Friday, 16 October 2015

Book Review: Frankenstorm by Ray Garton


A storm of epic proportions is brewing off the coast of northern California. Residents have been warned to prepare for disaster. It's a false hope in the face of what's coming. . .
Frankenstorm.


In a secret government lab, virologist Fara McManus tries to stop an experiment out of control--before more human subjects are infected. But in a blazing hail of bullets, survivalist Ollie Monk launches a paramilitary attack on the lab, releasing the infected into the night. And as the nightmare escalates to a fever pitch, internet blogger Ivan Renner traces the destruction as it claims more victims, beginning with a single mother unknowingly spreading the virus. A father and son, held hostage by a lunatic. A local sheriff, single-handedly fighting madness, murder, and worse. 


No one will find shelter from this storm. 


My Review:
The big problem with this book is the number of characters that we are following. There was the guy at the radio station, Ivan, who was investigating what illegal activities were going on at the old mental hospital. Ollie, defender of the homeless who is determined to rescue his people who are being kidnapped and experimented on. Fara, the doctor working on the experiments who is having a crisis of conscience and wants out. Latrice, who is delivering an illegal package to get money for medical bills. Andy,who is determined to get his son away from his ex. Mad scientist Jeremy. Hank, a patient in the hospital. Ollie's men. Emilio, the guy Ivan planted at the hospital. Mike from the radio station. Will and Margaret the homeless friends. And so on.

The problem? Lets take the example of Latrice. On pages 33-35 we get the reason for her driving as the hurricane approaches. It's page 64 before we go back to her, still driving and reaching her destination on page 72. We next see her on page 122-127 getting invited inside the house and waiting for her money. Things are going so slow That I'm left wondering WHY she features at all. Nothing much has happened with her until she is dodging bullets between pages 149-152. So I'm not getting much chance to engage in her problems or care about her. Andy suffers a similar fate as he goes to get his son. His appearances are spaced out and I don't get into his story either. He's just some guy with custody issues who we don't get to know. A lot of these side stories are totally irrelevant when the story that matters is at the facility.

This book is trying to be The Stand by Stephen King, weaving together the stories of a whole bunch of strangers, joined by one event. But as this is a shorter book, some of the chapters are only three pages before we get 6 chapters of the other characters then switch back again. The author isn't taking time to get you caring about the characters and for me there are too many stories going on. I think it would have worked better if we had those inside the facility, and Ivan outside, trying to find out what is going on. The rest of the stuff for me was a bit pointless.

As we don't get much development of the other characters, it's only those involved in the facility that get enough 'airtime'. I liked Ollie because he gave a damn about the missing homeless and dedicated himself to looking after veterans. He's the only one I really gave a damn about. He wasn't just going to sit around while everyone else looked the other way. He was going to go and save his people. Yeah! Ollie Schwarzenegger!

I did NOT like moaning faced Fara. She goes about the facility, tutting and grimacing about the terrible experiments that are going on, and despite reporting the mad scientist several times, she's still there assisting him with his project. She only decides to do something about it when she finds Emilio snooping in her office. When she realises she is rumbled for being part of it, THEN she decides to tell the truth about the experiments. It is of course too late to warn Ollie about the infected as he is already storming the building with his men! Nope, didn't like her. And as usual, the cops are all racists and psychos. Gah!

I couldn't get into this novel at all. If it had just focused on the virus and the raid, it could have been a good read. Those segments were certainly the most interesting, but we kept going away from that to other stories of other people which had no real appeal for me. It broke up the flow of the book, having never ending POV changes and it made it a bit frustrating.

Not a great book for me but there is potential for good stories from this author if he reduces his cast of thousands.


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