• OutsourcedAuthor: Eric J Gates
  • Published: September 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Category: Crime, Thriller
  • five-stars

What’s the most dangerous gift a fan could send to an author? And if that fan was a professional assassin? New York-based writer Nic Stiles receives a strange package in the mail. It’s not long before he realises what it represents will change his life… with deadly consequences. Others want the package’s contents too, including a high-tech Intelligence agency who will stop at nothing to obtain it. …and the sender wants it back! 

An intriguing, complex and multilayered thriller beginning with the acquittal of mass murderer, Robert Polanski. Even though his lawyer and the police know he’s guilty they can’t prove it conclusively. Before disappearing into obscure and tropical ‘retirement’ from his crimes, Polanski has one last task. The package he sends off in the mail launches an incredible chain of events.

Nic Stiles and fellow author, Grayson Fallon, have been under media scrutiny for years. They share the same publisher, write in the same genre and are declared mortal enemies by the press, while being manipulated to outdo each other with the amount of   work they manage to get published. They’ve never met and while Nic seems to have lost his focus, Grayson’s star is still rising. Nic has secluded himself at his cabin to try and overcome whatever it is that’s hindering his ability to write. A strange object comes into his possession, along with a letter of explanation. A pen with the power to influence destiny? All he has to do is write it? Nic is confused and initially totally disbelieving. He’s a rational man, after all. But after a couple of test runs Nic is more inclined to accept there may actually be some truth to the information contained in the letter. 

The object in the box is very old. When it reached me originally, it was a hollowed out cylinder with a quill pen jammed inside. I discovered that form to be singularly inconvenient to use, so I cannibalised a fountain pen to give it its configuration. It is not pretty, yet it is powerful, as you will quickly realise. The trick isn’t what you use but what you intend.

Write and it shall be so, my friend.

Bridget Mason, a tough, no-nonsense federal officer, who will do whatever it takes to get the job done, even if she has to operate on the very edges of law enforcement, is on the track of the ‘device’ via Polanski and one Phil Beasley. Through the latter Nic also comes into her orbit. An unlikely alliance forms between Nic and Phil as they strive to put a stop to Polanski’s plans. 

Elements of truth woven into a story take it to another level and I found the plot creative, tense and exciting with an intriguing twist and credible characters. The history of the stone and the observations of fate and destiny are fascinating and what could have been an improbable, and possibly too far-fetched narrative, is well thought out and written with an assurance and confidence which makes it perfectly plausible. The characters are well drawn and convincing, with depth and flaws, and are perfectly placed in the story. The subjects of unauthorised government surveillance and detention are explored which adds another layer of authenticity, and the research has obviously been deep and thorough. Packed with surprises and intrigue.

There’s nothing I dislike about this book, not even the villain who, although full of himself, made great reading.  I enjoyed the twist of two male protagonists being thriller writers, their moral conflict which is portrayed realistically and the mystifying power of the pen. A very imaginative and unusual device to drive the plot. It’s impossible not to wonder…if you had access to a device such as this what would you do? A compelling and thought-provoking read.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

I received a complimentary electronic copy of the book from the author which does not affect my thoughts or the content of this review.

About the author

EricJGatesEric J. Gates has had a curious life filled with the stuff of thriller novels. Writing Operating Systems for Supercomputers, cracking cryptographic codes under extreme pressure using only paper and pen and teaching Cyberwarfare to spies are just a few of the moments he’s willing to recall. He is an ex-International Consultant who has travelled extensively worldwide, speaks several languages. His specialty, Information Technology Security, has brought him into contact with the Military and Intelligence communities on numerous occasions. He is also an expert martial artist, holding 14 black belt degrees in distinct disciplines. He has taught his skills to Police and Military personnel, as well as to the public.

He now writes thriller novels, drawing on his experiences with the confidential and secret worlds that surround us. Visit his website at www.ericjgates.com for extracts, inside secrets, and a competition where you could be a character in his next book. Follow him on his blog at http://my-thrillers.blogspot.com/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/eThrillerWriter

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