The Shrinking Man - Richard Matheson

***** Terrifying, distressing, brilliant

This review will be short. This is how they come out when I like a book so much that I couldn’t find any fault in it and at the same time when a few masterfully orchestrated elements are what makes it a good book. This is the case of this fairly short novel by Matheson. It narrates the unusual story of a man who, because of a radioactive cloud, has developed a disease that make him shrink of one inch a day.
The story unfolds on two parallel timelines. One narrated by the now tiny protagonist, locked in the basement of his house, where he must daily fight to get food and survive the ambush of a huge spider (from his point of view). In the second, however, the character recounts the events that led him from being a normal man to be so small that he cannot get out of the basement.
While reading, the identification with the main character is total. The reader feels his shame while getting smaller, as well as his terror as he tries to survive in the hostile environment of the basement that gets bigger every day. On the one hand, you are curious to know why he ended up down there and apparently nobody cares; on the other, you want to find out what will happen the day when his height should be reduced to zero. And the author plays well his cards, increasing the tension at maximum and then switching to the other timeline, and then repeating the same crescendo.
And so, as you go ahead with the reading, you never know what could happen in the next page, and the ending itself, wonderful and brilliant in its simplicity, leaves you speechless.
I would add that, although it is a book from a few decades ago, it seems almost contemporary. I didn’t notice, in the language or in the way that the narrative develops, any particular ingenuity or other aspect that reminded me of its age. But that doesn’t surprise me that much, because up to now it has almost always been the case with Matheson’s novels.

The Shrinking Man on Amazon.

Lucky criminologists and maladroit criminals

One of the most common ways to find out the culprit of a crime, in fiction, is to let a tiny physical evidence be found on them, or maybe their car, thus linking them undoubtedly to the scene or even the victim; or to find (always unique and very small) evidence on the scene or the victim that is certainty linked to a suspect.
It seems easy to detect such evidence (Abby Sciuto from “NCIS”, in the photo, does it all the time) and, when it happens, this discovery is almost overwhelming, often pushing the suspect to confess.

A typical example is some paint found on a car forced off the road by another vehicle. It is quite common that, following a violent impact, some paint is transferred from one car to another; indeed it almost always happens. Think about all the times you found a little gift on the bumper of your car by someone who leaned to it while parking or who made a mistake while exiting from a parking space.
But is it really possible to trace back the model and manufacturing year of the car? Generally not, because the same widespread paints are used in different models, often different brands, in different periods, and even if the type of paint is determined (besides the colour, I mean), this doesn’t narrow too much the search field. The only exception occurs when you have to do with some very rare paint used in an equally rare vehicle, for example, a limited series or a classic car with the original paint. Usually here a sci-fi database comes out like magic, which in five minutes at most starting from a paint chip pulls out the photo of the car that, incidentally, is so rare that very few people in the whole town (and we often talk about big towns or even cities, like New York) have one, including a potential suspect that shows another small link with the victim.
There you have it: a tenuous link with the victim plus the same paint of their car, and the suspect collapses.
Yes, I killed her!

Sometimes I wonder why these criminals are so maladroit or unfortunate enough to use rare vehicles to carry out their misdeeds.
This so unusual that (almost) never occurs in the real world. Usually even being able to go back to the colour and perhaps the brand of the car is just one more element to substantiate the suspicions about a specific person, but doesn’t add any certainty.
But there is a particular situation where the paint can be important and become an irrefutable proof: when a car has been repainted several times and the same stratification is found as physical evidence.
But a doubt always remains. Are we sure that the transfer took place precisely during the crime and not earlier? Most times we are not.
This is the problem that plagues all kinds of residues, whether it’s paint, glass, dirt, and even the one coming from a gunshot: we cannot establish the precise moment when it settled.

Let’s think about glass. The murderer broke a window to enter the house of the victim. The suspect has a tiny fragment of glass on them. Is it the culprit? Assuming also that the glass is of the same type, it could also be someone who has been on the scene after the crime, or maybe who visited a neighbour of the victim, in the same building, who has an identical glass, which is broken.
Here, as for the paint, applies the case of very rare types of material, but that would be a stroke of luck.

