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Shadow of a Dead Star (The Wonderland Cycle #1) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Shean
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.99
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Book Description

“Shadow of a Dead Star was something different and refreshing. It pulled out emotions long forgotten in reading piles of similar books, and reminded me of why it's important to take a chance on something new every now and then.” – Jessica, Goodreads reviewer


Shadow of a Dead Star is the first instalment of cyberpunk trilogy, The Wonderland Cycle, its high-tech setting shot through with much older, classic detective noir DNA to form something fiercely unique that has been exciting and surprising reviewers left, right and centre.

“Set in Seattle in 2078, Shadow of a Dead Star follows Industrial Security Bureau agent Thomas Walken. Walken is the grizzled, cynical hero who fights to keep black-market technology from making its way into the mainstream. When he intercepts a smuggled shipment of little girls hardwired as sex toys, he finds himself tumbling down the rabbit hole into a nightmarish world of synthetic humans, hard-talking hackers and the kind of technology you thought only existed in Blade Runner.” – Icy Sedgwick, independent reviewer

“Shean's writing rips you out of your comfortable chair and hurls you directly into the story. It is one thing for a writer to write a story about a dark and brooding place, it is something entirely different when the reader can actually feel the coldness and the despair emanate from the page.” – Karen DeLabar, independent reviewer

“Well-written, nicely paced, and offers some surprising turns in a genre often referred to as tech or future noir. A list of fitting reference points you'll see mentioned will include Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Neal Stephenson, Cyberpunk, William Gibson, CSI, maybe even some work by Warren Ellis.” – Chris Hallock, ChiZine

Fans of cyberpunk, classic noir and crime thrillers alike will love Shadow of a Dead Star and its sequel, Redeye (due end of 2012).

Also available from Curiosity Quills Press:

** Set in the same Wonderland Cycle universe as Shadow of a Dead Star, Michael Shean’s Bone Wires follows CivPro detective, Daniel Gray, in the hunt for the elusive Spine Thief.
** For lovers of detective noir with a horror twist, search out Michael Panush’s Stein & Candle Detective Agency series
** And for those who like their dystopias laced with moral ambiguity and religious zealotry, Nathan L Yocum’s The Zona will satisfy your appetite.

Editorial Reviews


"Shean is not kidding... Dark, hostile, vicious, sexy and above all intensely thought provoking." Anthony Bellaleigh, Goodreads reviewer

From the Author

Shadow of a Dead Star is the first of a trilogy - the Wonderland Cycle.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1626 KB
  • Print Length: 383 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463681623
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press; 2 edition (November 30, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006JQ1HLA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly dark and gritty futuristic noir February 11, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
In Michael Shean's futuristic noir, Shadow of a Dead Star, we follow the gut instincts of Thomas Walken, an agent with the Industrial Security Bureau in Seattle, 2078. In a world where technology and commercialism is god, it is up to Walken to keep black-market technology off the Seattle streets. He has no idea that when he's sent to intercept a shipment of smuggled Princess Dolls, which are little girls turned into sex toys, that his entire world, and the world as he knows it will be lost to him forever. When the dolls are stolen out of custody, Walken is put on the spot to find out the who and why behind it and this time it's not just his job on the line, but his life.

Shean's writing rips you out of your comfortable chair and hurls you directly into the story. It is one thing for a writer to write a story about a dark and brooding place, it is something entirely different when the reader can actually feel the coldness and the despair emanate from the page. Shadow of a Dead Star captures the spirit, or actually, lack-of spirit that the noir genre is so popular for. Walken hates the world as it has become; a world where most people have more hardware in them then actual organs. He has no implants, or upgrades to help him to do his job, yet he relies on his gut instincts, instincts that have proven to be very useful in the past. He's a loner, again a must for the noir genre, someone who does his job because it's his job and moves on.

One of the questions Shean tackles within this novel that I absolutely loved is that of humanity and what makes us human. In Walken's future people can hook themselves up to computers for a plethora of reasons from receiving and sending data to performing sexual acts amongst others.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Flat and disconnected August 28, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book presents itself at the beginning and for the most part as the story of a lone wolf detective against a conspiracy of the decadent and corrupt super rich. Unfortunately I am unable to refer to it as a detective story due to a number of key failings. Many of these failings appear to be from a basic lack of planning, experience and no editorial influence or commitment to quality storytelling. I am genuinely baffled how this book as received so many positive reviews.

