Book review: Second Chance by Dylan Hearn

Second Chance (The Transcendence Trilogy Book 1) by Dylan Hearn

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Second-Chance-Transcendence-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B00I0945TA/ref=pd_sim_kinc_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1RXYBZMMPX0NV36MJGWN

Second Chance is thrilling and chilling. There is blood and gore, but it is the cold-blooded, or even bloodless aspect of British society that is really at the core of this story of a political system that controls everything even beyond the grave.
There are four distinct threads to the story as well as sub-stories, as murky as the crumbling cityscape. Each chapter adds a little more detail to one of the main threads, and as Dylan Hearn pulls in the threads, we begin to see through the murk to where they are all going. And it’s not a nice place, I can tell you.

The technical parts, the cloning and regeneration, the memories that are replaced in the new brain, or not, depending, seem perfectly feasible to a non-techy person like me. The idea of cheating death on the one hand, is balanced against the massacres committed by the forces of law and order on the other. Petty crime might have become rarer because of the intricate system of police surveillance and the instant data search system that has replaced the internet, but for those who can manipulate the cameras, the police, and the data collected and redisseminated, there are no limits to what horrors can be perpetrated and the evidence wiped out.

The pace is relentless, the tension maintained right the way through. I was completely caught up in the way Second Chance unfolded—expecting the worst each time I turned a page. Dylan Hearn plays with notions of morality and ethics as much as he does with science and technology and it soon becomes clear that our notions of right and wrong have become distinctly warped in this near future. The characters are real. They are in the main, not likeable, and of course, given the theme of the story, not necessarily even bona fide ‘real’ people.

If I were to compare Second Chance to another novel, I would choose PD James’ The Children of Men. This treats a similar theme, the world gone wrong, rotten and above all, insidiously untouchable at its centres of control. I highly recommend Second Chance as a thrilling and disturbing read. Sometimes it’s good to be disturbed.

Amazon.com link

Promote Yourself: Tim Baker

My last guest in this second season of author guest posts is Tim Baker. As you can see from his author pic, he looks uncannily like his Twitter avatar 🙂

dj tim (2)

Originally from Warwick, Rhode Island, Tim Baker enjoyed a 25 year career in Architecture and Engineering, followed by short stints in the natural gas industry, construction and ice cream sales before moving to Florida in 2006.

An avid dog lover, Tim was a volunteer puppy raiser for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, raising and socializing potential guide dogs. Tim has studied and taught martial arts, and he is also a certified SCUBA diver.

In addition to writing Tim is also a disc jockey on WQFB – 97.3 FM “The Surf” – www.flaglerbeachradio.com

Being a native New Englander he is a lifetime member of Red Sox Nation.

Inspired by his interest in Karma and the unexplained forces of the universe, he made his first serious attempt at writing in 1988 when he began writing a novel entitled Full Circle, a story about the far reaching effects one man’s actions can have on people he has never even met. Unfortunately without the use of a computer or even a typewriter he shelved the project due to the difficulties of trying to construct a novel completely by hand.

In early 2007 a bizarre dream inspired his first novel, appropriately called Living the Dream, and he has been cranking out books non-stop ever since. Tim writes fast-paced, off-beat crime stories set in Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, full of colorful characters and loaded with unexpected and often humorous twists and turns. He has also co-written two zombie novellas and written a few short stories for horror anthologies.

Currently, Tim is enjoying life in Palm Coast, Florida.

Here is the synopsis of Tim’s latest book, Eyewitness Blues

Martin Aquino has been dealt a rotten hand in life—from the bottom of a stacked deck.

In a flash of inspiration Martin decides the witness protection program is exactly what he needs if he’s ever going to have a quiet, normal life.

Martin didn’t exactly witness the murder, but he knows who pulled the trigger – so reporting it to the law and using it as his ticket into the program isn’t wrong.

Is it?

Unfortunately, when mob boss Don Gammino learns that his right-hand man has been named as a murder suspect he decides to teach Martin a new tune.

A chance for escape comes to him from an unexpected source, and he takes it—all the way to Flagler Beach, Florida where he gets his first taste in years of the life he’s been longing for. However, in keeping with is life in Rhode Island, his new life isn’t without its complications.

Now his only protection from Gammino and his goon squad is in the form of a wheelchair-bound bookie and an ex-Navy SEAL, named Ike, with a penchant for bending the rules.

Martin’s in a tropical paradise surrounded by people but he still feels alone in the world.

Life isn’t easy when you have the Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Eyewitness Blues

Chapter One

Martin wasn’t asking for his life to be a fun-filled ride down a waterslide…he just didn’t want to feel like it was being flushed down a toilet every day. Even on those rare occasions when he seemed to catch a lucky break it wasn’t really luck, it was more like getting plucked from the toilet and dropped directly into the cesspool.

How else could you describe his current situation?

The ape literally held Martin’s life in his hands.

