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"Kitchens of the Great Midwest" by J. Ryan Stradal
Check out this summer's most hotly-anticipated debut, about a once-in-a-generation palate and the iconic chef behind the country's most coveted dinner reservation.
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Born in 1963, Michael Hicks grew up in the age of the Apollo program and spent his youth glued to the television watching the original Star Trek series and other science fiction movies, which continue to be a source of entertainment and inspiration. Having spent the majority of his life as a voracious reader, he has been heavily influenced by writers ranging from Robert Heinlein to Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, and David Weber to S.M. Stirling. Now living in Florida with his beautiful wife, two wonderful stepsons and two mischievous Siberian cats, he lives his dream of writing full-time and spends as much time on the road in the family RV as possible...when he's not at the beach!
(This review is for the Kindle Edition) Be ready to read late into the night on this one. Nonstop action from the get-go. Hicks is an accomplished writer-his earlier "In Her Name " series is top notch science fiction/fantasy/romance and already a fan favorite. This new novel is an entirely different type of techno-thriller; tightly written with believable characters, fast paced, and well researched. It is a story of today and the unintended consequences that might occur when foods are genetically "engineered" and released into the environment. Enough said- no spoilers here! An excellent read. Well edited, proofed, and formatted for the Kindle and the excellent cover art was created by the author. Bravo!
I admit that I am already a Mike Hicks fan. His In Her Name series of SciFi thrillers is great. But this book is something different and fabulous. It is a little hard to talk about it without revealing stuff that the reader will want to discover by themselves. But let me say that if you like Michael Crichton - you will love this. If you like Lee Child - you will probably also love this. There are many other comparisons that I could make but the best advice is to purchase the book and read it for yourself. You will soon be back here writing your own review praising this work. I have a some knowledge of a couple of the infrastuctures that are written about in this book and he hits them dead-on This is realism mixed with a current issue mixed with some "could-happen" and is exciting.
There is a lot to like about this book--it is an intriguing story and the author clearly understands how to keep it moving. The characters, though a bit thin, are developed well enough.
But the writing . . . Ye gods the writing . . . I didn't know it was possible for characters in a story to over act until I read this book. Even the cats are guilty of it. Disproportionate reactions were the name of the game; no matter how calm things were, no one ever just said anything--they shouted, whispered (dramatically), cried, sobbed, gasped, moaned, and whimpered (people went numb a lot). Then there were the cliches--I had to laugh at the main character's response to Naomi's photo. My favorite--Her hair hung in a pony tail over her shoulder, "flowing like a silken water fall" (Really?). And when they finally meet? He almost immediately falls into lust with her and her with him. Actually, the author should be commended for not letting them fall into bed together, because I kept expecting them to pause in the middle of the battle and find a broom closet (Dirk Pitt style). So I'll give him that much--he stopped short of the too easy sex scene, but he needs to consider how he paces relationship development. This was too much like a high school romance to be believable.
With respect to the other characters--I liked Renee quite a bit, and appreciated the development of the other unexpected heroes. By the way--the aliens were fantastically nasty. Vivid--awful. Thank you.
However here's the thing--once you push past all the mechanics (because that's what they boil down to), there's a fascinating story there. I love the idea of GMOs being the source of man kind's demise (adore conspiracy theories if they're handled properly).Read more ›
You know, this is a fast-paced science fiction yarn that will keep you turning the pages, and you may even enjoy yourself, and for .99 cents, this is a good deal and I can recommend it. However, anyone writing an honest review should point out a number of aspects of this book that must be recognized for what they are: a lot of standard cliché characters, cliché subplots, cliché backgrounds, etc.
Don't believe me? Consider: Mel Gibson's character in Lethal Weapon? A tough Vietnam Vet haunted by the memory of his dead wife. Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Inception? A tough investigator haunted by the memory of his dead wife. Bobby Simone in NYPD Blue? A Tough cop haunted by his wife's death from cancer. How about good old 007, James Bond? Yep, he's got a wife in the freezer, too!
The hero of Season of the Harvest? Why, by golly, he's a tough FBI agent, a former Afghan war vet with a dead wife who was brutally raped and murdered. He's also devilishly handsome, square-jawed and a silent loner. I mean, why create a new, unique interesting character when you can just go grab one off the shelf from the Cliché Store?
How about the female lead character in this book? Well, she can be found in Aisle 9 of the Cliché Store next to the baked beans. She's a brilliant, genius scientist, who happens to be unbelievable gorgeous, totally pure of heart -- and just so plain hot, hot, hot!
Don't believe me? Try: Tara Reid as Aline Cedrac in Alone in the Dark (2005), Robin Riker as Marisa Kendall in Alligator (1980) and Saffron Burrows as Dr. Susan McCallister in Deep Blue Sea (1999).
What do they all have in common? That's right. They're all the same woman, except some are sexy blondes and some are sexy brunettes!Read more ›