The first and most obvious throughout the story is that the protagonist is never really challenged to do any detective work of note. Everything from critical clues, vital information, his lust interest (more on that later), the deaths of his enemies and even entry to a top secret facility is all handed to him courtesy of him being the main character. What little deduction Tom Walken* makes is unengaging because the reader does not have enough information to understand the significance of it and the mystery concludes with a speech that attempts to justify the various plot holes with "it had to happen that way". There is very little structure to the story and even less mystery that we are able to appreciate and I can't even really summarise what the "big mystery" he's trying to solve is beyond "the thing that happened!".

Most annoying of all the plot stumbles along stubbing it's toes on and then largely forgetting drama points and even what the task at hand is with no direct narrative and a closing dialogue that goes to great pains to try to cover much of this by literally telling us that things were constantly outside the protagonist's )(and by extension the reader's) understanding or perception.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story! June 27, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I thought this was going to be just a run of the mill detective story in a sci-fi setting. It totally wasn't. This story blew me away. I could not put it down. Another reviewer mentioned that this was not the usual "crud on the shelves right now" and he was right. The story and concepts are completely outside of what you find from most sci-fi authors these days. The character of Walken is a well written example of a humanist trapped between three realities; the one he knows, the one he wishes it could be, and the one it really is. It's that last reality that sets this book apart from others in the genre. This book grabbed me in chapter 1 and never let go until Michael Shean had taken me so far down the rabbit hole I saw where the worms eat. I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Book Info: Genre: Science Fiction/Detective/Future Noir Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free eGalley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: Seattle, 2078. The future hasn't been kind to the spirit of humanity; commercial obsession and technological fetishism rules the day, religion and belief has died screaming in the fires of war, and what remains is moral decrepitude. Life in the future is hard on the soul.

As an agent of the Industrial Security Bureau, Thomas Walken knows that better than anyone. His job is to keep the worst kind of black-market technology out of the hands of citizens, technology born out of the shadowy nation nicknamed Wonderland. But the kind of fantasies that come out of that place aren't for the good people of the world. Wonderland technology is like black magic made real.

Walken's newest assignment starts out simply: intercept a smuggled shipment of Princess Dolls, little girls turned into sex toys, and bring them into custody. But when the girls are hijacked from federal custody and Walken gives chase, he finds a trail of bodies in their wake. Before he's through, Walken will find himself confronted revelations that will answer every question that the troubled lawman has ever had about himself and the world he lives in - but his mind and soul may not survive it.

My Thoughts: This is a very dark book - the world in 2078 is not a nice place at all. Seattle has completely changed - what used to be a quirky and artistic place has been replaced with corporate sterility, only the Verge standing between the New City and the Old City retains any of the original charm.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Scifi detective
This is like a scifi detective story. Its fast moving. The only problem I had is about 3/4 through you kind of thinking you know how it will end.
Published 3 months ago by Kenneth W. Walker
4.0 out of 5 stars Rugged noir
It's dark in Seattle. A gum shoe. A beautiful dame. The future of urban planning comes from within. Vivid moments. Touching connections between reader and character. Clear imagery. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern cyberpunk that proves the genre still has purpose
Somewhere between the horrible Citizens United court case and realizing Google not only powered my search engine but also built my phone and browser, I stopped reading cyberpunk. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Tom Whalley
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow
“Shadow of a dead star” is the first book in the “Wonderland cycle” series and it had me gripped on the first page. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robyn K
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book until the end
I have to say when I discovered this book and started reading it I was totally engrossed. It was a cyberpunk noir mystery in a gritty future word. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun, unique ride
Shadow of a Dead Star starts out looking like a typical detective novel, if set in a not-entirely unrecognizable future. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Christopher H.
5.0 out of 5 stars SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR
I got the 1st book and finished it with a question, which is what I supposed the author meant to do. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jacqueline Dickens
5.0 out of 5 stars chilling thriller
This novel is a hybrid of noir crime thriller and dystopian science fiction. It presents a world of fantastic advancement in technology set against unimaginable poverty. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ernie Cooke
2.0 out of 5 stars Had potential but ended up falling flat.
<b>How did we end up here?</b>

This was part of my Curiosity Quills intake that I got about a year ago. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Donna C
3.0 out of 5 stars More than a TV tuned to a dead channel...
Overall, a solid independent title written well. Influences include the cyberpunk movement in both literature and role playing games (felt like I was playing Shadowrun back in... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Derek Miller
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Topic From this Discussion
Congratulations to Micheal Shean
Hey Matthew, thank you so much! We're excited to see where this goes, but the response has been really optimistic :)
Jan 1, 2012 by Amazon Customer |  See all 2 posts
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