What about the soil? Well, in TV series such as “CSI” it isn’t unusual that from micro-grains of soil found under the soles or on the clothing of a victim they come to find out exactly the primary scene of the crime. There is always some pollen from an exotic plant that is grown only in one place within hundreds or thousands of kilometres, where, despite a size of several hectares, our investigators discover more physical evidence pointing to the culprit. Obviously there is a special database with all pollens: you just have to do a banal search by image. Never once it happens that they find a very common soil or that the place of origin is so broad to be a dead end or that it is then found out that the soil ended up on the victim as a result of a chain of common contamination that leads to absolutely no result.

And then there are gunshot residues.
When firing, a cloud of residues is ejected by the weapon, containing elements such as antimony, barium, and lead, with a composition that is typically specific of a certain weapon with a certain type of bullets.
If a person was killed with a certain weapon, which was found, and the same gunpowder residue produced by it is detected on the hand of the suspect, it is very likely that he/she pulled the trigger.
What if they have used a pair of gloves? Well, residues may still have ended up on their clothes, only that in this case there would be no certainty that they shot. The suspect may also have been in the vicinity, while someone else was shooting, or even got into contact with the murderer at a later time and have nothing to do with the crime. On second thought, if they shook hands with the murderer shortly after the shot, they could have the same gunpowder residue, even if they aren’t the culprit. It gets even more complicated, if we’re dealing with people who use weapons and are routinely subjected to multiple contaminants from gunshot residues.

In short, all the physical evidence that is used very often in fiction (and we love it) to nail the culprit, in reality, most of the time are totally or nearly useless.
But in fiction we like to have fun and authors of crime fiction like me are in their element when using this. For example, I mentioned gunshot residue in the second chapter of “The Mentor”, in which Detective Shaw leads a man suspected of being a killer for hire to confess a murder, after having framed him with false fingerprints on the murder weapon. The suspect, a certain Damien Johnson, is led to think that he cannot prove his innocence (there is also the fact that he isn’t innocent), because, although during the crime he was wearing gloves and so couldn’t possibly leave fingerprints, he has recently used a weapon during his job as security guard and then the gunpowder residue along with the false evidence nails him. To refute it he should say that he used a pair of gloves, but that would still be a confession. Eric knows that the two residues may not match, but Johnson, who is aware to be guilty, is so resented about being framed that he doesn’t even think about it (perhaps he even doesn’t know that the residues may have different compositions: indeed he isn’t a criminologist!) and he decides to negotiate a plea bargain. The story then quickly goes on, the character is put aside and the reader doesn’t think about it anymore.

Similarly no one is scandalised if in “Bones”, when they examine the skeleton of a victim (who knows why, anyway, they always decide to strip the flesh from the victims to find out how they died, even from all those that are found whole, while in other series a normal autopsy is more than enough), they always find only a tiny trace embedded in a bone (of course) from which a series of clues comes out leading to the killer. If we were to reflect on each decision made by the characters, we would soon realise that they could have made many different ones, which would take them completely off the track. What else could I say? They must be geniuses (and Temperance Brennan constantly emphasises that), but on second thought, it seems that they are just very lucky!

Could it be the reason why, in fiction, the cases are solved in a day, but often in the real world after years of investigation, even when they seem to be solved, you are never sure you have found the real culprit?
Yes, even in this case we cannot deny it: although reality often exceeds imagination, fiction is much more fun and, above all, reassuring.

“The Mentor” at €0.99 on Amazon in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy until 9/30

What if someone you love were a serial killer?

Detective Eric Shaw has to answer to this question, when he starts suspecting a person he knows well and love may be the serial killer whose murders, the Black Death Killings, he’s currently investigating.
What will he do when he discovers he is right?

Find it out by reading “The Mentor”:

And if you live in one of these European countries (Germany, France, Spain, and Italy), you can now get your copy of the ebook edition of “The Mentor” at only €0.99 throughout September and learn more about Detective Shaw and his pupil.

The Mentor” is also available in paperback and as audiobook on all major online retailers. And if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it for free!

