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Falling Star (The Watchers Book 1) by [Chen, Philip]
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Falling Star (The Watchers Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Length: 356 pages Word Wise: Enabled Matchbook Price: $0.00 What's this?
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Philip Chen was born in China in 1944 and immigrated to the United States in 1949. Growing up in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s and 1960s, Philip learned both the pains and triumphs of American society at a crucial turning point in America's history.  In the fifties and sixties, Washington stood at the crossroads of southern institutionalized racism and northern false hope; a point not lost on the young Chinese immigrant.

After receiving a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with Distinction from the University of Virginia and a Master of Science from Stanford University, he worked as an ocean research engineer in the development of deep submergence systems. Part of his work dealt with vehicles that could freely dive to 20,000 feet of water depth. He also participated as a hyperbaric chamber operator for manned dives inside a pressure chamber to 1,500 feet. He holds one U.S. Patent for an underwater mooring system.

After his stint as an ocean research engineer, Philip was an environmental and energy engineer, a trial attorney, a public securities attorney, an investment banker, a corporate executive, a private equity manager (in Africa), a strategic consultant, a cartoonist, an illustrator, a website manager, and author. He received his law degree from the University of Minnesota.

One of his mentors once told Philip that it wasn't that he couldn't hold down a job; he couldn't even hold down a career! Philip's biography has been included in Who's Who in America and in Who's Who in the World for many years.

Product Details

  • File Size: 477 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 145389845X
  • Publication Date: August 3, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003YCPK4C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #761,267 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Philip Chen has had an extremely interesting career and it shows in his work. His detailed descriptions of highly technical equipment and clandestine government operations is very impressive. The thought of what mysteries might lurk beneath the vast expanses of our planet's seas and oceans is in itself a thrilling yet sobering thought. Philip's use of our innate fear of the unknown and irrepressible curiosity about the unexplained catches the reader's attention in the beginning of the novel and our curiosity builds as he feeds us titillating tidbits throughout the book.
Underlying the bigger mystery in the sea, another mystery unfolds on land as his characters are set upon by unknown forces willing to stop at nothing to stop the top secret agency known as C-SAC from learning about a powerful new weapon based on sound technology. The action is fast-paced and illustrated by colorful descriptions of blood and gore as the C-SAC couriers are eliminated one by one while its top members search frantically for the leak in their chain of command information dike. Their findings are as chilling as the mysterious objects at the bottom of the sea and Philip's expert rendition lends a completely believable air to the situation that perhaps leaves its readers with slightly different views of the little old lady sitting next to us on the plane or the grease monkey changing our spark plugs.
Falling Star ends just as mysteriously at it begins and puts the reader in the mood for a possible sequel.
Mr. Chen's writing style is precise, almost military and chock full of information that makes the reader wonder if this story might not be fiction at all, but something very real and very disturbing.
I noticed very few grammatical/spelling errors in the book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good techno-thriller with sci-fi overtures. (less)
like this book
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Format: Kindle Edition
It all began with an anomalous magnetic signal. From there, the situation expanded quickly, drawing in multiple acronym-plagued departments, too many officers to count, and a great amount of confusion, thus eliciting a combination of paranoia and justified concern on the part of the United States government. Chen's story is well thought-out, the many layers of conspiracy a clever merging of the political and the fantastical.

Chen appears to draw upon many of his own experiences in this work, as evidenced by the technical minutiae provided for every underwater vessel, as well as the similarity in background between his education and ethnicity and those of his protagonist, Aloysius "Mike" Liu. In spite of this connection, however, Chen evenly distributes his focus between several key players and avoids focusing solely on the experiences of one. This enriches the storyline by encompassing multiple arenas in which important action is occurring.

Unfortunately, there were in fact too many characters introduced over the course of the book. Many of them had intricate backgrounds, which detracted from the story by giving the reader too many things to take in at once. Most of the characters we are told about only appear for one or two scenes, after which they vanish, save for a brief reference later that was nice as a tie-in but not wholly necessary to make the novel work. This book might have benefited from having the spotlight focused on the central characters, with dimmer lighting for what is essentially the background.

Perhaps what contributed to the confusion was my distraction by several writing ticks. The author has the tendency to repeat himself, such as restating the subject in every sentence within the same paragraph.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The basic story idea for this book is quite good. The execution however is mostly mediocre, at times excruciating. For every interesting character (and there are a couple), there are a number of forgettable ones. The author also makes the mistake of trying to make characters that _should_ be forgettable, interesting. To exaggerate, sometimes it's like reading a scene where the primary protagonist gets pizza delivered, and one and a half pages are then dedicated to the pizza delivery man's upbringing. Then a single sentence of him handing over the pizza and never being mentioned again.

This amount of pointless detail extends to actions as well. At times it's like reading a book about a racing car driver, and every few pages being subjected to exactly how the key is inserted into the ignition, followed by the turning of said key in order to activate the starter motor. It gets downright embarrassing when this level of detail is attempted in areas the author hasn't researched properly. Especially considering it wasn't necessary to go into detail in the first place. Sometimes, all we need to know is that they got into the car and started it (not how an engine work). Or stopped at a diner and had something to eat (not what, as well as how the cook prepared it).

And then there's the telling of the story. It reads more like disjointed journal entries than a cohesive story. The dialog is at times atrociously poorly written. There are too many instances of irrelevant scenes clearly inserted because the author wanted to include experiences from his own life. The list goes on.

I'm generally a big fan of indie authors. But they need to run their novels through a few filters before publishing.
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