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The Real [Kindle Edition]

James Cole
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.95
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $13.96 (82%)


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Book Description

THE REAL: The award-winning supernatural thriller, #1 "Ghosts" bestseller and 2011 overall top 100 Amazon ebook bestseller!


Who wouldn’t want to become cognizant of secret realms?
When seven hippies burned to death 39 years ago in a tragic fire, a ghost story was spawned. The legend, passed down by students at the local University, centers on Claire Wales, a.k.a. the Hippie Queen. Graduate student Jeremy Spires thinks nothing of the tale until he stops on a deserted road to help a stranded motorist, Grady, who retells the ghost story as if it and the Hippie Queen are real. Despite Grady’s warnings to stay away, Jeremy and his devoted girlfriend, Jinni Malone, plan a camping trip to the very place – Reefers Woods – where the hippies died. After a near-death experience, an ultra-vivid dream and bizarre visions of children roaming about, Jeremy wonders if there could be some extraordinary power manifested in Reefers Woods. Can Jeremy, in his role as a cynical scientist, dare to believe in the supernatural? Can he discern what is real and what is not?

Do you know what it is to burn?
No? Neither did Jeremy, at least not before a girl, a beautiful stranger, kissed him unexpectedly in a bar. In the days that followed, and despite his love for Jinni, Jeremy cannot turn his thoughts away from the provocative encounter. When Jeremy gives in to his forbidden desires and seeks out the mysterious Monika, he is thrust into a shadowy subculture of sex, drugs and rock-and-roll, of which he had been completely unaware. It is Monika who asks the question, and subsequently reveals what it is to burn.

I can’t believe she’s dead!
The intrigue and suspense intensifies after a ritualistic murder at the University draws the attention of the nation. After learning that the victim is someone very close to Jeremy and after finding evidence linking him to the crime scene, the police focus on Jeremy as a suspect, forcing him to search for the real killer and to try and make sense of the many unforeseen twists and turns his life takes.

What is THE REAL?
THE REAL may be described as a murder-mystery, an action-adventure and a supernatural thriller, deftly folded into one. The observant among you might see the novel through an allegorical lens or even as an extended fable. Regardless, this book can be experienced on several levels. It is up to you, the reader, to decide how deeply you wish to delve.

Pertinent Review from Amazon Reader, "Queen Bee" from Auroro, Co (12/30/11):

The oldest battle in history is the battle of good versus evil. Does evil really exist? Is there more to our existence that what we believe to be "real"? Can a person harness evil and sway otherwise good people to the side of darkness?
These are the questions explored, investigated and brilliantly brought to light in "The Real". It's not really a paranormal story; it's not a romance; it's not religious. It is a well-written mystery that leaves the reader begging for more. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to lovers of all sorts of genres!

"Do you know what it is to burn?" (Monika Cassel)

"Sometimes one must join the darkness to perceive that which is in the darkness." (Jeremy Spires)

"Some things are worse than death. Remember this." (Grady)

Kindle version copyright© 2010 NightTime Press
352 Pages

Editorial Reviews


If one could read only one book this year, it should be The Real by James Cole. A first novel by a southern writer, it is brilliantly written and once started, one cannot put it down. A supernatural mystery/thriller set on a southern college campus, one can see the writer's clarity of intellect, the breadth of his information, and the profundity of his knowledge. The measure of a writer's work is not quantity. If he can get as much intensity and as much meaning into a novel as possible, it will last as long as it is good. This work of art will endure. --J.C. Simmons, author of the Jay Leicester mystery novel series

News Release (5/15/2011): THE REAL received a finalist award in the highly competitive mystery category of the 2011 National Indie Book Awards. --Ellen Reid, founder of The National Indie Excellence Book Awards

