merely a girl giving you a wink at the bar? Shane’s new novel is one part suspense tale, one part war novel and one part fantasy. It’s the type of secret society that could never exist in the logical world, but after reading the story you will wonder if it does and you just don’t know about it.
Children of Paranoia is presented in the format of a journal, written by the lead character Joseph. The opening note to Maria quickly lets you know that this is an emotional story. However, it subtly hints that something much darker may lurk beneath the surface.
If you’re picking up Children of Paranoia, then you have probably read conspiracy books or seen conspiracy movies in the past. This novel presents something much deeper than your typical government cover up. Instead of a government conspiracy, this story is about an entire sub-section of the population engaging in a secret war that dates back hundreds of years. Nobody knows where or how it started; they just know that the other side must be evil by virtue of each side believing that they are not. It’s an intrinsic truth to any great war – everyone thinks that they are on the side of right. This war goes beyond the boundaries of race, gender or religion. And, Joseph just happens to be a soldier in it. That murder in the newspaper that seemed like a random act of violence without motivation was probably a result of the Paranoia war. It’s a somewhat fantastic tale that’s hard to digest at first, but the emotional depth of the characters keeps you turning page after page.
Joseph entered the war when he turned eighteen because he learned that the other side murdered his parents. The story begins with Joe well into his twenties. He’s a professional killer serving an organization that has broader roots than the American government. Although he’s a loyal soldier, his chance meeting with Maria flips his world on its back and he’s forced to run from the mysterious organization he used to serve proudly as well as the few people he called friend.
The story is cleverly written though somewhat predictable at times due to the journal format. Since the journal is a lot more of a reflection, Joe gives away several hints as to what you can expect going into the climax. Most of the questions you have about this secret war will remain unanswered. Shane leaves the story in the hands of the underlying relationship between Joe and Maria. Despite the questionable nature of their romance, Shane’s prose constantly keeps you invested in their every action. There are several moments that are twisted and warped in regards to dealings with children (which become apparent late in the story), but it’s all in the nature of the war Shane has architected.
Shane delivers vivid action sequences worthy of some of the most successful action-suspense novels. It’s a disturbingly good adventure as you get inside the mind of a trained assassin who believes that he is righteous. Some of the scenes remind of Eric Van Lustbader’s Ninja series, minus the trained ninjas.
The story leaves itself open to a follow-up story, which would be greatly appreciated. There are several details about the organization Joe works for that you’ll want answers to but won’t get.
If you’re looking for a new conspiracy story to check out and have an active imagination then you should pick up Children of Paranoia. It has one of the more unique suspense premises on the market and Shane’s prose presents an entertaining read.