Interview with Anna Persson from “Red Desert” on The Protagonist Speaks

On 20 July 2016, the same date of the 40th anniversary of Viking 1 landing on Mars, Anna Persson, the main character in my “Red Desert” series set on the Red Planet, appeared in an interview of The Protagonist Speaks, a blog by Assaph Mehr.

As you can imagine, his blog collects very special interviews with characters from fiction books, which are a nice and quite original way to meet their stories and maybe be appealed into reading them.
Anna had actually given the original interview in Italian on a website called Kuiper Belt and it was translated, thanks to the help of Eric Klein (another fellow author), into English, thus giving you the chance to read it.

I must inform you that the interview was made after the end of the series, so it can include some spoilers. It also casts light on the open ending of the series and reveals some interesting background.
So Anna escapes from her confinement on Twitter and takes a seat in front of her interviewer to tell us something more about her, Hassan, her family, her present, letting us prefigure something about her future.

And if you haven’t already read the series (4 books), you can try the first book, “Red Desert - Point of No Return”, starting from $0.99 (ebook) on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook UK, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, Oyster, Scribd, 24Symbols, and Tolino.
It is also available as paperback starting from $5.99 on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace Store, and more online book retailers.

A Cry in the Night - Mary Higgins Clark

** Naive cliché

I should say that the review contains some spoilers, but in fact the plot is so obvious that I don’t think it’s necessary.
Let’s start with the few positive aspects of this novel.
The prose is definitely beautiful and clean. The author is very good in managing the point of view of the protagonist and overall the text compels you to a quick read, though I must confess that I was in a hurry to finish it just to get rid of it as soon as possible.
But despite the excellent technical skills, the story is just a naive cliché.
The useless prologue makes it clear immediately how the story will be developed and how it will end: it anticipates the child’s death (which then actually occurs at about 80% of the novel), shows that she is alone and that there is something strange regarding her husband.
Everything else is clarified in the first chapters.
Jenny, the main character, is absolutely non-credible. Whenever does it happen that a single mother, divorced, so experienced, in New York (not in the smallest village), immediately trusts the first guy who shows interest on her? Indeed, she should doubt this sudden interest. He proposes to her after a week! Any woman would run like hell and someone like her, who has two daughters, faster than any other. This lack of credibility makes her annoying because of her excessive stupidity, weakness, and total lack of temper.
The fact that the story is set in the 80s can justify the plot being overworn (at the time it wasn’t so overworn), but not its poor development and two-dimensional characters.
He looks sinister since the beginning. After reading the prologue, it is natural to question him immediately, all the more because of his way of being intrusive and overbearing with a woman he just met and of whom he is interested because she is almost identical to his dead mother, another reason why any sane person would immediately run away from him.
The author attempts to confuse the facts and make you doubt the protagonist fail miserably. Not once she has managed to divert me from the conviction, gained from the first moment I met Erich in the first chapter, that there was something wrong with him, that he was the cause of everything. The late inclusion of elements of doubt seems like clutching at straws and the tendency of the protagonist to give credit to them makes her appear even more stupid and weak.
The ending is predictable. How do you think a story like this would end? Come on!
The veiled (but not too much) reference to Psycho must have made Hitchcock turn in his grave.
It was the first time I read a book by Higgins Clark and, no doubt, it will be the last.

A Cry in the Night on Amazon.

Crime scenes and artistic licences

Being a crime thriller fan myself, as a reader and author, but also viewer, I’ve always been intrigued by the way in which reality of investigative procedures, in particular concerning forensic science, is reinterpreted in fiction (including TV shows and films) for showing it in a way that is comprehensible and able to entertain the audience. One thing I have always noticed is that anyone who is the protagonist of the story, whether it’s a detective, a medical examiner, a criminologist, a prosecutor, a lawyer or even an anthropologist, that character automatically rises to a crucial role in the investigation.

