Tag Archives: Thomas Locke

Book Review: Trial Run by Thomas Locke

Title: Trial Run
Author: Thomas Locke
Publisher: Revell
Published: August 2015
Series: Fault Lines
Genre: Technological Thriller

About the Book (Publisher’s Description)

Dr. Gabriella Speciale has assembled an international team of elite scientists with one goal in mind–to create and control out-of-body experiences that transcend the limits of time and space. Reese Clawson’s mind-bending experiments aim to explode the boundaries of human consciousness–and annihilate the opposition in the process.

When a terrifying discovery and a string of failed tests threaten to dismantle both programs, the key to survival may reside in the mind of a gifted grad student whose unsettling dreams have thrust him into the center of a dangerous battle for control.

As the threads of perception and reality become tangled and time itself twists in unexpected directions, one warning remains clear: what you don’t know can kill you.

My Thoughts

I am impressed by this first book in Thomas Locke’s new Fault Lines series. It is written in the style of many New York Times bestsellers with short action-packed chapters and the kind of direct prose that cuts straight to the point. As a technological thriller it also falls within a genre that’s popular in mainstream fiction, but sorely underrepresented in Christian fiction.

I actually found the opening a bit confusing as I felt I was whisked from one scene and cast of characters to another seemingly unrelated situation, and another, before becoming fully oriented in the first. About the time I was starting to wonder if I should have been taking notes to keep it all straight, the pieces started to come together and note taking proved unnecessary. Meanwhile, something about the storytelling drew me in, and kept me wanting to read on and know more. And over the course of the story, the seemingly unrelated threads came together to form a fascinating overall picture.

Shane and Trent were my favorite characters in the book. I found them likeable and relatable, at least in part because they had no more idea what was going on initially than I did. 😉 They also had sympathetic backstories, worked well together, and I wanted to see them succeed.

I found the glimpses into the ideas behind quantum computing and other research fascinating and well-handled. There was enough detail to intrigue, but not so much as to bog down the story. Also not enough to fully explain, but that’d be a lot to ask of a fictional story in which understanding quantum computing isn’t really necessary for following the plotline.

This is a book from a Christian publisher, and while a clean read, I didn’t see much in the story to make it specifically Christian, aside from a few references to guilt and forgiveness. Along those lines though, I do wonder if the maelstrom/vortex that plays a prominent role in the story could have symbolic meaning to be explored in future titles within the series? I’ll be curious to read on and find out.

An abrupt ending left me wanting a little more resolution or maybe just some more time devoted to exploring the characters’ reactions to what they’ve been through in such an intense climactic scene. But I guess that’ll have to wait for the next book in the series, due out next year. There are plenty of unanswered questions to leave readers waiting on the edge of our seats.

I have no doubt there are many readers out there who would devour this book and look forward to more in the series. In particular, fans of Michael Crichton’s and Tom Clancy’s novels should give this book a try.

Thank you to the publisher for providing an advance reader copy of this novel via NetGalley for review purposes.

See also: My review of Emissary, book one in the Legends of the Realm series, also by Thomas Locke. Plus there’s a cool Trial Run book trailer you may want to check out.

Book Review: Emissary by Thomas Locke

Title: Emissary
Author: Thomas Locke (pseudonym for Davis Bunn)
Series: Legends of the Realm, Book 1
Publisher: Revell
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy
Published: January 2015

Fans of epic fantasy in the tradition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia would be well advised to find the nearest bookstore (or device capable of downloading ebooks) posthaste.  You will not want to miss the start of the new Legends of the Realm series by Thomas Locke (aka Davis Bunn).

The parallels with classic fantasy literature found in lead character Hyam’s heroic journey are quite apparent, but the story is told in a style appealing to the modern sensibilities of readers in today’s instant download age of entertainment.  What I mean by that is Emissary is a real page turner.  The writing style reminds me of a contemporary suspense novel with its short chapters and the sort of clear and easy to follow sentence structures that make a story flow effortlessly on the reader’s part.

I quickly grew to know and like the main characters and their down to earth ways and to see the need for them to accept the challenges presented and accomplish the seemingly impossible.  The Realm itself came into crystal clear focus, not through long meandering passages of descriptive detail, but through instant immersion, with important facts dropped in as they were needed.  The plot advanced quickly from point to point as Hyam mastered necessary skills, faced obstacles, and gathered the support and allies needed on his quest.  And it all led up to a thrilling life-or-death climax that I’d love to see rendered on the big screen.

Honestly, I think this novel is one with wide appeal.  It’s a story of good versus evil and of finding one’s place in the world.  It comes from a well-known (by another name) author of Christian fiction and from a Christian publishing house, but is as subtle in its Christian influences as Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

I enjoyed reading Emissary well enough I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the next in the series, especially after reading the first two chapters included in this one as a teaser.  Let’s just say, Book 2 can’t come out soon enough!  And for the record, I’ve already informed my husband (a blacksmith) that if he comes across any Milantian steel, I want him to forge me a sword just like the one Joelle carries.  😉

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of Emissary as part of the Revell Reads blog tour program in exchange for my honest review.

To learn more about this book, check out the book’s description on the publisher’s Web site or view the book trailer on Youtube.  There are also some interesting Q&A posts on the author’s blog and Goodreads page.