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‘GENERATION’ a Dark Techo Thriller (NOT approved but commented on by the author) with Pudding Shots – review & recipe

THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM A TOUR AS PER THE AUTHOR’S REQUEST 

Someone said to me, “Kriss you will love it, it’s a zombie, well scientific umm errr… pandemic?? well .. sort of … just read the book..” Yes, that is about how the conversation went. Well, I heard zombies and thought AWESOME! When I read the synopsis I thought huh? I love procedural crime novels. I love when someone gets really technical and scientific and fiddles around with genomes. I had also read a response on the Amazon page:
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meets the X-Files.” ROB SVENSON
Sounds great right? I adore the X-files (all but Season 9, the non David Dechovny). And from the description of it being a story being investigated by a yellow journalist. OK, I thought, this was well vetted! Well I was wrong. Here is the official product description from Amazon, keep this in mind as I discuss this book. Also keep in mind put everything together and overall I was going to give this novel a solid 3 but I decided with everything taken into mind (some aspects higher and some a tad lower overall   3 1/3 Star’s:
PROVIDED SYNOPSIS:
A crime-thriller with an injection of horror
__________________________________________________________
Journalist Hendrix ‘Aitch’ Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic-research lab to an influential drug company. Aided by Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into a  grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining. But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

Instead of giving you a traditional review sounding a bit like “First this happened, and then you have these two characters, there was passion, and there was a bad guy and .. etc..” I feel there is more of a critique needed.  For this review/critique I am the Gene Shallot of Indie Book Publishing… well minus the mustache, the ‘fro and the double chin.. OH and those awful glasses! (But not the bow tie.. bow ties are cool!)

I feel the need (adjusting my bow tie) to delve into a few things that caused my struggle to read this novel. This read should have taken me 3-days tops. I read fast, but I am highly picky about specific technical issues. I get really hung up on little things that ruin a story for me. So please remember as you read through this post and go “Kriss get over yourself, that is nothing juts let it go”, hear me say this “No, I won’t let it go. Just give what I say a chance!

I am in the habit of reading analytically, I cannot help it, it is what I do. If I have no problems I can say “Woohhoo I LOVED this book, it was SO fun…” and gush everywhere, which you all have seen me do. Because of this I tend to take all forms of  ingested media apart if something bothers me..gets stuck in my teeth like many little things in this book did. But because this book was obviously written by someone with a creative AND technical mind I ended up analyzing,  trying to find the hidden meaning which in turn ruined the adventure of the read for me. Every artist mixes something special into the pigment of their piece. With so many well constructed metaphors and images within GENERATION, to have someone so carelessly use these two recognizable and popular works sets the readers up with expectations. I had more than a few.. Zombie like? X-File like? The powerful duo of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo? (cracking knuckles). Let’s get down to a few.

X-Files comparison:

Yes, I can see this definitely. A journalist not accepted as a true journalist because of the publication he works for,   a paranormal paper.. Mulder! Absolutely nothing wrong with this. He is a freelancer, and this publication happens to be the place that sends him the most work. He seems to be happy to getting the work considering how he left the service. (The reasons why he left are EXTREMELY important and are dumbed and played down and this is another problem for me..This was hinted at but never completely explained unless you really are paying attention and taking notes [umm ya I did LOL] ) The scientist, the person of reason, obviously our entomologist Dr. Sarah Wallace is our Scully.  OK I buy it so far.

Girl with a Dragon Tattoo comparison:

No clue other than you have a journalist who has been blacklisted due to being sued by a person of influence and power who targeted him on purpose after he got to close to the truth. YES that is about where it stops. (thinking a bit more… umm hmmm) yes this is where it stops. OK you got me there.. right (throwing pen down). But no this is not all!