Of course, the procedures vary from one country to another and with respect to the United States, a frequent scenario in which a reader/viewer comes across, even from state to state, so it is not absurd to think that depending on the location where the story takes place the dynamics between people who work to discover the culprit of some crime (generally a murder) are ruled differently.
But, beyond individual cases, I’m more inclined to think that this phenomenon is simply the result of artistic licence. Except when the protagonist is a detective, which by definition has the role to investigate, all the stories with different positions as protagonist must necessarily yield to the will of their creator, so that action involves the main character, and therefore the story works.

The role of medical examiner is one of the most popular. Do you remember “Quincy”? It is a series broadcasted NBC between the 70s and 80s that features a pathologist who finds himself investigating cases of murder. I was too young back then, but I happened to watch it more recently on Sky, and despite the effect of the passing of time, I always find it very compelling.
A similar situation is seen in TV series such as “Crossing Jordan”, “Body of Proof” or the recent “Rosewood”, without forgetting the fiction series of Kay Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell: all series in which pathologists or medical examiners (there is always a lot of confusion about the terminology, which gets worse because of the translations into other languages) will get busy to find the culprit, as if they were detectives, and often risk their life.

The role of the criminologist, however, owes much to the CSI franchise, which has brought it to light for the first time, so that significant interest in it was created in the public and increased the number of young people who wish to pursue this career, and then maybe find that it is much less exciting and decisive in the resolution of a case than how it looks on TV! In this regard, I wrote about the “CSI effect” in an old article.

In the constant search for a possible new star of the investigations that it is not the classic detective, they even came to the forensic anthropologist in “Bones, a TV series inspired by Kathy Reichs’s (who is a real forensic anthropologist) novels, where Dr. Temperance Brennan along with their colleagues at the Jeffersonian Institute (which does not exist!) in Washington solves brutal murder cases. Okay, along with her is also FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth, but, let’s face it, the engine of all is Brennan.

The reality on how you carry out the investigations of a murder is different, of course, but that doesn’t matter, because we’re talking about fiction, not documentaries. What matters is that the story works and that the reader/viewer is having fun.
And, anyway, the artistic licences go well beyond the roles of the characters. Just think of the clothing on a crime scene. Whoever has watched only an episode of “CSI: Miami” has certainly noticed criminologists wandering among corpses in elegant suits (men) or impeccable lady’s suit complete with shoes with high heels (women). And all this in hot Florida. Where are the protective overalls, shoe covers, hoods and everything else? The maximum that you can see on them is latex gloves!
Not to mention the fact that at the appropriate time they all become perfect shooters or skilled negotiators or that the most insignificant physical evidence (e.g. the usual fibre) is enough to nail the murderer, since there is a database of everything.
In short, artistic licences are everywhere and we are not always able to identify the boundary between reality and fiction. And, all in all, we aren’t even interested.

Personally, being a biologist, I am fascinated by forensic science, but rather at a theoretical level. Having worked in the past in a university laboratory (although my “investigations” were in the field of ecology, so definitely a lot more cheerful!) I know perfectly well that it is a job made of slow procedures, often not entirely reliable, full of repetitions and inconclusive results, where you produce a flood of data of which only a small part is really useful or usable. If the stories narrated what it really means to analyse all the evidence from the scene of a crime, their consumer would be bored to death.
This is why you come to the artistic licence: in books, movies or TV series, each event must push the action forward and it doesn’t matter how the characters are dressed, what their capabilities are or what exactly their roles should be.

So when I found myself writing for the first time a procedural crime thriller, “The Mentor”, on one hand I tried as much as possible to keep a certain inherent logic within the plot as well as a substantial scientific plausibility, on the other hand it was me as author who created the rules that govern the world in which my characters move.
This is how my version of the scientific department at Scotland Yard comes from, where criminologists are almost all also police officers (which is not true in reality) and, as such, not only they own a weapon (most British police officers are not armed), but use it with ease. In addition, I never specify if they are wearing any special protection on the scene, apart from the usual latex gloves, but then I don’t even say the opposite.
Even the explanation of their ranks within the police is minimized according to the needs of the plot. For example, the main character, Detective Shaw, is chief of a scientific team, but only in the second book I clarify that he is a detective chief inspector, because he mentions about a possible promotion, which then will fall into the plot of the final book of the trilogy: “Beyond the Limit”. Similarly in the second book you discover that officer Mills became a sergeant: the reason is to further show the fact that two years have passed.
Sometimes, moreover, the characters can count on futuristic technologies invented by me (like the program used by Martin Stern in “Syndrome” to create an explorable computer recreation of the crime scene) that accompany the real ones, for which I performed specific research (the detection of fingerprints with silver/black powder or blood with luminol).

