Phoenix Island by John Dixon


When it comes to the penal system and minors, society seems to be moving towards a more on hand approach in terms of punishment. Creating Special camps that feature or try and combine physical training with counselling in boot camps, in an attempt to re-wire the minors or teach them how to exist in a society without breaking the law. Even parents and TV programmes are getting in on the action. There are quite a few television series that send badly behaving teens to strict environments, parents or camps to try and gain control over the out of control delinquents.
Unfortunately there are scenarios both in real life and in the setting of this book where the people running the camps do so in the spirit of their own personal agenda and that isn’t always in the best interest of the minor.
Such is the case on Phoenix Island, a camp for juvenile delinquents, which turns out to be not much more than a place to rewire the strong kids and get rid of the weak ones. The main character Carl has a long history of losing his temper with bullies. He feels strongly about defending what is morally right and punishing those who think they can hurt the weak. Unfortunately this also means he has ended up in the prison system and his last sentencing sends him on his way to Phoenix Island.
Carl learns fairly quickly that things are not quite what they seem to be and good intentions go flying out the window as soon as the first incidence of bullying occurs. For the first time in his life he makes friends and gets attached to people. Of course that makes him more vulnerable because those attachments become his weakness.
As a sub-plot the author has introduced an element of concentration camp type medical experimentation and nano-technology combined with secret mercenary type soldiers who appear to be closely linked to the Island.
I liked the story, although the ending was completely out of left field and left me wondering where the author would take it next.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.


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