Let’s talk about the main character for a bit. Hendrix Harrison, what a great name right? It is a GREAT character. Though I think that some of the character building needed to be a bit more precise. Most folks label him, including in the Amazon details, as a technophobe. This is very misleading, he is not TECHNICALLY a technophobe.

technophobe [?t?kn???f??b] n

  1. (Sociology) someone who fears the effects of technological development on society and the environment. (NOPE not this one)
  2.  someone who is afraid of using technological devices, such as computers (uhhh nope! So ahh hmmm but I believe this interpretation and definition would be the one the reviewers and who ever wrote the blurb was referring to) 

OK so the second definition sort of fits. However, TECHNICALLY he is a man suffering from PTSD. He was discharged from the military because of an incident that involved him leaving his men behind and what happened to cause him the psychological disaster of his military career.

I cannot really go into why calling Harrison a technophobe is truly wrong without it becoming a spoiler, but as I read all the references about the incident during his military tour in Afghanistan it is actually a  PTSD causality. Suffice it to say, he has a good reason NOT wanting to be hip with a new smart phone and be forced to tweet or text. He does when he HAS too but he does not even want to face his phone or have anything to do with it, again, unless he forced into a corner, as when he has to text the doctor to get her attention.

If he was a technophobe Harrison would not be using his bloody laptop constantly. In fact he is described at one point to being in his element as he types furiously away at it. He prefers printed photos not because he is afraid to use a digital camera, but because he is old school. I  went to journalism school also, and  many journalist are the same way. They like working with the media and have  a hard time moving on and away from print media.  Would the normal reader know this? No but the author is a technician, he knows his technology and so he knows these arguments, and in this I applaud him! It is a wonderful part of Harrison’s character development

4 starfor all character development needs to be noted. They are well constructed. The sinister corporate man, the powerful media mogul our focused scientist.. even the poor geriatric widow are well rounded and three dimensional. 

Another amazing aspect of writing that makes this author shine, and makes me really not like giving it just a GOOD rating is his incredible chapters from the viewpoint of the victims of the genetic modification treatment, labeled as “case” numbers. It speaks not only directly to the dangers of messing with “creation” but also for me I could see how Harrison is another victim. He is not infused with this horrific GM therapy, but his soul is in a constant state of regrowth just as fast as the flesh of it is decomposing because of what happened to him while serving overseas.  These are threads woven by the authors voice for me. As horrific as it is to read about these poor victims, it has a dark beauty that speaks to the under tones of the book.

5 stars for the psychological horror painted for me, for the not so subtle message of the dangers of gene modification as well as a VERY subtle hint of politics.  Especially the ending. It was perfectly wrought!

After reading 85% of the book with some sexual tension, much like Mulder and Scully, between our journalist and our doctor (see I can give props to a reviewer of such caliber *rolling eyes*) I still was unprepared for what happens. Maybe a kiss but they were in the middle of a clandestine search for the truth and to regain their reputations that were being squashed by Big Brother Pharmaceuticals, much like Lisbeth and Mickael. (see again with the props in relation to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

But unlike these two couples… wait perhaps partners would be better, partners thrust together in circumstance by someone or some company in a position of great power.  However I think the reason that it was compared to these two  partners  as a popular culture reference is of perhaps some misguided advice that “sex sells”.  Sure it does, but this does not mean that you have to have a rough and (what reads IMNSHO to me  uncomfortable scene written in after the authors final draft at some misguided persons insistence suggestion. I bet there is a version of this novel having a kiss, or perhaps a bit of gentle touching which was due to the nature of moment because each Harrison and Wallace are at the proverbial crossroad of their careers and lives.

1  star -  for this poorly constructed and awkward hack erotica/sloppy porno scene.

I think this book would be a good study at the dangers of small publishing houses and your work. I believe this author has been poorly advised. I can see the threads of the story and I feel the novel had huge potential!  I can also see someone else’s voice being half hazardously threaded in many different parts of the book. Oh I am sure that Knight wrote all of it. But I can tell it was probably suggested by an editor/marketing “professional” to write things in, such as the sex scene. It was uncomfortable, and unnecessary. All it did is make me throw my hands up and exclaim “WTF” more than a few times and cause my poor cat to yet again hide underneath the bed till Geoff got home.