I also admit that only half of such research is derived from the study of techniques and procedures used in real life, through an online course that I attended (created by the University of Leicester) and of course Google, while the other half comes from my TV, cinema, and fiction background.
Besides, the reader uses it as term of comparison and, basically, reproducing some aspects already seen in a book or on TV does nothing but reinforce the suspension of disbelief and, ultimately, increases the enjoyment of the novel.
The purpose is to entertain and artistic licence is and always will be an essential element in achieving this goal, even when it comes to the most rigorous matters, like science.

Blackout - Marc Elsberg

***** Realistic, scary, unpredictable

It is no coincidence that Marc Elsberg is compared to Frank Schätzing. This novel is really a beautiful European techno-thriller, which surpasses in quality the works of many overseas colleagues. The story of an extended blackout throughout Europe is particularly disturbing since the scenarios are very realistic. It doesn’t take place in the future, but is something that could happen right now. We used to take for granted the availability of electrical power, but what would happen if this were missing for days or weeks? What would be the consequences? But, above all, what or who might be the cause?
All these aspects are explored in “Blackout”.
The technical part is very accurate and interesting, a sign that the author must have done great research (although he admits that he had taken various licences), but despite the abundance of information, it is never boring.
The novel can be defined choral, because it moves so many characters, which at the beginning seem separate from each other, but whose stories eventually converge. And, even if they are numerous, Elsberg manages to characterise them well. In particular I felt involved in the adventures of Piero, who is what could be referred to as the protagonist.
The decision to give the role of hero to an Italian is surprising, since it was made by a German author. Indeed, virtually all of the most positive characters of the novel are not German, while Germans often appear those who make mistakes (sometimes fraudulently) or are too rigid in their positions and therefore unable to find real solutions.
I read another novel on a similar topic, entitled “Cyber ​​Storm” by Matthew Mather (Canadian author). It dealt with an Internet blackout and the consequent loss of power supply in a New York City plagued by a long snowstorm. But “Blackout” is, in my opinion, a better work because it illustrates a more realistic scenario, and above all it is a real techno-thriller, as it shows the sabotage to the electricity network and how everybody tries to get to the bottom of it. “Cyber ​​Storm”, on the other hand, focuses on the drama of the protagonist who has no idea what is going on and has nothing to do with the investigations. In addition, the technology is only hinted at, making the plot slide into a post-apocalyptic cliché. I must say that in certain creative scopes Europeans have the ability to get out from the clichés, to think outside the lines, and create original stories and unpredictable developments, while overseas authors sometimes tend to return to certain topics.
Even the character of Piero, a hacker from Milan, is credible. There aren’t the usual stretches that are seen in the works of foreign authors when they describe Italian characters.
Finally I must say that, despite being a very long book, I read it all in a few days. I could not stop and I could not wait to get back to read.
I tried to think what could be a downside to “Blackout”, in relation to my taste, but in all honesty I have not found one.

Blackout (English edition, available on 9 February 2017) on Amazon.
Blackout (original edition in German) on Amazon.

Why I am enthusiastic about Star Trek Beyond, but also the previous ones

I’ve never been a Trekkie. Sure, I am a science fiction fan and I live on this planet, therefore I have met several times the Star Trek franchise throughout my life. I watched a few episodes of all series and some films as well.
The only series I watched from the first to the last episode (though not exactly in that order) was Star Trek Voyager. It happened for a series of random circumstances. It was broadcasted on Canal Jimmy (in Italy), if I’m not wrong, every day in the morning while I was having breakfast, before going to the lab (when I used to work at the university). But I really liked it. I especially liked the character of Seven Of Nine and her inner conflict.
I also started watching Enterprise. I watched one or two seasons, but then I wasn’t able to catch it anymore on TV. I always promise to myself to retrieve it.

