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The Clarity: A Novel Hardcover – February 20, 2018
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“A taut, riveting thriller, a perfect balance of scientific speculation and storytelling.”—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Seventh Plague
“[A] strong debut . . . Thomas maintains the believability of his tightly coiled plot throughout.”—Publishers Weekly
"Chilling speculative thriller. Tautly plotted and well researched, this book is a riveting take on the possibility of afterlife and reincarnation."—Book Riot
About the Author
Keith Thomas worked as a lead clinical researcher at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine and National Jewish Health before writing for film and television. He has developed projects for studios and production companies and collaborated with writers like James Patterson and filmmakers like Paul Haggis. He lives in Denver and works in Los Angeles.
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Keith Thomas's THE CLARITY reads like the very best of Dean Koontz's output, the mid-career stuff, like LIGHTNING and THE BAD PLACE and HIDEAWAY and TWILIGHT EYES, and, yes, even WATCHERS. It has government conspiracies and unstoppable assassins and mind control and laboratory testing gone wild! The only thing it's missing is a super-intelligent Golden Retriever; thank (insert deity of choice here) for that! These are all good things in my book. In fact, I'd double down and say that Keith Thomas is better at writing like Dean Koontz than modern-day Dean Koontz is at writing like Dean Koontz. If you miss the Dean Koontz of yesteryear, you're gonna love this book.
I've seen some promotional stuff that says this one's for Stephen King fans but I do not agree with that, not even remotely. While the book feels a wee bit like FIRESTARTER in places, the writing is nowhere near as personal and laid back as King's writing is. Thomas is technical and impersonal, and as I stated above, he feels much more like a Dean Koontz, without the purple prose. See also: Michael Crichton and Robin Cook.
Rade was my favorite character to read about. Some of his inner thoughts and reflecting on past kills and lives were gnarly in the best possible way: truly horrific and not for the faint of heart. The cheese-grater scene was especially gruesome and I appreciated a mainstream thriller getting down and dirty in such a way. It's rare that modern thrillers have any guts in the gore department. Everything's usually so clinical and glossed-over; this is because the publisher wants to move as many copies as possible. I mean, do you blame them? Yet victims in THE CLARITY do not get off easy. Well, some of them do, which brings me to a major complaint of mine.
Cutting someone's throat, even if you cut completely through the carotids, doesn't kill them instantly. Severing the carotids still takes a minute or so before the brain shuts down due to lack of blood and oxygen. Yet, in this book, multiple people die instantly after having their throats slit. The book lost half a star alone for that super-convenient method of dispatching red shirts.
But where THE CLARITY lost a full star from me was on the final page. Literally the last page of the book, where the author tacks on his hope for a sequel, because sequels sell and make money, money, money, MONNNNNN-NAY! But not everything needs to be a series, bruh. This book ESPECIALLY doesn't need to be one. Neither Ashanique nor Matilda (that was the lady's name...right?) are strong enough to carry an entire series, much less another novel, and the only other compelling character, the one that might've been able to carry multiple books, is dead. My advice is, let this one standalone, Mr. Thomas. Please and thank you, because I have no interest in reading a sequel to this book, and I feel the majority of readers will feel the same way.
In summation: An above-average and gutsy dangers-of-science thriller with compelling characters, a nice tight plot, and a seriously messed up villain. Plenty in the way of action and death, and loads of gore for those splatter fans out there, yet it still brought enough originality to the table to keep me interested, and I'm super picky where that's concerned. THE CLARITY definitely doesn't need to be a series, as it stands alone, in my opinion, just fine as-is.
Final Judgment: Let sleeping dogs lie.