From the Author

     I was born and raised in the sheltered environment of a small town in Mississippi. As a child, growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, the loves of my life were bicycles and tree houses, white-sand streams and swimming holes, and the friendships and summer days I thought would never end. I lived for being outside and for summer. The outdoors, especially the nearby woods, represented adventure, exploration and discovery. Summer meant absolute freedom. It was those innocent and grand times of my childhood that provides the backdrop for my writing.
     While I have spent a great deal of time in a number of fine educational institutions, having most recently received a hard-fought Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Mississippi, I have no formal writing education and no publishing history to speak of. I am not James Cole, inasmuch as this is not the name I was born with. And, even though it is said that a pen name is not meant to be a writer's secret identity, I will, for the time being, keep my true identity from you and my given name a secret. It's not that I don't like who I am - though I suppose we all would like to change certain aspects of our persona - but I rather like the idea of becoming someone else for a little while.
     For years now, those close to me have been asking, "What kind of book are you writing?". It was the most basic question, but one I really couldn't answer. Now that it is finally done, I think I am better able to understand this Frankenstein of a novel I have created. It contains a mixture of genres - mystery, adventure, romance - but the best description I can give is that it consists of a complex layering of storylines, each one's meaning more subtle than the last, but all of which mesh at the end in a most unusual and surprising fashion.
       At its most superficial level, THE REAL is a murder mystery. The book opens with a flash forward to a brutal killing on the University Grounds before going back to a time weeks before the murder. It is during this span that the other storylines are developed, i.e., that of the Hippie Queen ghost story, which is the beginning of a string of events that may or may not be - but certainly seem to be - of the supernatural variety.
     A major theme of the novel revolves around the temptations that lead Jeremy away from his loyal girlfriend Jinni and lure him into a forbidden world of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, courtesy of the beautiful but strange 'other woman', Monika. There is also an underlying moral to the story that is as symbolic as it is subtle in its presentation. I hesitate to even mention this part because a fair majority of readers might not want to be bothered with having to try and decipher any form of symbolic meaning.  The book stands well on its own without one having to delve into its most deeply concealed secrets. However, those who go to the trouble to notice and comprehend the hidden meanings will get the added bonus of discovering an additional level of intrigue and truth revealed. For this group, I say, pay attention to the details and you will be rewarded after
all is said and done.
      So, until the final pages are turned, I have only one question for you, and it is the same question that Monika would ask of us all:
     "Do you know what it is to burn?"

Product Details

  • File Size: 657 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: NightTime Press (June 27, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,827 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "An epic reading experience" August 28, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
While I have never had the urge to write a book review before, I felt obliged to pass along my opinion after reading this novel.

I am a voracious reader of mystery fiction (-love my new Kindle!) and so consider myself well-read in this genre. Over the years it has become increasingly hard to find books that are not "cookie-cutters", with similar plotting and predictable endings. This book is different from that and, in fact, is different (in a very good way) from anything I have run across before. I am not exaggerating when I say that "The Real" is the most cleverly-spun and thought-provoking story I have ever read.

This book will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat. It has a good mix of adventure, romance and mystery with an almost poetic delivery. Anyone with half a mind who takes a chance on this book will be be richly rewarded for his or her effort.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Could have been good December 31, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was an intriguing and imaginative story that deserved a better telling. It could have been good if the author had just stepped away from the thesaurus and listened to actual human beings interacting with one another.

Parts of the dialogue that actually could have worked toward showing the characters' personalities in a natural way were painfully over explained as if the reader is too stupid to infer from the context that when the Asian grad student with bad English says "flattened", she means "flattered". Because she's Chinese. From China. Not from around here. A few more vaguely amusing mistakes are then over explained to you, to drive the point home, you know, that she's a foreigner, and sounds dumb when she talks, you know, and then she proceeds to explain how free radicals can cause errors in mitochondrial DNA in perfectly intelligent English for two pages, while the main character, a scientist studying viral DNA, mind you, repeatedly interrupts to ask "In layman's terms?", which she can also manage just fine, with no "amusing" mistakes to let you know how endearingly foreign she is.

While I found other issues with the writing, the misused adjectives and misunderstood metaphors probably stood out the most. Just because you happen to like a certain turn of phrase doesn't mean you have to find a way to work it in where it doesn't mean what you want it to mean. To most of us, a "glass house" implies hypocrisy, and therefore doesn't really work as a descriptor for your good girl heroine's pure and honest heart. As a reader, it tends to jar you right out of the story when your mind keeps finding "that does not mean what you think it means" moments.