OK so let’s wrap this up:

  • Characters 4 /5 stars + 
  • Psychological Horror 5 stars’s + 
  • Miserably failed sex scene 1  star +
  • 10 ÷ 3 = 3 1/3 Stars

I need to add one thing (this is post publication of this piece) The ending? It was BRILLIANT non-traditional and unexpected! FANTASTIC… absolutely disagree that this is a cliff hanger. This is what made me rethink a few things and made me question the other voice I kept hearing. This book, worth the read JUST to get to the ending and read all the INCREDIBLE psychological and visual horror scenes of each case file.. THIS part of the canvas gets 6 STARS!

‘GENERATION’ a Dark Techo Thriller (NOT approved but commented on by the author) with Pudding Shots – review & recipeGeneration
by William Knight
three-stars
Pages: 288
on October 22, 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Science Fiction, Thriller
Source & Buy Links: Tour Company
Amazon • • Goodreads •

A crime-thriller with an injection of horror.

The facts behind the fiction.

In 2001 scientists isolated the gene for regenerating damaged organs from the DNA of a South American flatworm. Within five years it had been spliced into the chromosomes of a rhesus monkey, transported through the cell walls by a retro-virus denuded of its own genetic material.

Attempting to regrow impaired or elderly tissues, a scientist will one day modify the DNA of human beings by injecting the gene-carrying virus. It is just a matter of time.

Before consenting to treatment, you may want to ask a simple question: could there be a situation in which you would want to die but were unable to do so?

Journalist Hendrix 'Aitch' Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic-research lab to an influential drug company.

Aided by Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into a grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.

But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research

I received this book from Tour Company in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

William Knight has a large pool of talent. I think that he may need to find another editor or someone else to read and suggest changes. There is another “voice” hidden between sentences and it ruined the read for me. It was less crime heavy and more thriller with a criminal and science (touching on fringe) flavor. Would I recommend the book? Meh…  I would probably say hey? Read it, tell me if you can see what I see! Tell me if you were frustrated.. prove me wrong! Ya that is probably how I would roll.. wait how I am rolling! BUT I could not resist ONE thing, I could not resist throwing in a recipe, some adult dirt pudding cups…

Body Farm Pudding Shots!

Yield: about six servings

Body Farm Pudding Shots!

Ingredients

  1. 8 oz of cool whip
  2. ½ cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream
  3. ¼ cup of UV Cake Vodka
  4. ¾ cup of milk
  5. 1 small package of instant chocolate pudding
  6. Vodka infused gummy worms
  7. i package of chocolate wafers coarsely crushed

Instructions

  1. Mix the milk and the pudding together with an electric mixer
  2. Fold in the Cool Whip
  3. Stir in 2/3 of package into the pudding
  4. Add the alcohol, making sure that you mix the alcohol very well.
  5. After mixing the alcohol to the pudding, you can now put it into individual cups
  6. Spread the rest of the crumbs on top of each cup (about six cups)
  7. Shove a couple of gummy worms into each cup (remember we have Body Farm dirt here)
  8. After mixing the alcohol to the pudding, you can now put it into individual cups, layer them in a baking dish and gently cover with Saran wrap and place in freezer to solidify

Notes

OK You do not have to soak those worms in vodka, but they get fatter, Bigger and oh so much more of a BAM!

I have used plastic high ball glasses, small sundae cups (as shown), small canning jars, you get the picture. You can have fun with the sea through items and layer the dirt and pudding. and see those lovely worms .. I have also used candied pecan bits sprinkled in the cookie crumbs it looks like rocks and gravel.. have FUN!

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15 Comments

  1. An excellent review as always no doubts here at what you liked and why and what you didn’t and why.
    Show me some love!

  2. Wow!Kriss, I would kill to be able to write reviews like this! Really. And, I completely agree with everything you said, and with the rating. As for the sex scene … I put it a little more subtly, but this is what I meant. It actually made me want to stop reading.
    But, I did feel it was a kind of cliffhanger, but now that you say it, I can see the potential for imagined horror there. I did think it needed to be a bit more obvious for people like me.
    Show me some love!

