Falling Star

Rated 4.13/5 based on 15 reviews
The discovery of mysterious objects buried deep in the ocean turns urgent when they send signals to outer space. Mike is pulled back into a clandestine world to help decipher the signals, but is attacked by gangs of ordinary Americans. He also learns that a revered friend has died. Will his death mean that the mystery will remain forever sealed in the silt and muck of the ocean bottom? More

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About Philip Chen

Philip Chen's early career included a stint as an ocean research engineer working on development of deep submergence systems, including what was to have been the world's first free swimming submersible capable of 20,000 foot working depths. In addition, he participated as a hyperbaric chamber operator on ground-breaking manned saturation dives in the chamber to depths of 1,500 feet. As the operator, he was responsible for monitoring the well-being of the human volunteers, all trained underwater demolition team members from the U.S. Navy, and assuring their safe ascent to surface pressures. He has one U.S. Patent to his credit for an underwater mooring system.

After this experience, Phil worked as an environmental engineer, power plant engineer, trial attorney, corporate executive, and investment banker.

Phil has the degree of Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with Distinction from the University of Virginia, a Master of Science from Stanford University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota. He is a registered professional engineer and admitted to the Bar in New York and Minnesota. His biography has been regularly selected for inclusion in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World.

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Book trailer for Falling Star
Falling Star was written by Philip Chen This video was produced by Glenn Albert The music was written and produced by Wyatt Lamoureux The music was originally written using JamStudio Technology at http://JamStudio.com and produced using Mixcraft5 at http://acoustica.com The Book Cover was designed by David Ross Design at http://DavidRossDesign.com

Reviews

Review by: cdnshopaholic on Feb. 26, 2012 :
I got this as part of the member review program at Librarything.com. I am torn on this one. It had lots of action and a good plot, but I got distracted by too many (IMO) unimportant details and it seemed like the book finished with no resolution. I may just not have been in the right frame of mind for this type of book, so will have to give it another read at a later date.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Frank Roderick on Aug. 07, 2011 :
If you really liked the old soviet spy thriller genre then maybe this book is for you. I found it to read like a series of worn out cliches, bad ruthless communists, improbable scenarios, convoluted story line.

The writing was Ok, but I found the plot too much of rehash of too many long forgotten spy-thrillers to interest me.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: GraceKrispy on June 02, 2011 :
The premise of this novel is one that elicits images of a blockbuster film. Intrigue, politics, extraterrestrial life, and suspense are all part of this thriller. The author's own experience mirrors those of Mike Liu's character to some extent, and this is apparent in the details scattered throughout the book. This information is both an asset and a detractor for the book. The wealth of information creates a feeling of documentary rather than novel. With so many characters and so much background information about each, the development of each character wasn't as strong as I would have liked. I really like being immersed in a book, and I especially like when I can imagine myself talking to (or being) at least one of the characters. With this documentary-type feel, I felt more like I was watching an event being uncovered, but I wasn't taking part myself.

The actual plot is very interesting and has a lot of potential. It's reminiscent of a Tom Clancy creation, and the Soviet connection really cements that idea. It's apparent that the author thought about how the two main aspects of the storyline would come together, and the Soviet connection, in particular, was quite clever and well-crafted as an idea. The story drags a bit in places, and lacks fluidity in plot events. At some places in the story, it got somewhat exciting, but then cooled to a dead halt when the scene changed.

I think this story would benefit from some tightening of the storyline, including leaving out part of the explanation-heavy beginning, and tying the main concepts closer together. I think there is so much potential to this story, I would have loved to see it focused in a bit more. I felt there were several threads that were left unfinished, and that gave me a somewhat dissatisfied feeling at the end.

Overall, a good read for those who love techno-thrillers and appreciate copious amounts of detail. There is certainly much information to be learned in this story.

(Full review @ gracekrispy.com- MotherLode blog)
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Sibel Hodge on March 10, 2011 :
This isn't the kind of genre I'd normally read, so I didn't really know what to expect. What I found was a suspenseful sci-fi thriller that packs in UFOs, espionage, twists and turns galore, history, and anticpation as to what mysterious things really are lurking at the bottom of the ocean, and who wants to cover it up.

It was well-written, and although some readers have said the description is too detailed, as a reader who wasn't aware of some of the technical details involved in this story, it actually helped me grasp the concept better.

