Shawn Hill has been a successful freelance IT specialist since 1994, volunteer instructor of taekwondo since 2004, online blogger since 2009, founded the non-profit known as MARTiAL YOU in 2011, has been creating instructional media since 2012, and most recently has leveraged his experience into that of an author.
on Aug. 28, 2015 :
Juliandra is a suspense/thriller/mystery with a bit of the supernatural.
Like the description states, Thomas wakes each morning with just one hour to save his wife before she’s murdered. No matter what he does to change events, she ends up dead.
In one of the early loops, Juliandra’s mother and brother show up at the hospital and Thomas goes home with them. Thomas and the brother, Brighton, basically hate each other (Brighton is an angry young black man and former drug addict while Thomas is a pretty straight edge white guy), and while Juliandra’s mother is having a bit too much wine while looking at old pictures of Juliandra, she mentions a secret that her husband, Juliandra and Brighton’s father, kept and never spoke of before he died. Thomas and Brighton do a little investigating and come up with some information that might be relevant. Thomas calls the detective investigating the murder to let him know what they’ve found only to be told he’s already aware of it and will look into it. Meanwhile, Thomas decides to take things into his own hands and sneaks out of his in-laws house.
He rents a car and tracks down the lead he and Brighton found and interrogates this person who gives up the names and numbers of three hitmen. Before he can allow sleep to come and the loop to start again, Thomas tracks down these killers and gets very specific information out of them so that he can finally stop them before the murder his wife.
I’m a huge fan of the sci fi series Stargate SG-1, and one of my favorite all time episodes is Window of Opportunity, so I do indeed like the time loop scenarios. This story is very compelling and does tend to move quite quickly. Also, the ending is totally unexpected, which is always a plus. Another thing I really liked was during Thomas’ interrogation of the hitmen, he’s forced to become somewhat of a vigilante. In many stories or movies, these characters just take on these traits (torturing, killing) and seem no worse for the wear. Thomas however becomes physically ill which is far more realistic.
Despite these things there are some problems. 1) The dialog is very clunky. I’m not sure I read a single contraction in the dialog. The writer makes the mistake of writing dialog in proper grammatical form. This is not how people talk, and it tends to throw the reader off and slow down the pace a bit. 2) Show vs tell. There is almost no showing at all in this book. I never really had a chance to use my imagination to see what was happening because I was told absolutely every detail. There were also two flashback chapters in this book and flashbacks can be tricky. The first gives us some necessary insight; the second is really just filler.
Despite these things, I would recommend this book. It does move quickly, the story is strong and will only get stronger with some touch up, and the author manages to work into his MC Thomas, expertise he has in real life, such as martial arts and IT which lends credibility to the character.
(review of free book)