It all begins with a young man named Joe. His last name isn't important. He's just Joe, and Joe is a soldier in a War that has been raging for ages. He's a killer, a trained assassin whose job it is to kill members of the other side, just as they killed his family members and have been doing so for generations. Their kills are always hidden as accidents, random burglaries, car accidents, etc., so the war proceeds with none but the players the wiser. One side is good and one side is evil and no one knows which is which, but both sides think they are in the right and both sides are highly organized. This war has very specific rules and the punishment for breaking said rules is death... or worse. Rule 1: No Killing Innocent Bystanders; Rule 2: No killing anyone under the age of 18. And so on.
After Joe and his two close friends, Jared and Michael, also soldiers, puff off synchronous hits in New York, the boys decided to take a little much deserved vacation to the Jersey Shore. Soldiers aren't supposed to fraternize or even know each others' identities, so the fact that these childhood friends get together like this is a big no-no, but sometimes they just need a break. Unfortunately, all hell breaks loose while they are in Jersey and they barely escape with their lives. Joe is then sent to complete a hit in Montreal, but during the course of a job, he is smitten by a beautiful young college student named Maria and he pretty much falls instantly in love.
Now, love is not easy for soldiers in this war. Once someone becomes a member of the family, they are no longer innocent bystanders and are fair game, something Joe knows only too well, since his last remaining family member is his mom. But he can't get Maria out of his head, even when the job goes horribly wrong and the mark escapes death. Joe tries to convince his handler, Matt, to send him back to Montreal to finish the job, so he can once again be close to Maria, but that doesn't happen for quite some time. However, the spark that was kindled when Joe and Maria first met stays alive and she waits for him.
However, young love can't last long for a trained assassin and Joe longs to tell Maria the truth about who he is and what he does. Can Joe find a way to quit the War and still survive, finding happiness and a sense of normalcy with Maria? Soon Joe finds himself on the run with Maria, not only from the other side, but from his own team as well. It will take all of Joe's training and wits to keep them alive, because now, he has something worth fighting for.
Children of Paranoia is a fantastic read, one that is really hard to put down. I really enjoyed Trevor Shane's writing style. It was clipped at times, short and to-the-point sentences, almost machine gun in fashion, but I loved it. It made me want to read it all the more quickly. I can honestly say that while I had some thoughts about what might happen in the book, it kept me guessing on certain aspects to the end. On that same note, I felt like the book ended only to set the reader up for a future book and for that, I was somewhat let down. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to read the continuation of the story and truly, this one did "wrap up" but it also left me hanging in a way, which of course, I can't reveal without blowing the ending. Suffice it to say that one can't expect a generations-long war to wrap up cleanly in just under 400 pages, but what you can expect is one hell of a ride. Although the book doesn't hit shelves until September, you can whet your palette a little bit by reading the first few pages at the book's official site (see the links section below). But I warn you, it will only leave you longing for more. Highly, highly recommended.