If you're looking for a novel that is mysterious and thought-provoking, then look no further than Falling Star.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Darlene Wilkinson on March 09, 2011 :
First of all let me say that with my hectic schedule getting a book read in a short time is almost impossible. However that said I found myself making time to read this book. Once I had started it I hated to put it down but life kept getting in the way. Finally I ordered the Kindle cover with the light and spent a peaceful uninterupped way after dark read with this book and finished it in three consecutive nights. Tired as all get out the next mornings but this book was worth it. This is not my normal reading material but Mr. Chen was kind enough to gift me a copy and I am so glad he did. This book in my opinion is worth 5 stars!The story line is very believable, the characters exciting to follow and many twists and turns that were quite easy to keep track of.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Denise Chippett on March 09, 2011 :
I thought this book was excellent and I can't wait for the sequel. This was a new genre for me, having only ever read one previous thriller, though that doesn't adequately describe this book because it has a little of everything: sci-fi, thriller, espionage. Some of the other reviewers didn't like the amount of detail and though I could have done without it, not being very interested in weaponry or technology, I can see that many people would enjoy that and for them it would add to the story. I did learn a great deal about submersibles and how they work and there's never anything wrong with acquiring knowledge. There were a lot of characters but I soon realized I didn't really need to keep track of all the minor ones and the major ones were very evident. To fault this book on those, in my opinion, minor details is to do it a disservice. I thought it was very original and it always kept me wondering what was going to happen next which I found refreshing since I can usually see where most books are heading. No chance of that with this one. I'm not used to reading books with a lot of violence (I realized a thriller would have that, though, of course) but I had to overlook that because I absolutely had to immerse myself in this book. Even a migraine couldn't stop me from reading.

It was frighteningly believable and would make a very absorbing movie. The espionage angle was just as enthralling as the sci-fi, if not more so. A great premise, realistic characters and situations, and great plot development. This book was a gift but I will be buying the sequel the moment it becomes available. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about Mr. Chen in the future.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: buckeyefrank on March 04, 2011 :
In the interest of full disclosure I was gifted a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Falling Star was a very good, fast-paced thriller. Once I began reading it, I was unable to put it down until I was finished. The story written well, moved along quickly and the characters were very believable.

There were a few minor flaws not really worth noting. The most glaring flaw for me was that the author appeared to use the same descriptions for several different places. A few times I found myself going forward a couple of pages to see if I accidentally hit the back button on my Kindle, which I hadn't. It was a minor issue.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Thank you Mr. Chen for allowing me to read a genre that I usually wouldn't have read. If you are into Sci-Fi at all I would highly recommend this book, especially at $.99 it's currently offered for.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: David Jetton on Feb. 27, 2011 :
Excellent fast-paced thriller. Once it got me hooked, was hard to put down. Well written with plenty of detail. I received a complimentary copy of the book but it is well worth the purchase price.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Barry on Feb. 27, 2011 :
This is a great thriller from start to finish. It certainly leaves lots of scope for a follow up to clear up the unanswered questions.
Very well written, however I agree with one of the other reviewers that there is sometimes slightly too much detail. But it is the Authors great descriptions that put the meat on the stories bones.
I'll be hoping for a sequel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sheryl Painter on Feb. 25, 2011 :
Falling Star was an incredible journey, from the 1960's to the 1990's. I loved how Mr. Chen was able to bring such a wealth of science and history together into a fictional story. Mr. Chen was able to keep the current story moving at a fast pace, while slowly bringing in new and intersting characters like Mike, Martha and so many others. The interwoven storyline with scientific and historical facts kept blending perfectly into a thriller that was hard for me to remember wasn't real. It was impossible not to be caught up in the emotions of the characters, whether at the bottom of the ocean near the Sentinel, the top of the dessert mountain waiting for the sunrise, or rushing from city to city trying to uncover the mole. The story never lagged, the science never bored, the history never wavered. Mr. Chen kept every piece of the story flowing seamlessly and the resulting work was rich with suspense. I found myself holding my breath in anticipation of what would happen next. Every part of Falling Star was believable, well written, and suspenseful. I hope to see the story pick up in a sequel - I cannot imagine leaving Mike, Martha, and the many others without knowing what happens next. Bravo Mr. Chen. Well done!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Willie Wit on Feb. 20, 2011 :
This book is like a black and white 1950`s sci-fi film , a genre i have always enjoyed. The story carefully and subtly connects past events to the present day , liberally sprinkled with technical information that makes it believable and gives great depth to the well thought out plot.It moves forward at a good pace and has a very professional feel to it .A great read .
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Steve Anderson on Jan. 28, 2011 :
Originally posted at https://www.fuzzysteve.co.uk/2011/01/19/review-falling-star/

This review is given, as a thank you for a free copy. I got it through the member giveaway program on Library Thing

Falling Star - Philip Chen.