“Ple-e-e-ase,” Martin begged. He could feel the blood rushing to his head. If there had been any money in his pockets it would have fallen out.

Martin’s St. Cajetan medallion dangled in front of his eyes, but his attention was focused on the expressionless face of Lorenzo the ape Aponte. Lorenzo leaned over the parapet and looked down at Martin. Lorenzo could have been reading a menu or dangling a man eight stories above the asphalt, it was impossible to tell.

Martin tilted his head back and saw a blue minivan exiting the parking garage below. He looked back up at the ape.

“Please,” he tried again. “I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. Please.”

Lorenzo released Martin’s left ankle, sending a bolt of panic through Martin’s body. He closed his eyes and waited for the impact with the ground. When he opened his eyes the ape was scratching his nose with his free right hand. He glared down at Martin and spoke for the first time.

“So talk.”

“Yeah, yeah!” Martin said. “I will! Just pull me up. Please.”

The wheels that had driven Martin Aquino to his current predicament had been put into motion a year ago with the seemingly innocent purchase of a used car. It had taken him months to save the money, nothing fancy, just a 13-year-old Honda with about a million miles on it, but at least he had a car.

Unfortunately, Martin hadn’t known that the dude who sold him the car wasn’t the rightful owner…he was the guy who had stolen it from the projects in South Providence where some idiot had left it sitting in front of a bodega with the engine running. The Rhode Island DMV hadn’t scrutinized the signatures on the paperwork any more than Martin had; a cursory glance at best, as long as the government got their money they were happy.

For a week Martin drove the car around, unaware that there was twenty-five pounds of pot in the trunk until the pot’s rightful owner, a guy named Mutt, showed up to claim his weed. Mutt gave Martin two choices…he could be buried in the car or he could work off his mistake. Martin wasn’t sure exactly what his mistake had been, other than buying the wong used car, but he knew for sure it wasn’t worth getting dead over.

So he went to work for Mutt.

Martin became Mutt’s errand boy, making pick-ups, drops and, on more than one occasion, ripping people off for thousands of dollars on phony drug deals.

It was better than being dead—until Mutt ripped off the wrong guy.

Mutt’s victim worked for local mob boss, Don Gammino, and the ten grand they got from him was collection money. Needless to say, the mark didn’t live very long after Gammino found out about the con, but he did live long enough to tell Gammino about Martin.

And now the world was upside down—literally.

From Martin’s inverted perspective, the airliner lifting off the runway at TF Green airport looked like it was trying to land on its roof.

Martin’s stomach lurched momentarily when he felt sudden movement, but he felt a wave of relief when he realized he was moving up. The ape dropped him on the concrete deck and loomed over him. Martin froze, except for the trembling.

“Okay, ass-wipe, let’s hear it,” the ape said, “and it better be the truth or your last meal is going to be pavement.”

Martin nodded rapidly.

“His name is Mutt. He made me work for him, I had no choice.”

“Where can I find this Mutt?”

“He’ll kill me if I tell you.”

The ape reached for Martin’s ankle. “You either tell me what I want to know, or we find out if you can fly.”

The look in the ape’s eyes was enough to convince Martin. He told the ape everything he knew about Mutt—where his stash house was, where he hung out and where he liked to eat breakfast.

Lorenzo stepped over Martin to leave, pausing mid-step, his work boot hovering an inch above Martin’s face. Even though he feared his face was about to get squashed by Lorenzo’s size twelve, Martin became oddly fixated on a pebble wedged into one of the treads. The stomping never came. Instead, Lorenzo laughed and continued on his way to his car.

Only after Martin heard the tires of the ape’s car squealing on the level below did he pick himself up and brush the dust from his pants. “Jesus fucking Christ, I hate my life.”

He looked around to make sure nobody heard him. A seagull hovered high above him in the grey October sky. Martin watched it with envy.

“Just fly away,” he said. “God, I wish I could just fly away to an island somewhere. All by myself. No people, no problems.”

The chirp of a nearby car alarm snapped Martin out of his trance. A man in a trench coat, carrying a briefcase, approached a nearby BMW. Martin finished dusting himself off, drawing an over-the-shoulder glance from the man as he closed his car door and pulled away.

Martin rode the elevator to the ground floor and returned to his booth at the garage’s exit. The door of the other booth opened and Frank Edler crossed the garage exit lane.

“You were gone for a while,” he said to Martin. “You’re lucky Marco didn’t—whoa! What’s wrong? You look like death-warmed-over. What happened up there?”

“Nothing,” Martin said. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it? If Marco had come by while you were up there, I would have been just as screwed as you. I have to worry about it.”

“Calm down, Frank. Marco didn’t come and I’m back. Let’s just get back to work.”

“You go up top with a leg-breaker for Don Gammino and come back a half hour later looking like death and I’m supposed to forget about it? I don’t think so.”