  3. Wow, what a hot and cold review. *Katy Perry song plays* Thank you for providing your honest, well-rounded opinion. I’m glad you enjoyed the characters, horror, and non-conventional ending. Would this book get a higher rating if the sex scene was torn out of your copy? :-P

    • No it needed to be there, the intimacy was needed to start bringing these two characters forward into the next phase of their life. It just was badly executed and outside his writing genre, which is why I felt someone must have told him to put it in. And that is me being hopeful and nice and not saying “Oh god honey do not write about sex when you can’t” If the scene was better developed, less crass and more real yes it would have a solid four stars perhaps a touch higher.
      Show me some love!

  4. Thanks Kriss for the wonderful review and recipe, and for taking part in the tour. Body farm mud pie? I can’t promise to devour it without a blindfold.

    I feel compelled to answer some of the critics about the sex scene, since I find it hard to fathom how much these two pages of the book have been talked about. I re-read the scene to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

    They don’t have sex. The simply get their clothes off in moment of lust and compassion.
    That they come close but DON’T have sex is important to the story: Hendrix is unfulfilled in his career and in his own self-analysis. He is now unfulfilled in relationships. This development is key to him turning back to rescue Sarah later. And as a plot device, they are made vulnerable and appear naked before their accusers! This too is a metaphor for their overall struggle.

    It was in the first draft! In fact it was longer and more detailed in the first draft, and has been kept in through the many drafts because of the importance to Hendrix’s development.

    As for the reader being “uncomfortable”; when they’ve just read a scene where live bodies are chucked into an incinerator, I’d have thought a little light, and somewhat humourous undressing and touching might be just the ticket.

    • That they do not have sex I understand as part of a plot device, that the sex scene being necessary to the development of Hendrix’s character, yes I saw that. I struggled with why it was there because I felt maybe a different interaction between the two took place, that you perhaps had written a more subtle “sex” scene (perhaps intimate would be better here) and were told to ramp it up to sell it because it was poorly executed.

      You clearly can write the other subjects/genre because the rest of it IS well executed. I knew you were solider and had the experience, even without reading interviews I could have picked up on that (former military wife).

      I did talk about the incineration scene going straight into the “intimate” scene between Hendrix and Sarah but I did not want to have any spoilers involved in my assessment so I removed it from my original draft. You are absolutely right, that is a HUGE horrific moment. It was where a bunch of threads you had woven throughout the story being brought to a head and “burned down” metaphorically screaming in the fire happens.

      I would have left it like that. Do not peddle to the audience, no need to have a light moment. If you were using the “naked in front of you enemy” metaphor (which was I did see, so yes I got it) you possibly needed to turn to someone who writes in this genre for advice.

      I struggled with how you could have done this within my my first draft, which was twice as long *faceplant* and full of to many spoilers. Having read your comment, I agree it needed to be there, but how they go there and the execution of this secne of BOTH being detached individuals and trying not only to find some form of connection in the midst of this horror they had just witnessed, plus to finding someway to connect with someone else. (being a entomologist and scientist a person ends to be detached socially, connecting through the world with her bugs. His unfulfillment and his detachment etc..) so yes I saw where you were going. Which is why I struggled, why the scene was uncomfortable. Not because of the subject matter (far from it for me I have NO issues with erotica or intimacy being used in a story, non what so ever.. if you only knew LOL) it is HOW it was executed.

      If you are going to use something in a story as a plot device of such importance, in the future you may want to have someone help you write them because it totally took the power out of the horrific scene I just had read. So much so I totally focused on that when I would probably had waxed on about these absolutely beautifully wrought CASE numbers (the victims) and this scene at the incinerator (again did not want to ruin it because that part SLAMMED me hard) instead it derailed me and took all the power you had built up and popped my “holding my breath and clinching my jaw” stance.

      I would have given it a solid four if you were able to pull that scene off. I am glad you liked the rest of it, but if I am not the only one bringing up being thrown off by 2 pages you may want to consider that next time intimacy is needed as a plot device.
      Show me some love!