My relationship with the other series has always been a little tepid. Although I am too young for the classic series, it is definitely the one that I lingered on watching more often. I was fascinated by the character of Spock (who isn’t?). But the generational gap was evident. I was born in the 70s and in fact I grew up with the science fiction of the 80s (just as an example, with V). And then there’s the not insignificant fact that I am a fan of Star Wars (well, my nickname on the web is Anakina). Not that one thing excludes the other, since they are two completely different visions of this genre. But even of Star Wars (strictly the classic trilogy) what I love most is the cunning, irony, and action, while the philosophical part does not exactly strike a chord on me.
And then there’s Darth Vader: the villain tormented between the loyalty to the Emperor and the feelings for his son. Again, a character that lives a conflict.
Added to this are the surprise effect, the plot twists, characters that take their own destiny and change things.

One thing that used to puzzle me in Star Trek was a certain fatalistic aspect. This damn Enterprise always got herself in bigger trouble than she was able to manage, the characters risked succumbing, but then they made it thanks to a fortuitous event that changed the situation and put them in condition to get by.

Now, as a forty-something (oh yeah!), I find myself developing a passion for Star Trek thanks to this new movie franchise.
Yes, I know, most of the Trekkies hated Abrams’s movies or at least have had critical views on them (I have seen them recently on DVD to get ready for the new one), whilst, as far as I know many of them are appreciating Star Trek Beyond, directed Justin Lin.
But I loved them all, in a crescendo.

I am certainly aware that the latter has a more compelling and elaborate plot (and there are no lens flares!). It seems it has less stretching from the rules of the old universe of Star Trek, rules which I don’t know (and then it is still an alternate reality), so this doesn’t make any difference to me.
But I must confess that what keeps my attention alive are elements such as action, irony mixed with cunning, characters finding solutions without these to fall from heaven (or at least not entirely or they don’t give this impression, because you’re distracted by something else) and especially the way they interact, some of them showing a certain depth because of their past (i.e. Kirk and Spock).

On the first point, suffice it to say that you are talking with a person who doesn’t miss a Mission Impossible, Fast & Furious, 007, and Jason Bourne film. I want to be amazed with incredible action scenes so that I can scream, laugh, and clap. So fistfights, shootouts, collisions, and so on send me over the moon. And the so-called Kelvin Timeline is filed with this stuff.
Irony and cunning fall a bit in the classic American stuff (in Italy we call it “americanata”), so I’m not saying anything new.
But one thing I really appreciate is the least dominant role of the good luck factor (especially for what concerns its perception). Yes, well, of course there is some good luck, yet (I don’t know if it’s just me) if compared to the old Star Trek the characters in this new movie franchise go looking for their good luck. It seems they have a complete control over the situation, even when they’re in the worst trouble. It’s obvious that then they make it (it’s taken for granted), but they make me suffer a bit less about their fate and have more fun for the things they say, their witty remarks or racking my brain to try to understand what the screenwriter will invent to save them whilst making me laugh and wonder.

I think this is simply due to the fact that the way of telling stories, and with it the tastes of those who benefit from them, has changed, so, like many who defend the work of Abrams say, the new Star Trek adapts to the times and the new public.
At the same time I understand the difficulties of the old fans to accept this change (I’ve been already there with Star Wars) and basically I think my appreciation for these films arises from the fact that I’ve never been a Trekkie.

However, I can only say that I adored Star Trek Beyond because of all these elements, to which a quite well thought out storyline is added, even though the basic story remains the same: a supervillain who wants to avenge (but in Into Darkness Khan, which I liked a lot, at least had its own logic in practicing his revenge), creates a lot of problems and is eventually defeated. But in my opinion among the best things in this film are the subplots and generally the interaction between the main characters (equally important), which managed to make me smile and laugh.

