The Scarab

Rated 4.11/5 based on 9 reviews
There are few problems that can't be solved with a little help from your friends and the proper application of high explosives. Ace mechanic Ethan rose to the top of the computer game circuit as the mysterious Scarab. During a computer-simulated race across Europe at a convention to test car designs, cyber-criminals kidnap his girlfriend. Fans of Speed Racer will enjoy this fast paced adventure. More

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Words: 86,390
Language: English
ISBN: 9781452496184
About Scott Rhine

I'm a computer programmer and math geek for a living. I've shown symptoms of being a writer since second grade. I wrote my first Science Fiction novel in 1998 (Scarab). Insert a break to have two children -- one of each model.

Once they were in school, I started typing nights instead of TV. In 2010, I wrote an urban fantasy about a group of modern magicians, Foundation for the Lost. It captures the comraderie of a good gaming group. After getting some editing help from a few friends, I decided to share it with others.

Third came Jezebel, a reframing of a very old novella after thirteen years of practice. I made her a strong female character because so many of the people who contacted me like this aspect of my other stories.

In my upcoming two volume, sword and sorcery epic "the Temple of the Traveler", I experiment with building a world from the ground up. I have one primary rule -- even the bad guys are convinced they're the heroes of the story.

My goal is to find a detailed world and characters that I love, hoping that others will love them too. It's the best when they surprise me with what the do, or refuse to do.

Also by This Author

Reviews

Review by: Albert Robbins on Jan. 02, 2012 :
Overall Feedback: A fast passed, adrenaline pumping read from cover to cover. The author draws us in and holds us hostage in this Virtual Racing World that he has created. Unbelievable action and suspense all wrapped in a tightly woven story. This is a "Do Not Miss" read for the year.

Point of View: You follow Ethan on his trek to overcome his obstacles and save the race.

Voice: A plus to drawing in anyone into the gaming world. A bit of the jargon may catch you off guard but the author does well to explain.

Character Development: Finely tuned just like the Virtual Racers.

Plot: The next step in gaming evolution.

Dialogue: Due to the jargon you may get lost but stay steady and the end will be there.

Pacing: Races through your imagination and fuels your brain with high voltage dreams.

Setting: Virtual Reality is here.

Continuity: Not a loose spot in the story.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: L. A. Wright on July 11, 2011 :
Article first published as Book Review: The Scarab by Scott Rhine on Blogcritics.

Car Racing, gaming, and espionage do not seem to go together and yet they make a great combination. There is action, adventure and excitement all of which create an adrenalin rush which hold the fans of each at it long into the after-hours.

In The Scarab by Scott Rhine, we enter into a virtual reality form of racing and espionage, full of excitement and danger. The action is fast and the vehicles are faster, built by the gamers themselves, to win by whatever method works. Ethan Hayes is a young man down on his luck. He is still paying off the medical bills from his mother’s treatment and does not expect to ever get anywhere in life due the amounts due, in an effort to stave off the disease that was killing her. Ethan himself is a hemophiliac and it colors everything he does in life. He is a good mechanic and during the day, he takes care of the business, but at night, he puts on his other hat. He is a gamer and his second life revolves around GEVSIM. In this life, his alter ego is known as the Scarab.
This game with Ground Effect Vehicles is first made popular though colleges, but now accepted and played worldwide. He uses the shops computers after hours and no one is the wiser. It is during his play that he first begins to notice the anomalies. Something illegal is going on and since the satellite guidance systems are all under Federal jurisdiction, they require a special type of Marshal to patrol them. The local police vehicles could not accelerate fact enough to catch the perpetrators before they could get out of city limits. The only person he knows that is a member of the patrol is his friend Mary Anne Anselm.

They met just after high school and dated for some time, but when she began to get serious and wanted marriage he decided he could not put her in that situation. First, his blood-clotting problem was genetic, and there was the issue with his debt. Marriage would make her legally responsible for the money as well. Deciding to report his findings to her, she agrees to follow up on the information. When he is called into the station for more questions, he finds that his discovery has now put him in a delicate situation. The police want his program that shows how he found the speeders, and they want it with no strings attached. When an attorney shows up, hired by his friend Mary Anne, he is able to get out of the jam with his program still his own and intact.

Suddenly he finds that he may not be in the crisis that he had assumed. Nigel, his attorney is not only able to get him money for his project but also able to get his mother medical bills expunged. The money he made on his discovery plus some his father’s life insurance would have to be spent post haste, and when he finds he has just over $100,000 left he decides to enter his latest design in the SimCon Gev. He would be racing side by side with some of the best in the world, the game is international and there is a great deal of money at stake. With both Mary Anne and Nigel at his side, he is ready to take on the world and prove his capabilities. When things begin to go wrong, with vehicles tampered with and people murdered, Ethan, now known again as the Scarab in racing circles, seems to be in the middle. When Mary Anne is kidnapped and an Undercover FBI operative is murdered, the Scarab must dig deep to find the clues to save his friends. Can he figure out who is behind the espionage before it is too late?

Rhine has written a fast-paced novel full of suspense and danger. While I do not understand the gaming world, he made it seem quite fascinating. Racing has always been a popular form of recreation, and doing it with these GEV’s in a virtual reality situation just seemed quite extraordinary. As I was explaining the book to one of my friends who is a gamer, he was quite enthralled with the possibilities. He is not a reader and yet assured me that a book like this would be something that would get him off the computer and into reading.

