My Blog

Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Friday, October 2, 2015

To Die A Stranger

 A woman finds stardom out of boredom. Then a twist of fate sets her on a road to danger and espionage, leaving her to deal with what it feels like TO DIE A STRANGER. Pro Se Productions Presents TO DIE A STRANGER, a Science Fiction Thriller from author Jilly Paddock set in a world where human and machine are paired in order to assure control. A control that one such pair will challenge. Anna-Marie has it all. A pretty face and a life of leisure backed by the wealth and status of the family business, the Delany Computer Corporation. It's not enough. Anna's bored, so she dabbles in showbiz as the holo-actress Amaranth Dusk. She gains some success, then loses it all in an aircar accident that almost claims her life. Scarred and severely injured, Anna struggles back to health. As her memory clears, she realizes that the accident was a deliberate attack and tries to discover who wanted her dead. Her investigations take her to Delany Corp, which has a secret at its core, a hidden conspiracy of government funded technology and espionage. Anna unwittingly stumbles into a secret project that takes ordinary humans and pairs them with computers to create spies who can read minds and walk through walls. These agent-pairs are used by Earth Intelligence, Mother Terra's primary security force, as powerful weapons to keep her empire of colony worlds under control. Zenith-Alpha 4013 is part of the project, a flawed computer who has failed to find a partner. It chooses Anna and together they must outwit all of Earth Intelligence to escape and survive. TO DIE A STRANGER is equal part science fiction tale, thriller, and mystery, blended into a seamless exploration of what the future may hold and into one fast paced action packed ride. TO DIE A STRANGER by Jilly Paddock from Pro Se Productions.

To Die A Stranger (Science Fiction)
By Jilly Paddock
Pro Se Productions
ISBN #978-1495222931
Price $12.00
242 Pages
Rating 5-Stars

“Reminded Me of The Masters.”

Knowing I’m a science fiction fan, a friend suggested this book would pleasantly surprise me so I consented to read it. It starts out with  a young actress named Anna Marie Delany, screen name Amaranth Melody Dusk, at a high class party in her honor, and I thought I had been tricked into reading a Hollywood romance novel. But then things begin to happen. Lots of things. SF stuff, and I was hooked. Heading home in an aircar, there’s a mid-air accident and the pilot is killed, and Anna’s body is burned and badly broken. She survives, but it takes a long time to heal. She can’t get over the thought that it was no accident, and either she or the pilot was marked for death. She is the daughter of Lewis Delany, owner of Delany Industries, a computer company that serves the 26th century universe of habited worlds. She soon learns that her father may not be in total charge, as there appears to be a government entity conducting secret research into advanced computer systems that are able to pair with human minds. And these people will kill to keep their secrets. When she accidentally discovers one of the super computers in a restricted building, called a Zenith Alpha 4013, the machine tricks her into mind melding (my words) with it, thus becoming part of the computer. But Professor Erik Jansen, head of EI, the top man on the Delany Site, discovers the connection and wants her dead, and the computer destroyed. They have one choice, escape to the outer worlds until she and Zenni (her computer) are strong enough to defend against EI’s mind-paired agents.

Zenni is surprised at the speed in which Anna absorbs the skills of psionic abilities. In fact, she quickly becomes powerful without Zenni’s brain behind her. Her telekinetic powers are not alone. She has mastered telepathy and teleportation, as well. She may not even need Zenni. It’s something no other human paired with a machine has accomplished, and may mean that Anna is unique. There is a clue at the beginning of the story that may come into play in future volumes. Anna has a vague memory of a strange woman at the scene of the aircar crash that is in none of the reports. Then later towards the end of the novel, a strange woman psychic appears to provide information to Anna’s father. Could this be the same woman?

This novel reminded me of the early SF masters, especially A.E. van Vogt, and his Null-A novels, in particular, PAWNS OF NULL-A. The author captures the feel of those stories, as Anna must use her abilities to escape from danger, or survive long enough to find the opening she needs. No, this was not a Hollywood romance novel; it was one hundred percent science fiction, and one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

No comments:

Post a Comment