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BOOK REVIEW: ‘Feedback’ by Peter Cawdron

coverStrap in for Two Days on the Couch

“Twenty years ago, a UFO crashed into the Yellow Sea off the Korean Peninsula. The only survivor was a young English-speaking child, captured by the North Koreans. Two decades later, a physics student watches his girlfriend disappear before his eyes, abducted from the streets of New York by what appears to be the same UFO.

Feedback will carry you from the desolate, windswept coastline of North Korea to the bustling streets of New York and on into the depths of space as you journey to the outer edge of our solar system looking for answers.  -From Amazon”

Its easy and very common to say a new title is an artist’s best work, and when I say artist I am including any of the arts: music, movies and writing. Is it really the case? Probably no. After the initial newness wears off you usually go back to an artists previous work as the place to gauge their future works quality. I won’t tell you that ‘Feedback’ is Peter Cawdron’s best work, I will only yell you that you will find yourself reading his books and weighing their quality against this title.

Cawdron has given us several great novelas in the past two or three years and his stroytelling and science has always been what made his work unique and wonderful. ‘Feedback’ added a new element, depth. Before that sounds like an insult, consider that for a work to really be better than others you have to identify a quantifying trait.

I don’t know the method to Cawdron’s writing process, but in the past he has written wonderful stories with character’s in them. I typically finish them and remeber the story and the characters are just a vehicle to advance the story. Most of the time I don’t remember their names as the story was more than the character. Again, not an insult. Lots of authors write stories and the events of the tale are better than the characters, sometimes the book is about the story you tell, not the people who experience the events in the book.

In ‘Feedback,’ Cawdron built an experience that could not work without the characters he created, this is truely the “Story of Jason” and when you are done reading you don’t wish that the story was longer, you want to write to Peter Cawdron and tell him to write another story about what happened to Jason, Lily and Prof Lochan. The connection he creates between character and reader is deep and unforgiving. Unforgiving? Yes, you need to read the book.

If your first thought is that I am implying Cawdron wrote a book about one character rather than his signature story served with a side of science, you are wrong. Beyond the synopsis attached to this book written by the author I don’t want to really mention the story because of potential spoilers and unintended plot reveals that could ruin the twists and turns of the book.

What I can say is that the layout of the story and the method in which past and present blend are told prefectly. Planned so cleverly that bits of information all connect for a reveal that you will figure out moments before the characters throw it into your face for the folks who might need that extra push over the plot line.

“Feedback” is about 250 pages, and the book peaks very early and the climax runs from about page 100-200 making you feel like you are watching ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ where you sit on the edge of your seat for 45 minutes while Luke and Company make a monumental Death Star run.

People like comparisons and identifying comments, so here you go. If you have read Michael Crichton you might have read ‘Timeline’ or ‘The Andromeda Strain,’ ‘Feedback’ is nothing like either, but it is clear those works both had a strong influence on Peter Cawdron’s creative mind while he was laying the seeds for a great story.

I meant what I said in the title of this review, while having the opportunity to beta-read this book I broke from my normal beta-process. Typically I would read a chapter and send in little grammar typos and feed back to Peter, after about 3 chapters I had a copy on my Galaxy Tablet, my Android phone and my Google Drive to read on my work PC in all my free moments, I was hooked the moment Jason yook Lily in from the rain and there was a very large gap where I missed 10 or so chapters of ‘Feedback’ feedback because I was lost in the book and the experience of the story.

Cheers, Peter. Brilliant story.

AMAZON LINK for Feedback by Peter Cawdron


Anomaly v1.5 [Book Review x2]

Nearly a year ago author Peter Cawdron took and dropped a gem on the indie book scene with Anomaly.  The story of an under-achieving teacher who goes from field trip spectator in downtown NYC to over-achieving armchair scientist in the blink of an eye and thrusting himself into the biggest moment in human history, first contact.

WARNING!  SPOILERS BELOW.

In January of this year I read and reviewed this story [LINK] and gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5 or an A- overall.  Last week the author shot me an email that he had updated and expanded the ending and asked me to take a look at how it had changed.  Mr. Cawdron stated,

“There were two reasons behind the rewrite. Firstly, the [UN] invasion didn’t come off as plausible, and understandably so, but the second reason was more important. Like a lot of writers dabbling in science fiction, I made the plot bigger than the characters. In rewriting the ending, I tried to focus on building some depth of character, wanting to ground the story and give the reader someone to relate to.

The chance to revise and improve a story is not something many authors consider, whether it was feedback from comments and reviews on Amazon and Good Reads or just plain not 100% happy with their own work. Continue reading


Flowertown by S.G. Redling [Book Review]

REPOSTED TODAY BECAUSE THIS IS THE KINDLE DEAL OF THE DAY FOR TODAY 9/06/12 ONLY

Flowertown

S.G. Redling

I go to turn on my Kindle about a week ago and there is an image of a tattered fence with a biohazard sign hanging in the landscape of Smalltown U.S.A.  Sorry, but you drop an image like that in my face and you have all but marketed yourself into a sale.  I follow the link to learn more and the plot summary tells the woes of a small rural town in Iowa that became the site of a chemical spill.  The grounds and town folk were contaminated and the residents quarantined… the residents that survived that is.

Flowertown is the type of book that makes you glad Kindle was invented.  Published independently by a morning radio host, S.G. Redling, this is exactly the type of book that likely would not have been published a decade ago, but has flourished under the ability for Amazon to take low-risk, high-return on rookie authors.

Redling’s tale of residents held in drab conditions under an almost dictatorish regime of the same pharmaceutical company Continue reading


BOOK REVIEW: The Wedding Gift

Ok, first things first.  The Wedding Gift sounds like a love story, it is anything but, well ok it is surrounding a relationship, marriage and so on and so on, but it is misleading if you are looking for a Nicholas Sparks happy love story.

The Wedding Gift is a post-murder/suicide ghost story, about a home given to a newly wed couple.

Second, on paper when you read the book synopsis this should be right up there with Peter Straub’s Ghost Story.  The story is simple yet elegant, as elegant as a woman murdering her family and haunting their former residence can be.

The potential seems endless.  Then the book is introduced in journal format, almost seems like it can’t lose.

Continue reading


BOOK REVIEW: Anomaly

Before Christmas the prospect of me reading a book by an indie author was slim-to-none.  Not that I wouldn’t care to read a book not written by an author not named King, Asimov, Poe or Dickens, but for a person that shops within his comfort zone of large retail book stores and his local library how would I find something so obscure.  When I look for a book I hit the new release racks and browse the bindings, familiarity is what would catch my eye, and frankly if I had to choose between a no name and Grisham, I am reading Grisham every time because the likelihood of disliking the book is much like my earlier chances, slim-to-none.

Christmas changed all that when my wife bought me a shiny new Kindle.  The world of books immediately expanded.  Shopping has never been so much fun.  I always though an e-reader would take the book out of my hand and lose the beauty of discovery.  While that is true, it also opens doors a library could never open.  I click on a few favorites and Amazon is recommending me all worts of things I would never find on my own, people I have never heard of and the reviews tell their own tales.  While I will grab a stinker from time-to-time I am sure, the ability to step outside of my comfort zone is proving the grass is really greener on the other side.

Continue reading


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