Some of the explanations were over my head and yet Rhine did such a good job of explanation that I was able to stay on track. There was fun, suspense, danger, and romance all brought together in this amazing race.

This would be a great read for the suspense and action aficionado. The action is frenetic and the intricacies of the dialogue are garnered to the gamers and racing fans around us. The story is interesting, and yet it may not appeal to some due to the very things that also make it work. I struggled with much of the virtual dialogue, but the racing itself was what drew me. If you enjoy gaming and virtual simulation this suspenseful and action packed thriller will draw you in.

This book was received as a free copy from Smashwords. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Alanna Shaw on June 26, 2011 :
I have to admit that I had a hard time with this one. The writing was fine, but the techie quality just went way over my head. It took a very long time for me to find my pace because I felt like I was reading techno jargon over and over again. That would be my one complaint.

What I did like is more important. I liked the characters. They were believable. You had a man (Ethan) with genuine concern for the love of his life. He also had a long list of very real reasons why he couldn't marry her, despite his desire. That made me feel sorry for him. Of course, all of that changed seemingly overnight. He became this amazing super smart millionaire. Gotta love that.

His love interest, Mary Ann, is this bad ass female cop. She can kick anyone's butt and you almost dare someone to try. It seems like she's a walking contradiction. She's gorgeous and intelligent, yet she has a mean street-wise streak that would make Al Capone cower. She's hard core.

The SimCon race was pretty intense. Once I made myself ignore the techie aspect of the plot, I was able to focus on the content. There were a few diabolical schemes floating around. You had major subterfuge and blackmail, among other things. Anyone that likes James Bond style action would enjoy this read. There were plenty of car chases and an aura of mystery that could keep you interested.

I don't really think this fits in the YA genre. It seemed geared more towards adults--particularly the male audience. Maybe that's just my take though. I don't see my students being able to comprehend the intricate detail that went in to describing the SimCon race and the cars. I feel like all of that would have gone over their heads.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Linda Swain on June 10, 2011 :
he Scarab by Scott Alan Rhine
Reviewed by Rusty Swain
The Scarab by Scott Alan Rhine. What a ride this book takes you on. From the very first page there is a almost instant bonding with the Ethan. The technology that he develops borders on the realm of reality and it didn't take me long to actually believe that this was all possible. From another viewpoint, his medical condition of H...emophilia allows the reader to understand him and the decisions that he makes. The legal journey that he goes on is enough to make anyone want to sit back and take a look at their own investments. And then of course there is his relationship with Mary Anne. I don't want to say that this is a "guy" book, but to me it would certainly draw more of a male audience.
All in all it reads well, the flow never breaks and the storyline is interesting enough to hold a readers attention to the end. It did mine.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Coral Russell on May 12, 2011 :
Just like Robot Wars... only BETTER! I loved the story and was frankly impressed by the level of detail that went into the world that was created. Very realistic and I could understand what was being built without an engineering background. I
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: killie81 on May 07, 2011 :
Full review can be found on my blog here : http://killie-booktalk.blogspot.com/2011/05/scarab-scott-rhine.html

Overall, this was a fun and light hearted read, the SimCon race elements in particular were entertaining and I was always looking forward to the next race stage to come up. The few issues I had with the non-race elements of the novel being "solved" a little bit too easily were minor. I would therefore recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, near future adventure along the lines of the movies; Deathrace 2000 or Speed Racer.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: GeekyGirlReview on May 05, 2011 :
I love this book. This book is a little different than what I am used to reading but I was hooked from the beginning and just couldn't put it down. I don't think you have to be a gamer to really enjoy this book but if you are you most likely enjoy this book as much as I do.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Nigel Paresis on April 04, 2011 :
The best mix of Speed Racer/Death Race 2000/Cannonball Run you'll read this year!

Okay, maybe not so much The Cannonball Run.

Seriously though, people, The Scarab is definitely worth your time and investment. This one blasts out from the opening page and doesn't let up until you cross the finish line, all covered in road dust, twitchy from the adrenaline high and desperately in need of a shower. The characters had me straight from the start, the wild virtual racing sucked me straight in and refused to let me go again, and now I absolutely want to own my own hover car. I also want to date Mary Ann, but that's another story.

Very much looking forward to the next book Scott Rhine puts out there, and absolutely so will you.

First though, go buy this one.

Hop on that, people!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Weston Kincade on April 02, 2011 :
Scarab is a story you could not help but get sucked into. Ethan's character draws you in to his focused desire to build and enter his own design. While this detached feeling seems off at times, I think it was intentional to give us a true understanding of the protagonist. The story of Ethan and his Scarab will take you into various realities fraught with virtual and real dangers where often the discerning line between them is blurred. Where does reality stop and the virtual world begin? Ultimately, is death the same in both worlds? And who is behind the not-so-subtle attempted murders of Ethan and his friends? This is a great debut novel for Scott and a great introduction for Sci-fi readers looking to escape into a race for the finish and a new life. I enjoyed reading the novel and would recommend it to others, especially at such a great price.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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