Authors Showcase: The high-powered thrillers of J. E. Fishman and Geoffrey Neil
May 14, 2013
The Book: Primacy
The Author: J. E. Fishman
Tens of thousands of monkeys and apes suffer in animal testing labs. If just one of them could speak, what might it say and whose interests would it threaten?
Researcher Liane Vinson thinks she can handle her promotion to the primate lab at Pentalon, the world’s biggest and most secretive animal testing facility. Going along to get along, she’ll ignore both the vitriol of animal rights protestors outside the front gates and the cold calculus that her bosses use to distance themselves from their subjects behind closed doors.
But when Liane discovers that one of her favorite apes, a young bonobo called Bea, has shockingly developed the ability to speak, all her doubts awaken–doubts about right and wrong, about following the rules, and about sacrificing individuals to the supposedly greater good.
She’d spare this unique being the knife if she could, but only Axel Flickinger, Pentalon’s cold-hearted CEO, holds the power of life and death within the closely monitored laboratory. If there’s any chance of rescuing Bea, Liane will need to involve her neighbor, Mickey Ferrone, a rough-hewn veterinarian with his own grievances.
Soon, at risk of life and limb, Liana and Mickey must challenge forces almost beyond their comprehension: a malevolent corporation, a venal federal government, an animal rights movement that’s lost its way–and all of our assumptions about man’s primacy in nature.
Review by Harry W. Kendall: Primacy by J. E. Fishman is packed with suspenseful drama, subterfuge, and incredible demonstrations of man’s inhumanity to men/women and animals. Yet, it is a shot of adrenaline into the advocacy of animal suffrage. Fishman successfully utilized techniques of the objective reality of journalism and the subjective reality of story-telling.
Extensive descriptions, many of them rainbow colored, multi sub-plots, and strong character motivation in a roller-coaster sequence of events heightens the work’s immediacy until the final moment mission is accomplished. Harrowing moments of horror and gore a degree or two beyond ghastly really induces fingernail biting.
But the perpetrators inhumane misdeeds are avenged; Fishman masterfully illustrates the old adage–payback is a mad dog. Evil men die unmercifully. Like best sellers must do, Primacy creates its own world, occupying recognizable places in specific time and space: New York City environment, and the African city of Kinshasa and its surrounding jungle. Yes, Primacy is scary, but it is balanced by a spiritual strength and will power that cements a strong personality of moral persuasion in it central character. Liane Vinson draws like-minded persons to her side in the battle of justice versus the amalgamation of vicious corporate power, govenment, and high stake politics.
Review by Michael Carmen: J.E. Fishman’s first thriller novel does not disappoint and is a phenomenal piece of work. I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes this genre. He handles a number of interesting and controversial topics with complete aplomb and educates without preaching.
The story has tons of twists and turns and surprises you even as the book winds down. My test of a great book is how do I feel when I’ve completed reading it. And, in this case I wanted more and more. I can’t wait to read Fishman’s next work of art!
The Book: Dire Means
The Author: Geoffrey Neil
What if a ruthless vigilante ended homelessness in one of America’s most affluent, coveted beach-side cities in a matter of days? In Dire Means this phenomenon occurs in an unforgettable way. The ambitious mission isn’t accomplished by any persuasive appeal to public benevolence or by relocating the homeless.
The ingenious method aims carefully targeted fear at the public’s apathy toward the impoverished. The bodies of people from all walks of life begin to show up in random places, one per day. Each victim has suffered a common, horrific fate that makes the vigilante’s demands clear. Citizens quickly learn that engaging in flagrant public displays of kindness is the only way to feel safe outside their homes.
Mark Denny, a computer technician who does the right thing at the wrong time, is lured and then trapped in the vigilante’s scheme to maintain the public’s fear-fueled generosity. Matching technological wits is the only way Mark can end the city’s terror and save his own life.
Review by P. Haster: It’s been a long time since a book hooked me like Dire Means did. I read it over a weekend, with no urge to skim any part. A friend recommended it, we’re having lunch tomorrow and I will thank her. It’s a rare and wonderful thing for me to find a gem written by a new author and this book is that.
Dire Means is a fantastic story woven with strong social implications and high-tech suspense that even non-techies can enjoy. No matter your view on the homeless, this book will affect you. Its vivid imagery and the feelings it evoked have stayed with me long after finishing it. The plot was poignant, current and completely engrossing.
After Mark Denny, a computer support guy, has a run in with some street thugs, he is forced to experience public disdain (with body and ego bruised) while temporarily stranded on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, an outdoor shopping center located in the affluent southern California beach city. While working toward financial and physical recovery, he performs a heroic act caught by local news television cameras. This attracts not only national attention, but the attention of a crazed vigilante who has been terrorizing the city of Santa Monica, CA and finds Mark to be a perfect addition to his bizarre mission. Lured into the vigilante’s secret confines, Mark pretends to buy into the mission as a matter of survival. Soon he is trapped with some tough decisions to make over the best way to thwart the villain who is terrorizing Santa Monica.
The ending came a bit too quickly for me. It seemed the author wanted to wrap up the story and I wish events could have tapered a bit more. In any case, Geoffrey Neil can spin that small criticism into a compliment because it probably means that I wanted more -I wanted the story to continue. Get Dire Means; it’s a safe bet. And I can’t wait for Neil’s next book.
Review by Virginia Woolf: Because I am a voracious reader of mysteries and suspense, I’m pretty discerning about the genre. And I have been known to say, “Oh, it was a good try”, and put the book down never to finish it. This is not just a good first book, it’s a great read. It’s been a while since I’ve awakened in the middle of the night glad to be awake. Why? Because I knew I could pick up the book and continue reading.
Geoff Neill has combined social commentary, terror, interesting and thoughtful characters, and vivid descriptions of a great part of the country. Though totally engrossed in the story, the author made me think twice about what I consider my helpful and meaningful approach to dealing with the homeless. So, a page-turner that piques my conscience, makes me eager to return to the book. What more could one want? I look forward to Mr. Neill’s next book. Do read it – you won’t be sorry!