Starting in 1967, this novel runs up to 1993. I suspect it may be the first in a series, but it's pretty much self contained.

At times, the author gets, I feel, a little hung up on specific details, but that's a very minor complaint. It's just sometimes, less is more. Assault rifle, rather than using Colt AR-15 repeatedly.

But getting back to the story, this is a thriller, with a sci-fi overlay. In a sequel, the sci-fi might become more overt, but for now, it's really a McGuffin. The thing that drives the story, but doesn't actually take part.

Fun story. The characters are defined, but with room for future growth, and with growth that shows up in story. As it's over twenty-six years, it has plenty of room for it.

Available as an ebook, from Amazon, and Smashwords. probably some others too. While it has some flaws, they're minor. I'd say, buy it and read it, if you like thrillers.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: J A Cavell on Jan. 26, 2011 :
Philip Chen's first novel, Falling Star, is a winner. He has successfully combined several often disparate aspects of telling a good story that runs from 1967 to 1993! The characters are believable. The scenes are painted accurately, almost cinema-graphically. The story is believable, pulls the reader along and it is easy to read. It involves espionage, technology, mysticism and mystery woven well together. I could stop here and my critique would be complete. My only serious complaint (aside from the e-book format) was the somewhat abrupt ending that left a few strings dangling perhaps hinting at a sequel. That would be nice.

However, I must add that I read Falling Star as an e-book. As a rule, I don't like e-books. I like reading ink on paper. Nonetheless, Chen quickly won this reader over. There are many details in the story that are very familiar or tangentially familiar to me personally. They added the air of authenticity to his story in a way few can. Mr. Chen obviously drew on his personal experience as an engineer, oceanographer, researcher, trial lawyer and investment banker.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Greg Cohoon on Jan. 15, 2011 :
I won a copy of this eBook from a Kindle blog and dove right in as soon as I downloaded it. The story starts out good, and picks up from there. By the time I was halfway through, it was hard to put down. I just wanted to keep turning the pages. It's a thriller, with a bit of a sci-fi bent. The story skillfully combines cold-war military espionage, underwater navel research, and UFOs. Several mysterious, probably extra-terrestrial, objects are discovered at the bottom of the ocean. The US government establishes a program to monitor these objects. After several decades of observation, the objects begin to generate activity. Throughout the book, we watch the main character, Mike, and his involvement with the objects, from their discovery to the (almost) present day. Along the way, Mike and other government agents have to deal with unknown cold-war era threats.

I really enjoyed how well this was written, both in terms of plot and character development. On the surface, several of the characters appear somewhat stereotypical, but I think their portrayal was appropriate and reasonable. Several times, the author touches on the subject of racism. He refrains from being preachy, however, and each treatment of racism is essential to either move the plot or develop a character. I was really impressed by that touch. I don't know much about underwater exploration, but it's obvious that the author does. His description of the underwater scenes were technical and vivid enough, without being burdensome, to clearly portray the action that takes place. He puts me right in the submersible with the characters. It was lots of fun to read.

The story told is a great stand-alone tale. It wraps itself up neatly, but also leaves a few small loose ends, which provide an obvious opportunity for a sequel, or even a series. I hope the author releases a sequel. When he does, I'll be first in line to get a copy.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Peter Salisbury on Dec. 23, 2010 :
This guy knows his stuff!

Phillip Chen has written a remarkable and stylish SF thriller, so prepare for a front seat drive. At the outset, the immediate action and vivid description of pilots in peril pull the reader straight into the story. What becomes as a deep-sea mystery soon turns into a switchback ride of deadly cat and mouse. The story has a continuous forward momentum and an underlying tension that doesn’t let go. It introduces a wide variety of richly drawn characters, each of which provokes an emotional response from the reader.

There is effective use of humour in tense situations and a consistent thread of military/security service banter. However, many of the personnel in the book are trained in the use of lethal weapons and deadly force. The plot also includes chillingly realistic fire fights and assassinations. Although the reader may not wish to imagine himself in some of the situations, it is difficult to believe that the author has not been there himself, so precisely are the details recorded.

Military use of undersea exploration craft and the reality of existence within such machinery is introduced in detail. Although the level of description might do justice to an internal security service report, on no occasion does it get in the way of this fast-paced thriller. The way the back story is woven unobtrusively into the action is very expertly done. A delight to the reader is the authoritative way the technical aspects of computer systems, submersible devices, weaponry and machinery are described.

The novel works well as a standalone, with scope for a sequel. If there is a sequel, I shall definitely be in line to read it!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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