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Review – Sea of Crises June 26, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4.5 stars, Thriller.
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Title: Sea of Crises

Author: Mary Steere

Publisher: Penfield Publications

Publisher date: April 10, 2012

ISBN-10: 0985401400

Available at: Amazon – Barnes and Noble

Summary (From Publisher):

“That shouldn’t be here.” Those are the last words uttered by Commander Bob Cartwright in September 1976, just before all communication with the crew of Apollo 18 is inexplicably lost during the astronauts’ first moonwalk. Frantic attempts to re-establish communications with the astronauts are unsuccessful. Three days later, however, as NASA is scrambling to put together a rescue mission, astronomers detect a burn of the service propulsion system, and, on schedule, but still in eerie silence, the command module begins its return transit, culminating in the welcome sight of the capsule descending majestically beneath a trio of parachutes into the South Pacific. But when the hatch is opened, the navy divers tasked with assisting the astronauts into the recovery helicopter make a gruesome discovery. The bodies of the three men inside have been burned beyond recognition, victims of a failed heat shield. And with them has died any chance of learning the meaning of Cartwright’s enigmatic last statement or what transpired during those three blacked out days in the Mare Crisium, or Sea of Crises. Unfortunately, unless and until man returns to the moon, it’s a mystery that will remain forever unsolved. Or will it? Thirty-six years later, Cartwright’s sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father’s capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father. What they’ve uncovered puts the three brothers on the run, chased by a ruthless group who will stop at nothing to preserve the secret behind the fate of the Apollo 18 astronauts. The brothers will need to set aside past differences and pool their talents if they are to stay alive and unravel the mystery behind what really happened in the Sea of Crises.

Review*:

I normally don’t accept thrillers. For some reason I thought this had a sci-fi element to it but it doesn’t. Nonetheless this book still had excellent plot development. It moved along at a nice clip and I found myself involved from the very beginning.

The Cartwright brothers were well-fleshed out. They were all multi-layered and had many believable facets. Their interactions were very interesting to read about. I especially enjoyed reading about the twins. There was a lot of conflict there as one twin was gay and the other had judged him harshly for it.

Even the minor characters were well-developed. Tim’s method of coping with the stress of being on the run by reading paperbacks stands out to me. A fellow reader will always stand out to me.

The dog was a nice touch. It brought a level of humanity to the book that I don’t think would have been there otherwise. I was always in fear of the dog getting hurt. I have a soft spot for pets.

Like all thrillers there was some unbelievable parts to the novel. I could suspend my belief though for the sake of the story. They weren’t so far-fetched to stretch my suspension beyond control.

All in all, it was an extremely well-written book with lots of believable thrills and chills.  Af ter I finished the book I was even ready for more thrillers by the same author, which is saying something.

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Dark Steps June 13, 2012

Posted by thehypermonkey in 4 stars, Horror, Thriller.
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Title: Dark Steps

Author: Martin Pond

Genre: Thriller/Horror

Publisher:  Martin Pond

Publish Date: August 11, 2011

ASIN:  B005GQ84CE

Available at: AmazonBarnes and Noble

From Amazon:

A collection of short stories, a series of twist endings, and one author’s dark steps back into writing…

A teenage boy waits to take a sinister test he may or may not pass; a new father hears a strange voice on his daughter’s baby monitor; a poisoner’s best-laid plans go terribly astray; an enigmatic man gets as close to death as he can; a young boy wonders why Christmas just doesn’t feel right this year; after the year from hell, a man is driven to extreme measures; a dying man reveals a black secret to his son; and, after four years in limbo, a man’s life starts to unravel…

Review:

All seven of these short stories are rather disturbing as implied by the title and description, but they’re all well written.  I particularly liked the story “Near-Death Experience”. It’s about a man who chooses to get as close to death as he can. I also liked the story “The Inheritance”, which was about a death-bed confession.

The stories were all very compelling and they drew me in so that I nearly read the book in one sitting. I would have read the book in one, but life got in the way. It’s not a very long book. It’s only 54 pages, but it’s very intense. There’s a lot to take in in such a short time frame.

At the end of the book there’s an excerpt from the author’s upcoming novel, “Drawn to the Deep End“.  I have to admit I enjoyed this the least of all. Maybe I’d enjoy more of the book if there were more to read.

A lot of the resolutions of the stories were a little too predictable, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying them. I’m not normally a short story person, but this collection of short stories were a great read.

*I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.