Daw Feb 2003, 6.99, 512 pp.
Spontaneous combustion is happening to teens all over America, burning from the inside out. The government has a special black ops unit called Cold Blue that is studying the problem but they have no idea how to stop it from happening. All the government knows is that teens combust on or around their fifteenth birthday.
Jimmy Somerset is a seventeen-year-old who has been in and out of foster homes all his life. His latest home is good for him and he has a job he loves. However, high school bullies won't leave him alone. One day they go too far and Jimmy causes permanent physical damage to his tormentor. He is given the option of going into the government-sponsored program TRACE or Juvenile hall. He picks TRACE not knowing he will be placed in a unit mentored by Code Blue who thinks he is the key to getting the answers to dead teens.
This is one novel where the government does not behave like an impersonal robot but as a group of caring individuals that deal with a complex problem of epic and international proportions. The children in TRACE are cared for and getting the treatment they need even if they don't know what is really going on around them. STRANGER INSIDE is a science fiction novel that keeps readers guessing until the very last paragraph.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner