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“Jolt” where were you when I needed power? Review of K.D. McLean’s latest

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Don’t judge this book by its cover!

I have to giggle a bit because I read this book during the time when we had the Stormageddon up here in Alaska and we were living in someones basement because the power was out at the cabin for almost a week. I moved it up the TBR list because I felt like I was in a state of emergency, no power.. buwahahaha! Anyway I was sucked into the story and had an enjoyable read.

I enjoyed the focus on the characters as they each face their own demons and with one touch a homeless man changes their lives. What happens when the man touches each person and anyone from the ordinary man to those who are already considered exceptional become shining stars? In a world where the impending fight over fuel and the world corporations are going to war over oil, just how far will they go and what will it take to save the future. Free FUEL? Heck ya, I could use some of that.

I loved the characters, I loved the build of the story and am looking forward to reading more. It is a quick and interesting read, one of those that make you feel good inside. Sure it had a message but it was able to come across without being preachy, which is appreciated. Also.. love the baddie! She was wonderful! Glad I got a chance to read and review.

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Now my issues with the book: If you are wondering where the cover actually is, there is a reason for that. I initially marked this review a 4 on Goodreads without the cover being a big issue. But, before the tour became live the author changed not only the cover but the synopsis and the title and none of them reflected the story I read. The original cover is in on the button, the new one you can go see on Goodreads, I refuse to put it here on the blog. The new one? Oh I will let you make your own call. If I was a casual reader looking for something in this genre, I would never purchase this or even look at this on Amazon or anywhere else with that cover, no matter how good the synopsis sounded. Also I wrote the review before all of this was changed since I read the book back in mid-November!

But it was more than just this cover, the synopsis and the title changed. UGH! Here is the original blurb (heck I wonder if I even read the right book or if she changed that up too!) Plus the new cover has nothing to do with the story 🙁 That and this book is not a dystopian, in the least. So the new title would have had me not reading it also (you all know how I feel about dystopian)

JOLT Countdown to Armageddon

JOLT begins with a touch. A touch that will either send the world spinning out of control, or return it to where it belongs…

Joel Heath PhD, is obsessed to unlock nature’s secret of an alternative source of clean, abundant and cheap energy. It’s the most important research a physicist should be doing. His single mindedness has alienated him from his peers at Queen’s University.

Joel’s potential success is a threat to conglomerates such as Devlin Energy. Phil Devlin has Joel terminated from his position before there are any breakthroughs. Devlin will protect his company’s enormous profits and the influence such wealth buys at any cost.

On a cold December night, Joel encounters a homeless man, Charlie Maracle. Visions of impending global slaughter, triggered by an Oil War have driven Charlie to the brink of insanity. Joel’s simple gesture of compassion is rewarded with a dazzling insight and within hours, the LITE device is created.

 Joel learns how ruthless a man protecting an empire can be. Devlin’s private strike team has a mission—bury this device by any means necessary. Their ferocity and speed is overwhelming.

But Charlie has also encountered four others. A young woman battered by a series of crises, a middle aged widow and a fatherless teenage boy. To each of them Charlie imparts a gift. Or is it a curse?

These five people are all that stand in the way of Phil Devlin’s plans one night before Christmas.

Yep, I will judge a book by it’s cover, I do it for a living. So, 3.5 with my Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin here on the blog. With the change in title and synopsis for my 10 point rating system more like 6.25 out of 10. Sorry! I tried to keep quiet but as someone who does design, branding for authors etc, I would have strongly suggested against this move. After talking to authors all of them agreed they would rather have me be honest about the whole package than to not say anything or misrepresent myself. Again with all that said, go back to my review. This still was a story I enjoyed, the package, the outside, totally takes away from what is inside, and though many of you can say you should not judge a book by its cover, this one just seemed to be confused.

He kept his head down. Like blinders on a horse his stringy hair kept the faces of the people ignoring him from his peripheral vision. He had been out on the street begging all day and now deep into the night. With each step his feet ached from the cold. He placed them as softly as he could, every pace agony.

He was muttering to himself, arguing with the unseen tormentors of schizophrenics everywhere.

“No, no, no! I won’t! You can’t make me!” repeated over and over again.

The rank stench of too many clothes and too few baths surrounded him, an unseen barrier between him and the shoppers and diners rushing home.

He paused for a moment. “Okay! Okay!” he muttered as he approached the entrance to Odessa’s. He brushed the hair from the side of his face and peered in the window. Brown teeth peeked out from behind his salt and pepper beard when he grimaced. He sidled backwards until his back rested on a telephone pole. He wasn’t even forty years old and was worn out.

He jingled the coffee cup at passersby. “Gotta quarter? Gotta dollar? It’s cold out here. Gotta quarter? Gotta dollar? It’s cold out here.” He remained as unseen as always.

He waited.

 **********

Joel came out of the restaurant entrance. He looked to his right. Cathy’s home and store were only four blocks away. He knew he should feel guilty for what he said to her, but he was only telling her the truth. She had always been jealous of his accomplishments when they were kids. She never recognized the work and drudgery of studying every night. She had been too busy with her nose buried in some novel or glued to the television. He had worked damn hard. She had everything handed to her on a silver platter.

He turned to his left. His own home was only four blocks away.

“Gotta quarter, gotta dollar, it’s cold out.” The wretched panhandler was at the edge of the sidewalk, leaning against a telephone pole shaking the coffee cup at him.

Joel took another quick step towards a shower and bed and stopped. He turned. Oh man, that guy smelled. His hand went into his pocket and fingered the change. He peered at the guy. They were probably close in age. What kind of dreams did this guy have when he was 16? And Christmas is coming, right? Cathy had made it all too clear he was a heartless bastard—emotional misfit? He pulled all the change out of his pocket. Up yours Cathy. He bent over to drop the coins into the cup.

The beggar’s hand shot forward like an arrow, fingers clutching Joel’s bare hand.

“You are the light.” The beggar’s black eyes opened wide, stabbing him with their intensity.

“What…” Joel’s hand splayed open from the force shooting up his arm. His feet were rooted to the sidewalk. An avalanche of fire invaded every cell in his body—fire without pain. Time slowed. He could hear the crackling of snowflakes crushed by the falling coins.  Microscopic particles of snow glared, iridescent and coursed through his optic nerves. He squeezed his eyes shut. It was too much. He pulled his arm but the beggar wouldn’t let go. He was so strong!

He shut his eyes from the intensity. He saw a brilliance he had never experienced before. Colors cascaded through the spectrum before him. Violet to blue, to green, then yellow. Each one subsuming the other. Then orange, then red.

His entire consciousness was flooded in white. Not a glaring white, a peaceful and total whiteness overwhelmed him.  Oh God, it was beautiful. All was one! One was all! Through his clenched eyes a single tear trickled down his face. Oh!

And then gone. He was released. The suddenness almost caused him to fall backward. Stumbling for a second, he regained his footing and watched as the beggar fell to his knees, scrambling with bare fingers to claim the coins.

“Mine! Get away. Go see her! You’ll know why. Well, fuck yourself.” The beggar shot him a quick look before resuming his search.

What the hell? Every hair on his body was standing at attention, tingling. He leaned over to touch the beggar’s shoulder, to help him to his feet. What the hell just happened? “See who? Cathy?”

The beggar’s arm swept upward, knocking Joel’s hand away. “LEAVE ME ALONE!” The homeless man stood up, scowled at him and lurched up the street.

He took a step back. Easy Joel, this guy might have a knife. What just happened? He couldn’t chase that guy if he even wanted to. His feet were one with the Earth. What the hell did that mean? It meant something joyful. He closed his eyes again and turned his face to where he knew the stars were watching. He arched his back, his arms stretching out. The single tear joined by others. He opened his arms to embrace the stars and galaxies. They were one with him and he with them. He held the universe in his heart and cried silently. He opened his hands and felt the stardust in the snowflakes as they landed and melted.

It was all clear now. And it was so simple. How could he have missed it? Yes!

His eyes snapped open. “Yes!”

He straightened up. He looked at the few passersby who eyed him curiously.

“It’s okay, just had a moment here,” he said. He smiled at them. One nodded back. They all left.

He turned and started walking. Then walked briskly. The hell with it, he started to jog. He didn’t feel his feet slide on the patches of snow. Move it. He began to run back to the lab. Ribsey would have to eat the dry kibble he set out every morning. Sorry buddy.

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