My unsolicited advice is to throw out your thesaurus and buy a dictionary instead. Speak plainly. Say what you mean. Be true to your characters. Don't insult your readers' intelligence. And be a little nicer to Chinese people, especially if you're going to make them do all your research for you.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really kinda sucks. January 17, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll keep this short, since you are probably already exasperated from trying to read this book, and found this review wondering "am I the only one that thought this sucked?".
No, you are not alone.
I think the waterfall, excuse me, "Devil's Crotch" (OH HOW CLEVER!), is a good example of why this book sucks. The waterfall description is way, way too much. And boring. And, at this point in the book, we don't even know why the main character is such a prick, just that he is. The dialogue is clunky, the plot is choppy. Certain parts, or rather, the way parts are told, is just stupid. He goes into "reefer woods", on "sticks river", through the "devil's crotch" and winds up in an alternate universe of drugs and sex...really? Who thought this out?!?Is this young adult fiction? Come on!
The dialogue in the canoe is laughable, so incredibly unrealistic, I wonder if the author was just kind of guessing what college kids talk like?
When I read the bio, I see the author has a PhD in chemistry, so now, it all makes sense. This is what happens when a chemist tries to write a fiction book. Not only does the inherent social awkwardness of someone so clearly gifted in intellect shine through the writing, it makes it hard, rather, uninteresting, to read.
The author is no doubt a genius, and it shows. But he is not necessarily a genius at writing fiction. I think the real disappointment comes with the editing. Someone should have said "too much!" in several parts, while other parts are so disjointed that you wonder if you skipped a page! With closer collaboration, I think a sequel could be a great read.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In the minority January 19, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had to come back and read these reviews again...I thought maybe I'd confused this with another book. I have struggled to get halfway through. This book is terrible in every aspect. Characters- unrealistic. Dialogue-Cheesy. Story-keeps getting worse. It sounds like it is written by a junior high kid. What college guy uses the word "tinkled"? I am astounded at how many people gave it rave reviews.
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Really bad December 20, 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The reviews of this book really hooked me into purchasing but I was dreadfully disappointed. It is really poorly written. His style is unsophisticated, sentence structure was boring, and so many unfortunate descriptive terms--I quit the book about three quarters of the way through out of sheer frustration. The main character is just not compelling and I cared about him less and less as I made my way through. The author's understanding of human interaction and insight is very limited and as a consequence I ended up not caring about any of it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Should have skipped
I picked this up for free over 2 years ago. I think I knew something by waiting....

9,060 locations. It's too long. Far too long.

The hero, Jeremy? Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jetpack
5.0 out of 5 stars The real
Good book.I would give it a eight just cuz u left us hanging about Jeremy and his girl.where do you go next?is there a sequel? Would definitely recommend!!
Published 3 months ago by Kathy Rohde
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great
Ok, so im not going to one of those extremists and say it was the best thing ever, nor will I say it was terrible. Read more
Published 3 months ago by april hodne
5.0 out of 5 stars suspenseful to the end!
This mixture of science and mysticism engrosses the reader while creating a spooky horror tale made all the more real because of the logic it presents.
Published 3 months ago by Molly Harbridge
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read
I'm not sure where all the negative reviews are coming from. This was a good read that gave just enough in the way of clues to keep me engaged, however, left enough intrigue to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Finnegan
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
This book unravels and keeps you wanting more. I had a hard time putting it down. The story line mixed with both the real and unreal left me wanting more and more!
Published 5 months ago by laura
3.0 out of 5 stars THE REAL
Parts of the book were boring and i skipped through the pages. When i first started reading i almost archived the book, then it would get interesting and then not so much.
Published 6 months ago by Debbie
5.0 out of 5 stars great read!
A well written story that moved along at a great clip sowing doubts about various characters and sewing the thread that ties them together. Thanks for telling a great story.
Published 9 months ago by Jess Sayin
3.0 out of 5 stars Sorry James
The lead character in this novel wasn't a very bright guy. I figured out the big mystery of the story pretty quickly and couldn't believe this guy didn't get it before the end. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Karen A Root
4.0 out of 5 stars good book
i loved books about the supernatural this was well written. i would recommend this book to anyone who loves ghost stories
Published 14 months ago by juana moree
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More About the Author

JAMES COLE was born and raised in the sheltered environment of a small town in Mississippi. As a child, growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, the loves of his life were bicycles and tree houses, white-sand streams and swimming holes, and the friendships and summer days he thought would never end. James lived for being outside and for summer. The outdoors, especially the nearby woods, represented adventure, exploration and discovery. Summer meant absolute freedom. It was those innocent and grand times of his childhood that provide the backdrop for this author's writing to-date.
Published by NightTime Press, THE REAL has been many years in the making. James first conceived of the novel while attending Ole Miss, where he obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1995. In the intervening years, the book was an on-again, off-again proposition until late in the summer of 2010 when the novel finally became a reality. The story is first and foremost a fictitious mystery. Contained within is a whodunit murder but in the composite THE REAL is a complex weave of several subplots that bring together strong elements of adventure, thrills, the supernatural, and romantic interest that in the end converge in a way guaranteed to surprise and amaze even the most insightful readers.
It is with keen anticipation that the author begins writing the sequel, even as his promotional tour for THE REAL has just begun.

Find out more about James Cole and his creations on the author's website:

News Release (5/15/2011): THE REAL received a finalist award in the highly competitive "mystery" category of the 2011 National Indie Book Awards.

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