I was given a copy of this book by the Author in Exchange for an Honest Review
The Book Blurb: “An emotional and suspenseful prequel to e-Thriller.com’s July 2013 Thriller of the Month, EXIT REALITY from the Ray Garret/Lifeline cyberpunk detective technothriller series!
Death is but a doorway… when SoulServe holds the key.
One by one, a group of scientists at Brizen Health are being murdered by… something. Doctors, subjects, and even janitors are reporting disturbances in Section 671, the Neuro-Technical Division. Ever since the death of Dr. Carl Broxson, the server room in Section 671 has maintained a negative 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Printers turn themselves on and print out terrifying cryptic messages. People have been seeing things in and out of the virtual world of the Lifeline. Including the apparition of their beloved colleague Dr. Broxson himself.
When local police realize the case leads directly into the deep digital canyon of the Lifeline, Antivii agent Ray Garret is called to the scene to get to the bottom of things before another brilliant mind can be taken. But when his wife, Rhonda, starts falling at random and begins to have seizures, the ghost in Brizen Health could be Ray’s only hope to save the love of his life.”
Alright, this review should be pretty short because this was a novella, and honestly there is not much to talk about. SoulServe is the prequel of another novel called Exit Reality. It deals with the character Ray Garret and his investigation into a series of murders happening at a place called Brizen Health.
I know that what I just said is up there in the blurb but that is because there is not much else to this story.
This is at best average for me. You see, Exit Reality came first, and I assume that there are better explanations as to the characters and world in that then in this, because frankly I know next to nothing about anything other then who the villain was and how the story played out. I know almost nothing about Ray other then the fact that he is something called an “Antivii Agent”. I have no idea what Antivii is though. I got the idea that the Lifeline is basically the net only visually. After 3 chapters I finally learned what HPDID was (seriously, if you are going to use an Acronym please tell me what it means as soon as it first appears!) and realized it was basically a jack in device for said Lifeline.
I know that Ray was married to Rhonda, and that she got sick.
But beyond that? I know next to nothing. I don’t know WHO these people are. Or what these things are. There was next to no world building done, and I can almost guess that it would be very difficult to do so in 100 pages. Further, early on plot points feel disjointed as the narrative seems to jump from event to event, almost like the bits in between are meaningless. Everything just felt rushed.
Now, thankfully it does have a solid ending, with everything about the case wrapped up. And the actual technical aspects of the writing such as format, spelling, and grammar usage are all spot on. But it felt, well, soulless. I did not care what happened to Rhonda because I knew nothing about her. How could I? My intro to her was her making dinner and falling down, then her going to a doctor, then her having a seizure. She is basically there to make Ray emotional.
Then there is a strange bit involving a woman trying to seduce Ray for some strange reason which I still don’t understand. That came out of left field honestly. Especially given the ending.
Truth be told I feel this would have been much better if it honestly had more world building and time spent getting me hooked on the characters. But things moved so quickly I could not really connect with anyone or anything here. It just felt so lifeless.
Overall I give this a 3/5. I am not a fan of this at all, its dead average for me, and I don’t think I would want to read Exit Reality at this point, as that actually was written BEFORE this one, and thus I am worried that the mistakes and missteps here are repeated there.