Declan Stringfellow's toddler son is an innocent bystander, killed when a drugs deal goes wrong. Devastated, Stringfellow embarks on a vigilante crusade, earning himself something of a hero status by the local population, a wanted status by the police, and a 'kill him' status by the crooks. When one of his vigilante escapades results in him getting shot, a routine MRI scan at the hospital has unexpected results. (Though I had to ask myself why scan someone's brain for a bullet that went into their shoulder.)
Up to this point, the book works fairly well. Sadly, since that was only the introduction. When Declan then wakes up three hundred years later in a cloned body aboard an interstellar starship, the plot becomes laboured, if not downright shaky - the introduction of characters that don't do anything; twists that have little or no point, conversations that confuse rather than clarify. There's a lot that fails to be said, and too much that shouldn't be.
While the core idea is interesting (an MRI scan of someone's brain, later used as a neurological map to recreate their memories inside a blank clone) the plot, science and characters seem somewhat thin. I get the impression the author felt so, too, as the entire thing concludes in less than 100 pages. Unsurprisingly then, the pace felt somewhat rushed, with the potential for building suspense and jeopardy completely ignored . There was scope for this story to go much further, and for the characters to become more rounded and 'lifelike'. A shame it didn't happen, since the writer's enthusiasm was clearly evident.
If this was McElhaney's first novel I think he did a good job, but the book needed more meat, and a more skilled hand.
This is a kindle ebook, and comes in at around a dollar on amazon, so the fact that it's short is no skin off anyone's nose. If you like a short, sharp read that doesn't require much ponderation, you might enjoy it. For me, it's a no.
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