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on August 24, 2007
When Cassie Streng is abducted by two men in a white van right in front of her own house, she can't at first figure out what's going on. When her mother comes outside and does nothing to stop the men, confusion turns to panic. When her stepfather, Dr. Rick Wheeler, enters the picture, things suddenly become clear. Rick planted drugs in Cassie's room, convinced her mother that she needed more help than they could give her to straighten her out, and is shipping her out to a school/prison in Mexico.

Cassie figures this all out in a few minutes, once she's handcuffed in the back of the van, virtually kidnapped by men who work for Peaceful Cove, and desperate to escape. She knows why this is happening, but she has no way to convince anyone that she's being held against her will for something she didn't do.

Rick Wheeler is a psychiatrist who moved his new family--wife Jackie, stepdaughter Cassie, and soon-to-be-born son away from the town of Minor to Portland. Back in their old town, Rick had a practice that specialized in helping troubled youths. You know the ones--they resist parental authority, smoke, drink, maybe do drugs or have premarital sex. They were the "bad" kids, and Dr. Wheeler used them as guinea pigs for a drug called Socom. Socom's creators billed their new drug, given as an injection, as a breakthrough in adolescent behavior modification. It might be, too, except for the deadly side effects that seem to take place in some of the youths, ending in their deaths.

Cassie found out about all of this when she snooped through her stepfather's home files. She was concerned enough, especially since Rick keeps mentioning to her mother that she herself should be put on Socom, to do some investigating of her own. When she learns that three former students of her old school in Minor died after being on the drug, she enlists the help of her new classmate, Thatcher Hedrick, and the two devise a plan to bring Rick and his deceptions to light with the aid of a Portland newspaper columnist.

Before they can do that, however, Cassie is kidnapped, with no way of letting Thatcher--or anyone else--know that Rick is behind the plot that's taken her out of the country. Now she's far away from home in Mexico, and although she's making some new contacts and friends there, she's worried about what's happening back in Portland.

SHOCK POINT is a great story, full of action, adventure, and mystery. The plot is very believable, especially in this day and age where drugs seem to be the choice of so many people to cure their ills. As Cassie works from Mexico to bring down Rick and the company that produces Socom, Thatcher works from Portland to rescue Cassie and protect the innocents who are still taking the drug--some without their consent.

A highly recommended thriller for both teens and adults!

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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