The Monster

The Monster is an e-book assumed published, copyright and written by Josh Soule.

The story opens at Chapter Zero with the protagonist reminiscing about life as it was in his earlier years and finally about the bedtime stories his parents told him. Especially he remembered his mother always telling of monsters, how they were real and among us today and that “Once in every generation, a monster awakens.” Then suddenly, he must breathe deeply to slow his heart rate, check himself to determine that he had no wounds and that the blood on his hands was not his. The room was a mess looking “like a warehouse in a low-budget horror movie” with a woman’s body on the floor leaking blood. He wondered if it was Debbie or just some unfortunate woman because “it was not unreasonable to think that an innocent person had died here, the world can be unpredictable and unfair like that sometimes”. Then chapter one begins with the twenty-two year old protagonist in a college class and gradual introductions to his close friend Tony, his ex-girlfriend Kelly and later his mother Susan who is a friend of Kelly’s mother Karen. We learn that Susan is undergoing therapy for a relatively recently discovered cancer lesion that had been caught early and responding well to the therapy. However she constantly picks fights and continues her pattern of poor treatment of him that has included quite intense verbal and physical abuse since his father left when the boy was twelve. The reader then is introduced to activity at the school and the school’s Halloween party where we meet Police Officer Erickson because of violence occurring from involvement of a shadowy figure that only our protagonist sees. The results make him appear to be the guilty person for the altercation, so he runs, meets and joins a group of misfits and criminals and the story escalates still without providing an indication of where the tale is going and how it will end. Regrettably, any further information would be a distinct disservice to interested readers.

Discussion: This is a very well-, and intriguingly-written psychological thriller following the activity of a mentally disturbed individual exhibiting much of the background for, and many symptoms of, dissociative identity disorder. The only disappointing features of the story from this reader’s perspective are the protagonist’s level of maturity which seems more that of a teen-age high schooler rather than that of a 22-year-old university student (which possibly can be at least partially excused as resulting from reaction stemming from the degree of abuse) and a seeming amount of unnecessary redundancy.

4* 5* Compellingly written psychological thriller; -1 for reasons described.

 

 

The Chemist

 

 

The Chemist, an e-book of an award-winning novel first published in 2010. Fearless Publishing, copyright and written by Jason Mancheski.

The story opens with the kidnapping of a young woman in an unusual manner and with her disappearance even her automobile cannot be found. The perpetrators are described to an extent with specific attention to the shadowy ‘Chemist’. The reader then is introduced to Cale Van Waring the detective lieutenant heading the special crimes unit of the Green Bay, Wisconsin PD. He becomes lead investigator on the missing woman case that begins to worsen when more blond young women completely disappear along with their automobiles. He is aided in his search particularly by longtime partner James “Slink” Dooley and Sargent Anton Staszak and their first ‘break’ is the gruesome discovery of the first woman’s decapitated body appearing in the waters of Lake Michigan. Cale has other, personal, problems with which he is struggling. He and Maggie Jeffers, a beautiful young lawyer with the Public Defender’s Office, have been living happily together now for fourteen months but since the relationship appears to be going nowhere, she has given him until a late July date to make up his mind, or she will leave. From here, the manner in which the story proceeds to unfold, both with respect to the missing persons’ investigation and the Cale/Maggie relationship, is quite convoluted. It also, is this reviewer’s opinion, would be a disservice to the prospective reader to divulge more aspects of the process. Suffice it to say that the story involves Chloe, Maggie’s 2-year-olded clairvoyant sister, along with several gang members, and other sinister characters with a mounting amount of evidence pointing toward the despicable but unfortunately lucrative human trafficking industry.

Discussion: The author has provided a quite involved plot with variously described characters set in a suspenseful multi-genre tale. The protagonist perhaps is a little too strong in his tenacity of purpose when mixed with his ambivalence on a number of counts and his strong adherence to his own particular mindset with respect to others. However, it is a tale that most readers should enjoy and the brief synopsis at the end of this volume presenting the following book’s opening lines should enhance one’s interest in proceeding to the next in the series.

4* Suspenseful multi-genre tale readers should enjoy.