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Comments And Reviews
"Embark on a hair-raising ride." --- ForemostPress.com
The 2009 PODBRAM Awards
Regular readers of PODBRAM know that in order to acquire a review here, an author's book must pass the gatekeeper's initial examination, be specifically selected by one of our reviewers, and then survive our legendary book strip-search and dunking tank. These are the best of the best. Without further delay, here they come!
Shifted is not your father’s werewolf story. While drawing on some classic elements of the werewolf legend, Colin D. Jones’s novel breaks new ground in the genre, producing a theory for lycanthropy that incorporates quantum physics and the multi-verse theory and even traces its roots back to the Viking ulfhedinn, or berserkers. The result is a taut, well-developed novel that is more science fiction than horror and completely enjoyable by a wide range of readers.
Mark Arsenault is a young man with a terrible secret. He knows that some dark monster lurks within him, struggling to get out. Not being a fool and growing up in the era of 70’s horror films and comic books, he knows perfectly well that the term "werewolf" most appropriately applies to his condition. Yet, he does not fit the all the classic descriptions of a werewolf – "It" wants out all the time, not only during a full moon, and the touch of silver does no harm to him. Also, no part of the werewolf legend can account for the Ghost – a shadowy but familiar figure which tries to guide and educate him – or his occasional glimpses of the future.
Raised in a loveless and abusive household by a mother and stepfather who fear and hate him, Mark lives an isolated existence until a caring teacher takes an interest in him. However, a kindly offer of refuge might just develop into something deeper and set off a chain reaction of events, leading to a cataclysmic event. A government agency, which knows exactly what Mark Arsenault is, is seeking to enlist the boy for its own nefarious purposes. The visitations from Ghost, whoever he is, are getting stronger, and Mark’s own exploration of his darker side suggests – in the vein of classic horror films – that the monster inside him, while capable of great violence, is not a monster at all and may in fact represent the noblest part of himself.
Shifted is well-written and carefully edited, as well as craftily plotted to build suspense. Jones reels out the information carefully over time, revealing just enough to keep the reader understanding events but not enough to give away what’s coming next. Characters are well-rounded, and dialogue is highly believable. The scientific basis for Jones’s version of lycanthropy makes sense and is presented without resort to awkward exposition or phony conversation. My only complaint is that the cover image has a comic book feel to it that does not quite match the novel. I rather wish the image was made to look more like a 70’s comic book cover – which Mark Arsenault might well have been reading – or replaced with something more elegant and dignified, to match the cleverly designed scientific theory created by the author. Overall, this was a highly enjoyable novel that should appeal to science fiction readers as well as fans of horror/paranormal books and classic monster films.
Dianne Salerni for PODBRAM
Colin D. Jones' explosive first novel, Shifted, deftly interweaves Norse myth and quantum physics, child abuse and social alienation, against the backdrop of the waning days of the Cold Warand the not-so-distant future. The world Jones paints is at once solid and shadowy, beautiful and dire. It is a place where a young and unlikely hero may hold the key to the stability of space-time itself.
A former aerospace technology writer who spent time in the U.S. Army as a Journalist and Psychological Operations Specialist, Jones currently works in law enforcement. In Shifted, he brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to bear. Whether writing about topics as disparate as the Gordian domain of subatomic physics, or the bleak, hidden life of battered children, Jones keeps it real for the reader.
Shifted introduces the reader to Mark Arsenault, a child slowly coming to grips with the fact that neither he nor the outside world are what they seem. As he grows up pondering his unearthly nature, he stands precipitously balanced between superstition and science, between human and inhuman states, a hovering spectral entity continually warning him of a coming apocalypse. Pitted against a dysfunctional environment, brutal parents, sinister government agents and corrupt cops, Mark struggles to find his place in both reality and in an asymmetrical love triangle as time runs out for the universe.
Jones' writes visually and compellingly; his characters are complex flesh-and-blood people, as genuine and ordinary as someone the reader might meet on the streetor in their nightmares. The narrative hits the ground running and accelerates briskly. Along the way, the reader will encounter mind-bending twists and surprises as the plot races to its fiery conclusion.
After reading Shifted, the reader will likely need to catch their breath for a moment before wondering if they will ever see reality the same way as before.
"You'll be held spellbound in this twist-filled thriller."
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