“Jesus, Frank. I got enough shit going on…I don’t need it from you, too.”

“I don’t care what you…”

A pickup truck pulled to a stop at Frank’s booth and the driver rolled his window down.

Martin motioned toward the truck with his chin. “Better take care of that,” he told Frank.

Frank looked over his shoulder at the truck. The driver looked back at him and waved his ticket.

“I’m not gonna get fired for you, that’s all I’m saying.” Frank stomped back to his booth.

A week later, just as Martin finished his shift and was about to leave work, a car pulled to a stop at his booth. Martin’s stomach clenched when Lorenzo rolled his window down and told Martin to get in the car. Martin was convinced that his life, as shitty as it might be, was almost over. With a strange mixture of fear and acceptance he got into the car.

To his great surprise, and even greater relief, the ape took Martin to see Don Gammino, who wanted to thank him for the information about Mutt, ensure him that he was in no danger and, surprise of all surprises, offer him a job washing dishes at his restaurant. It would mean some extra money, not a lot, but God knew he needed whatever he could get.

More than that, it meant he wasn’t going to die…not today anyway.

kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Eyewitness-Blues-Tim-Baker-ebook/dp/B00MTTRZLW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408373924&sr=8-1&keywords=Eyewitness+Blue

paperback  – http://www.amazon.com/Eyewitness-Blues-Tim-Baker/dp/0983520488/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1408373924&sr=8-1

Published works;

Living the Dream – Aug 2009

Water Hazard – Nov 2010

Backseat to Justice – July 2011

Pump It Up – Aug 2011

No Good Deed – May 2012

Unfinished Business – Aug 2013

Dying Days – The Siege of European Village (co-written w/Armand Rosamilia) – Dec 2012

Dying Days – Siege 2 (co-written w/Armand Rosamilia) – Dec 2013

To contact Tim or find out about upcoming works please visit his website at www.blindoggbooks.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BlindoggBooks

Twitter – https://twitter.com/blindoggbooks

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/2873061-tim-baker

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B002U64TCW

Thanks Tim for winding up the summer season of author promotion posts and wishing you the very best of luck with your latest release.

Bedlam by B.A. Morton

Bedlam is a book I had to have two goes at reading. The first time, I put it down after the first chapter. I had just finished an extremely harrowing story and couldn’t face more blood, death and spooks.

The second time, feeling stronger, I let it grip me in its nasty talons and read it through to the end. This is a strange story, a nightmare of a story where reality and illusion are blurred. Everything about it is blurred, the landscapes hidden under snow, the half-drunk perceptions of McNeill the main character, night and day, life and death. It’s how I imagine Limbo.

Bedlam gave me the horrors, made my flesh creep, invaded my dreams. The writing is tremendous, the tension is sustained, the characters are real and complex. The only (very minor) niggle I had was with McNeill’s fuzzy brain. I know he had to have only one foot in reality, but I felt on occasion that it would have been interesting to have his reactions as a fully compos mentis policeman, but circumstances always seemed to conspire to have him fuddled by alcohol, drugs, or blows to the head.

I don’t pretend to understand everything that was going on—I’m particularly useless at following the plots of thrillers—and the ending left me a little perplexed. But it didn’t matter. In this book atmosphere is all. I didn’t really care who was alive or dead, what was true, what was a lie, and what was complete make-believe. If you enjoy the paranormal, police thrillers, mysteries, or horror; if you like your reading to put up its fists and refuse to give up its meaning without a fight; if you don’t want the predictable, Bedlam is a novel made for you.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bedlam-B-A-Morton-ebook/dp/B00EPRF3VU#reader_B00EPRF3VU

Review: The Violin Man’s Legacy by Seumas Gallacher

Like retired footballers turning trainer, this story is about the professional soldiers, SAS and mercenaries, who retire into the security business, bringing their expertise in organised violence to the protection of legitimate businesses.
The main characters are solitary individuals, often with a personal tragedy in their baggage. This is a very shady world, where instant decisions are made about who dies and how, leaving no time for agonising over the whys and the wherefors. Morally, it’s all very easy, with few attacks of remorse afterwards. Bodies are left for the bin men to collect, and the killers of friends are tracked down remorselessly, just on the margins of legality, but with the connivance of the police.
I found myself turning the pages, hoping the characters on the ‘good’ side would not get hurt, and hoping the ‘bad’ guys would get what was coming to them. The action jets around the world, with some nice descriptions, that range from Jack’s poverty-stricken childhood in Glasgow, to the exotic brilliance of Hong Kong. The ends are all tied up in a believable way, leaving the reader with a couple of South American vignettes that stick in the mind long after the story ends. This isn’t a novel that seeks to deliver moral judgements. It’s about camaraderie and friendship. Recommended to anyone who enjoys thrillers with the emphasis on people rather than politics or espionage.

You can buy The Violin Man’s Legacy here