And I love Spock, which is the main reason of my enthusiasm. It is a wonderfully complex character, because of the internal conflict due to his special nature midway between Vulcan and human (the moments when he pulls out his emotional part alone are worth the price of admission!), and Zachary Quinto gives a fantastic performance, both for his ability to bring us back to mind the one of the late Leonard Nimoy and for his own special something he is able to lend to the character.

As you can see, just like in my books, again I’m attracted by a character that lives in irresolvable conflicts. In the end this is the crucial element that makes me love a story, because I can identify myself in such a character. Then the barrier between reality and fiction collapses and I find myself fully experiencing the magic of the latter.

British action thriller “Kindred Intentions” available on all major ebook retailers

Under the rain of an unusually warm English summer, “Kindred Intentions” follows the story of Amelia Jennings, an officer at the City of London Police for just a week, which is sent by detective Monroe to work undercover at Goldberg & Associates, a law firm plagued by a series of murders committed by a hired killer.
But her career as investigator ends before it even begins.

When Amelia goes to give her final job interview and met a competitor, Mike Connor, in the waiting room, her only concern is that the man can steel her job, thwarting the work of her team. But not five minutes later that same room becomes the scene of a shooting.

Infringing the orders of her boss, Amelia throws herself in pursuit of the killer and this reckless choice causes a series of events that leads to radically change her life in a matter of just twenty-four hours. Amongst kidnappings, murders, (not exactly accidental) car accidents, chases, shootouts, explosions, we follow her in a descent into hell, during which if she wants to survive she’ll have to figure out who she can trust.

With self-deprecating humour and a vivid imagination, Amelia will try to get on top of what is happening and, in doing so, she’ll attenuate the drama of her adventures with fun, imaginative, and often saucy thinking. At her side is Mike, a man who seems more accustomed than her to be the target of a killer team. Although they may appear two almost opposite people, in the course of this adventure Amelia and Mike will discover that they have something in common.

“Kindred Intentions” is now available as ebook on all major retailers at $4.99 (or corresponding amount in other currencies).
You can get your ebook copy now on: Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Google Play, Smashwords, Scribd (also free for subscribers), Tolino (via your ereader or on Thalia), 24Symbols (free for subscribers), and more ebook retailers.
It is also available for libraries on OverDrive.

The paperback edition (ISBN 978-1532845956) is available at $9.99 on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, and more online stores.

Don’t miss this action-packed British thriller and get ready to change your life with Amelia and Mike!

Dayworld - Philip José Farmer

***** Brilliant dystopia of other times

I’m not wild about contemporary dystopian novels, but lately I started to appreciate this sub-genre of science fiction when it comes to books of a few decades ago, destined to become classics. The inevitable anachronism of certain elements of the plot gives “Dayworld” by Farmer a special charm and originality that I can hardly see in the most recent stories.
Specifically, one of the topics of this novel is suspended animation, which is described from a different angle than the usual one for which this technology is assumed to be used in the future: to deal with overpopulation. Since there are too many people in the world, it is decided to let them live only one day a week, reducing to one-seventh the number of active individuals on the planet. This crazy idea is the basis of the story of Jeff Caird, a “daybreaker”, i.e. a person who, instead of living one day per week, lives them all, by taking seven different identities. And here immediately a second brilliant element comes up: Caird changes his name, life, but also personality every day. Each of its seven versions is a distinct character, which is also obvious to the reader, and it’s even hard to him to “connect” with his other versions.
As if that was not enough to have a main character who lives on the brink of madness because of the presence of seven personalities in his head, Caird (and the others) is a rebel of the Dayworld system and he ends up rebelling against those who want to overthrow the system, too. And for this reason he risks to be killed, revealing that neither side is really “good”.
The structure of the book, in which the many facets of the protagonist are shown to you one after another, is a perfect mechanism, which still manages to engage the reader, despite the constant changes in point of view.
In addition, although more than thirty years have passed after the original publication of this novel, it holds well the passage of time. Anachronisms are not excessive and sometimes could also be seen as a natural regression.
There are amazing and exciting action scenes, totally unpredictable developments including the ending, which it is impossible to predict.
Overall it’s a really good book, the first in a trilogy that promises to be very enjoyable.

Dayworld on Amazon.