Synopses & Reviews
WINNER OF THE BRAM STOKER AWARD FOR SUPERIOR ACHIEVEMENT IN A YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
John Dixon’s critically acclaimed Phoenix Island reads like “Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke” (F. Paul Wilson, creator of Repairman Jack). For fans of The Bourne Identity, Alex Rider, and Melissa Marr.
The judge told Carl that one day he’d have to decide exactly what kind of person he would become. But on Phoenix Island, the choice will be made for him.
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…
"An unusual premise makes Dixon's thriller debut a welcome series kickoff. Carl Freeman, a 16-year-old orphan, can't help himself from intervening on behalf of the bullied, and, given his boxing prowess, the results for the aggressors are often quite serious. After another such run-in, a judge sentences Carl to 'a military-style boot camp,' Phoenix Island, until he turns 18. The facility is worse than anything he could have imagined, with sadistic drill sergeants, violent fellow detainees, and plenty of bullies. Carl's independence earns him the enmity of a particularly cruel drill sergeant. Carl discovers a journal that suggests some of his predecessors were actually killed, indicating that something beyond tough love is going on. There are some predictable elements Carl falls for an attractive girl with a secret but the pacing and smooth prose will have suspense fans waiting for the next book, as well as the upcoming CBS adaptation, Intelligence. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Filled with both menace and heart, Phoenix Island stands out in all the right ways."
“Fast-paced and thoroughly engrossing – I could not put it down!”
"Lord of the Flies meets Wolverine and Cool Hand Luke. A tribute to the indomitable human spirit that challenges the mob and chooses values over expediency."
"This action-packed novel (with YA crossover appeal) combines adventure with extreme violence and concerns a young boxer sent to a very special youth boot camp.... When things come to a head, Carl finds that all of his suspicions about the island prove even worse than he thought in this crisply written and imaginative effort. Dixon’s page-turner will keep readers of all ages enthralled. A fast-paced, exciting novel with the promise of future installments."
"An unusual premise makes Dixon’s thriller debut a welcome series kickoff... the pacing and smooth prose will have suspense fans waiting for the next book, as well as the upcoming CBS adaptation, Intelligence."
The story that inspired CBS TV’s Intelligence
. Phoenix Island was supposed to be a boot camp for troubled children. But as one boy learns, the secrets of this jungle are as vast as they are deadly.
When sixteen-year-old boxing champ Carl Freeman jumps in to defend a helpless stranger, he winds up in real trouble—a two-year sentence at an isolated boot camp for orphans. Carl is determined to tough it out, earn a clean record, and get on with his life. Then kids start to die.
Realizing Phoenix Island is actually a Spartan-style mercenary organization turning “throwaway kids” into super-soldier killers, Carl risks everything to save his friends and stop a madman bent on global destruction.
“Fast-paced and thoroughly engrossing—I could not put it down!” raves Lissa Price, international bestselling author of Starters. And Melissa Marr says, “Filled with both menace and heart, Phoenix Island stands out in all the right ways."
About the Author
John Dixon is a former Golden Gloves boxer, youth services caseworker, prison tutor, and middle school English teacher. You can visit his blog at JohnDixonBooks.com.