Friday, January 27, 2012

Review of J. A. Konrath's novel, "Origin"

One author who has become famous for being self-published, and yet best-selling (thus, giving hope to humble(?) authors like me), is J.A.Konrath. I found one of his books available as a freebee the other day, read it, and then reviewed it. Here is my review:

a technothriller cum horror, January 25, 2012

By robby charters

This review is from: Origin (Kindle Edition)

I found it a good read. The prologue was intriguing -- a bit of history that brought to mind the beginning of the film "My Science Project", also involving a president. This wasn't a copy of that, though. The first chapter -- the one where you're wrenched into the present -- was well done, with the presidents men knocking at the door at 3 a.m. Then, the setting opens up to us bit by bit through the eyes of Andy the linguist, before moving on to other narrative points of view.

He and eight others are the only ones, outside of the President, and possibly a few others who were sworn to secrecy (like ex-presidents, presumably), who know about the creature, allegedly the devil himself. At least he looks like the classical depiction of the devil. Through Andy's expertise, they get the creature talking. He's ancient. He knows Latin, Hebrew and Mayan, but he quickly learns English. His actual history is illusive, as we never know whether to believe the creature or not.

The other characters are a mixture. Sun, the vet, has recently been called in to check the creature's health. There's a priest and a rabbi. As one who has had exposure to both religions, I can say they're believably portrayed. Joe Konrath has also done enough reading up on things like ancient languages and DNA to at least sound believable. The narrative is spiced up by the banter between the rabbi and priest, chemistry between Andy and Sun, the secret desires of the doctor, and the hidden histories of each one (enabling the President to blackmail them into staying put), in an underground world equipped with everything only the army would think sufficient for the good life. He takes us from what seems like a science fiction techno-thriller, to what could pass as a horror story.

The story kept me glued til the "uh-oh" ending.

Robby Charters

author of Pepe

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