  5. Still disagree with you on this one, but sweetie you deserve the prize for most originality!!! Love the Body Farm Pudding Shot recipe!
    Show me some love!

  6. Very passionate review. I love it. We can agree to disagree about the non-sex scene. I thought the relationship moved on after they got over the trauma and found each other. My only disappointment then was the novel moved on and finished to quickly after then. I am intrigued though as to how you would have liked it written. Sincerely. Perhaps you could give us a taster here?
    As I said. Great review.

    • As I said in my response to the author, I think the intimacy shared between the two after the trauma ,them finding each other after the obvious attraction happening that is cat and mouses… a gentle dance if you will, works fine. I think the scene was poorly executed and crude. The language did not match the novel which is full of beautiful Purple prose, if you will (not a negative comment btw) So to have such a crass scene takes away from the powerful imagery that has been built up. I agree, it works in fact to the point it needed to be there, and yes it would have been better to have a bit more after this. However, again, it was not a comfortable read because of the lack of ability to make it a believable intimate scene.

      **btw that they did not have sex does not mean it is not a sex scene.. sheesh do not get all Clinton on my ass people LOL*

  7. I haven’t read the book so I’m going to comment here on what I’ve noticed from some reviewer friends who have reviewed throughout the tour have stated.

    The book is good. Great! The author just sucks at writing sex. Plain, simple and honest. Mr. Knight if as you yourself have stated many people don’t care for the scene I as a reviewer would suggest write, write a ton but don’t write sex because clearly it is not your specialty. In fact it seems to hurt the book you have written, so as much as it may hurt and you don’t want to hear it. Write what you are good at it but don’t write what you are not good at and that apparently based on multiple reviews I’ve read is sex.
    Show me some love!

  8. As always a great review sweetie. I had thought about reading this book until I read your review and a couple of other reviews now I do not think I will read it. It does not sound like something I would want to read. Maybe when I am off the weekend of the 13th you and I can get together and have some of that pudding lol *HUGS* from the bunnies
    Show me some love!

  9. Yikes,
    Your detailed and highly readable review provides some embarrassment over many of mine. I would think author and publicist would be thrilled to have that much ink(?) devoted to their book. I am shocked and awed that you were removed. That is absurd and borders on Fahrenheit 451. I guess that is why I don’t get asked to be in tours very often, I too, “calls them as I see them”.
    Keep up the good work!!!

  10. Well, I think it was a really fair review. And, your only objection was with the sex scene. When I see the word “cock” in a mainstream book, I know the author has made a terrible mistake. I would deduct a star just for that. That was the height of crudeness. You don’t see it even in erotica nowadays.
    And, getting removed over this is simply crazy. Shows the author to be overly sensitive. You were never disrespectful, but just stated a point forcefully. I really don’t know what he will do when he gets a 1-star review. That is guaranteed to happen sooner or later, if he can get his book to sell.
    I see a lot of flame wars in his future. *shakes head*
    Show me some love!

  11. Here is my issue with the author doing this. One you can’t take critique = bad. The reality is that some people will not like your work. Two the book was liked one portion was by many not just you Kriss but many people stated as not being well written or fitting with the book. It was suggested that the author keep writing as there is much talent there but do not write sex scenes as you simply are not good at it. Why this was so hard for him to take I don’t know but now this author comes across as a whiny cry baby who has made a fool of himself in front of many bloggers. I find this sad I am friends with many authors but as much as I love them if I didn’t like there books I would say so, one author friend was shocked I liked his book as he didn’t think I would so that should say that they know that a good review even from a friend is no guarantee. Take critique, learn from it what you are good at and not good at and improve.
    Show me some love!

  12. Absolutely love the review style, what more could a writer want than for someone to delve into their work with so much passion and enthusiasm. You understand the craft, Kriss, that is crystal clear.
    This is a new level of book reviewing going on here world, this is why I follow this blog – outstanding entertainment! A recipe with gummy worms too – excellent stuff! :)

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