Phoenix Island

Phoenix Island by John Dixon

A champion boxer with a sharp hook and a short temper, sixteen-year-old Carl Freeman has been shuffled from foster home to foster home. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble—using his fists to defend weaker classmates from bullies. His latest incident sends his opponent to the emergency room, and now the court is sending Carl to the worst place on earth: Phoenix Island.

Classified as a “terminal facility,” it’s the end of the line for delinquents who have no home, no family, and no future. Located somewhere far off the coast of the United States—and immune to its laws—the island is a grueling Spartan-style boot camp run by sadistic drill sergeants who show no mercy to their young, orphan trainees. Sentenced to stay until his eighteenth birthday, Carl plans to play by the rules, so he makes friends with his wisecracking bunkmate, Ross, and a mysterious gray-eyed girl named Octavia. But he makes enemies, too, and after a few rough scrapes, he earns himself the nickname “Hollywood” as well as a string of punishments, including a brutal night in the “sweatbox.” But that’s nothing compared to what awaits him in the “Chop Shop”—a secret government lab where Carl is given something he never dreamed of.

A new life. A new body. A new brain.

Gifts from the fatherly Old Man, who wants to transform Carl into something he’s not sure he wants to become. For this is no ordinary government project. Phoenix Island is ground zero for the future of combat intelligence. And for Carl, it’s just the beginning.

Carl has a good heart and feels an uncontrollable urge to help kids getting bullied. But his anger takes over and he loses control, feeling no remorse for the bullies. And Phoenix Island is no reform school. Things go from bad to worse as Carl uncovers the truth behind the island.

Phoenix Island is the inspiration for the CBS’ new show Intelligence. But besides a computer chip in someone’s head funded by a secret organization, the similarities end. Phoenix Island is more Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game – a militaristic camp where only the strongest survive. This dystopian thriller is a fast-paced read with vivid characters. It’s gritty, dark, and emotional. The suspense builds to an exciting conclusion, left open for a promising series.