The Supernaturalist, by Eoin Colfer (author of the ‘Artemis Fowl’ series) is a science-fiction novel (influenced in many ways by film noir and other predecessors of the cyberpunk science fiction movement, resulting in what could be termed a cyberpunk novel). Colfer is currently working on a sequel.
The Supernaturalist is a story set later in our current millennium, the third millennium. The story starts in an orphanage, the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, in Satellite City, a city controlled entirely by a huge satellite, under ownership of Myishi Corp. Cosmo Hill, an orphan found abandoned on Cosmonaut Hill, and his friend, Francis "Ziplock" Murphy, escape from the institute, commonly used by corporations to test new unsafe products, and a source of many beatings and 'accidental' deaths. However, Ziplock dies in the escape and Cosmo is surrounded by blue creatures that apparently are sucking the life force out of him. He is saved by a trio of youths who call themselves the Supernaturalists, shooting the creature with electricity, overloading it and causing it to explode into blue bubbles. Stefan Bashkir is the ringleader and takes his job seriously. He lost his mother three years ago and blames the blue creatures (which he calls the Parasites) for her death. Mona Vasquez is a girl about Cosmo's age. She is a professional mechanic. She was part of a street racing gang called the "Sweethearts". Stefan had to use extreme bribary to win Mona's freedom from them. Mona can also see the Parasites. The last member is a Bartoli Baby nicknamed Ditto, because he tends to repeat what people say. Bartoli Babies came from genetic experiments from a scientist named Bartoli to create a superhuman, but only succeeded in turning them into mutants. Ditto's power is inhibited growth, healing and the natural ability to see Parasites. Cosmo becomes one of them and aids them in their many missions. The Parasites are usually seen by younger people with near-death experiences.
After a certain mission concerning a competition with the Sweethearts and other rivalling gangs, the team meets Ellen Faustino, Stefan's old instructor at the Police Academy. She too can see the Parasites, but she tells them that the Parasites spawn into more Parasites when they are killed. Stefan and the team are devastated that all their hard work has just been helping their enemy. She informs them they are made of energy and recycles energy. She tells the group giving them nuclear, 'dirty' energy will kill them and gives them a device to kill the Parasites at their nest. They discover that the parasite nest is under the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. Cosmo and Stefan then head for the nest. After a little run-in with Marshal Redwood, an old nemesis of Cosmo's from his days at the institute, they rid of the Parasite nest. When they return, they see Ditto with a weakened parasite in their headquarters. Ditto makes a cut in his finger and lets the Parasite take some life force from Ditto. Stefan kicks him out, but Ditto reveals that the Parasites are benevolent. They take away people's pain, not their lifeforce. It is discovered that Ellen knew this, but she wanted the Parasites for their energy. She manipulated the Supernaturalists into knocking out the Parasites at the institute and her men are collecting their bodies, she then uses them as a replacement for water in a nuclear reactor. It is also revealed that someone can see a Parasite due to the chemical fogs found in Satellite City combined with a near-death experience. She was the one who killed Stefan's mother and almost killed him. After escaping from nearly being dissolved in acid and being wrapped (special bullet that releases litres of sticky cellophane theat completely covers the victim and in some cases can crush bones), the team confront Faustino for one last time. Her secret gunman fatally wounds Stefan, but Ditto takes his pain away, a special ability due to being a Bartoli baby (and incidentally the same ability the Parasites have), so that Stefan could fight Faustino. After a brutal fight, Stefan dies and Faustino is arrested. The parasites used to power the machine are freed to do their natural duty for humanity. The Mayor and chairman of Myishi, Ray Shine, who was earlier revealed to have known about the project, and Faustino decide to relocate their studies to the South Pole. It is implied that Faustino boarded a helicopter to Antarctica at the end of the book to complete the project. This suggests a likely sequel, and Colfer has confirmed that he is indeed working on it.
Cosmo Hill - Was discovered as a baby, abandoned on Cosmonaut Hill, which was how he got his name. From then on, he grew up in the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys. He was almost killed along with his best friend (Francis 'Ziplock' Murphy), but Cosmo was 'saved' from the Parasites by the Supernaturalists, who at the time still believed that the Parasites were bad. 14 years old when recruited into the group.
Francis 'Ziplock' Murphy - Cosmo's only real friend at Clarissa Frayne. Francis got the name "Ziplock" when he talked too much to a certain inmate at Clarissa Frayne, and got the bind from a ziplock bag glued over his mouth by another 'no-sponsor' (a child without parents) to stop him talking. He has a habit of being unable to stop talking particularly when he has a joke or insult in mind. This constantly puts him in trouble as he is always infuriating Marshal Redwood. Ziplock is killed near the beginning of the book, after fleeing Redwood and falling into a rooftop generator with Cosmo. (Cosmo gets rescued by the Supernaturalists.) Marshal Redwood - A marshal at the Clarissa Frayne Institute, he is known for his cruelty and strength. He tried to stop the Supernaturalists from setting off the pulse bomb towards the end of the book.
Stefan Bashkir - The de-facto leader of the Supernaturalists, of Russian descent. Started fighting Parasites when they supposedly killed his mother. Tragically dies at the end of the book after getting shot in the chest. He has the worries of someone much older than him, despite being only 18. He is also well over 6 feet tall. A character by the same name is mentioned in Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident.
Mona Vasquez - One of the main characters in the Supernaturalist. Former member of the Sweethearts, a street racing gang. 15 years old. She is of Spanish descent. Also Cosmo's love interest.
Lucien 'Ditto' Bonn - A "Bartoli Baby" being the product of the gene splicing experiments done by a Dr. Bartoli 28 years before the story began. He suffers several mutations because of the experiments such as arrested physical development (Ditto is 28 years old but appears to be about 6), Ditto has "healing hands" (the ability to take the pain from a person or animal's body) and being a spotter. He pointed out to the rest of the Supernaturalists near the book's end that the parasites actually fed on human pain, not on human life force as thought earlier (Ditto was caught by Mona deliberately cutting his finger and offering the pain to a parasite, proving that he knew this secret all along but never told anyone). He is the medic of the group.
Ellen Faustino - The evil mastermind who manipulates the Supernaturalists into helping her catch Parasites. Former Instructor at the Police Academy, she is now President of the Development section in Myishi Corp, and was responsible for the death of Stefan's mother. Also the one who caused Stefan's death.
Splinter - A former Supernaturalist that pre-existed Cosmo. Not much is known about Splinter, and he is never actually in the book, and only mentioned in passing. He is used as an example of how spotters can become terrified of their visions of the Parasites. He lives with blue-shaded sunglasses that hide the Parasites from his eyes, and never takes them off.
During the story the Supernaturalists use a vehicle called the 'Pigmobile' so called because it is made of pig-iron. This reference to pig-iron is also made when the book talks about Satellite City as the city's other name is the 'Big Pig' due to the abundance of pig-iron like metal.