Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuval

Sleeping Giants; by Sylvain Neuval; Published by Penguin Random House LLC, New York, N.Y. in 2016; A Series:The Themis Files; Book 1.

Rose Franklin is riding her bicycle in her hometown in Deadwood, South Dakota when, as far as Rose is concerned, the world ends. She wakes up at the bottom of a square hole; its walls are glowing and the firemen who came to save her are staring down into the hole.

What they see is a little girl at the bottom of a hole lying in a giant hand. The story begins 17 years later. The little girl is grown up now and she is known as Dr. Rose Franklin, an extremely bright physicist who is being interviewed for an unusual job by a powerful employer.

Before Sylvain Neuval started this book he built a giant alien robot in a tale specifically designed for his son. So the story began with two children and one very motivated adult with an extremely varied background. Much like the characters in Sleeping Giants.

The book was originally rejected several times, but Sylvain Neuval persevered. When he sent his manuscript to Kirkus for a review he received an ecstatic review. All of a sudden, he had an agent and Sony was optioning book one of The Themis Files for a movie.

This young novelist was born in Quebec, dropped out of high school and has worked an amazing number of jobs. One of them was in an ice cream shop in California, which endeared him to my heart because that was one of my many jobs. Sylvain sold furniture, went back to school and taught linguistics in India and has worked as a software engineer; is also a certified translator and received his PHD in Linguistics from the University of Chicago.

Well, that’s enough about him. I started reading Sleeping Giants and couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than a day and a half and just sat there stunned by the ending—about which you couldn’t pay me to give you a clue. Let it be said that there are two more books coming; the next book will be called Waking Gods and is due out in 2017.

Sleeping Giants is set up as a series of interviews with the main characters by CIA type individuals who are privy to information that most people are not. One individual is CW3 Kara Resnick, United States Army, who is a top-notch helicopter pilot.

At the Coleman Army Airfield in Mannheim, Germany, an unknown interviewer talks to Kara about an incident that occurred when she and her co-pilot CW Mitchell were drifting over Syria to try and investigate suspected nuclear development sites. All of a sudden, they noticed light below them, which was unusual in itself because it was farmland.

Then all engines went full stop and for a moment all was peaceful and then they fell into what was once a field. What appears to have brought them down was another piece of the body that the original hand was a part. Secrecy was wrapped as tight as it could be and the piece was shipped back to an unknown giant chamber where the hand was resting.

I found myself reading interview after interview. Things developed and events took place that surprised me and pulled my interest into the story in such a way that I became part of the enterprise. I’m not going to reveal those events because I don’t want to throw spoilers at you.

This book is one of the most dynamic adventures I have ever read. Sylvain Neuvel is terrific and I can’t wait until Waking Gods is released. I always worry when I begin an exciting trilogy at my tender age of 70 because I want to be there when the next book comes out. At this time Sylvain Neuvel plans to complete The Themis Files in three books.

He has a beautiful website that goes with the book and I encourage anyone who has interest in the book to peruse it. It is and you will enter the strange world of Sylvain Neuval.

There are people who compare this book to World War Z and The Martian. The only thing this book has in common with World War Z is the interview style. It’s so much better than World War Z—I couldn’t even finish that book. I loved The Martian, to tell the truth, but Sleeping Giants has a magic that goes beyond Mars. It really does. They have the book at Harvard Square Books, and you can get it on Amazon too but if you buy it on Amazon, go to Amazon UK and see if they still have it in stock—the European dust jacket is killer.

Wanton Regard by Geoffrey Neil

“Fate Don’t Negotiate. . .” – Gage Dolan

click the book over if you are interested in buying this book...As I read the book, Wanton Regard, I wonder what kind of mind Geoffrey Neil has, to be able to come up with a fiend like Gage Dolon. This is Geoffrey Neil’s 3rd book and his writing is every bit as good as Stephen King’s or Joe Hill’s writing. The only difference is he deals with what is real rather than the supernatural. This makes it all the more terrifying.

Hailey Vaughn doesn’t know what it means to live in a digital age where someone who is obsessed with you can watch your every move, can listen to everything you say, at home, in the office, even in her car.

But there is a guy, we’ll call him Gage because that’s what he calls himself, who is totally obsessed with Hailey Vaughn—and he has big plans for her—as he watches everything she does and even manipulates aspects of her life without her awareness of any of it. For a while.

The author, Geoffrey Neil, in Wanton Regard, has created one of the most monstrous villains I’ve ever read about. He calls himself Gage Dolon and he has big plans for Hailey. To make matters more complicated, Hailey has a husband named Mason who is extremely jealous and loves guns.

Hailey Vaughn is the maiden in the middle. She likes to go for a drink in the morning at a place called Hot Perks and orders a medium half-caf, no-foam, non-fat, vanilla soy latte. A Barrista named Marissa works there and makes the drink for her, exactly as she likes it.

Gage is aware of this. Extremely aware. Frighteningly aware.

Let’s leave Marissa at Hot Perks in the short time she has left there and go back to Hailey Vaughn at the office where she works. She has just received a call from Gage Dolon, or whatever his name might be, about her note pads that she left behind while she was at a conference handled by The Small Business Growth Expo.

Gage is sitting in his car, parked in a vantage point where he can see into Hailey’s office window. He is offering to return the notepad and his voice is so gentle and suave. While he speaks to her he watches a live feed of a high-definition mini-cam loaded with footage of Hailey.

Hailey is flattered that this man, Gage, is willing to go through so much trouble for her. There is so much that Hailey has to learn and Gage Dolon wants to be her teacher. Hailey is not yet aware of the trouble Gage has gone through to gain access to her life.

Mason, Hailey’s husband, works nights and goes to the gun range almost every day. Hailey hates the guns but Mason thinks that Hailey should learn how to handle one for her own safety. Mason is also concerned that Hailey is having an affair with her assistant Robert.

On the front of the book it says, “Inspired By True Events.” The deeper I go into the book, the more it makes me think of certain events that I have read in the news. I can’t tell you what they are because I want you to read this book. Why should I have all the spine-tingling pleasure of watching an electronic net cast so carefully around Hailey Vaughn.

I’m a little ahead of myself. Hailey, flattered by Gage’s attention, meets him at a hotel and has dinner with him. She is utterly charmed. Gage is skillfull and he quote’s his father, “Fate Don’t Negotiate,” as he tells Hailey that it was fate that brought them together.

click the book over if you are interested in buying this book...Hailey isn’t fooled. Or is she? The net is cast. Her jealous husband is cleaning his guns. Hailey is drinking a little too much wine. The electronic devices are silently spinning a web, as if a spider was wrapping its meal for later. Have you ever seen an insect struggling as the web surrounds it?

As I read I think of a song that was popular in the 50’s. It was called Sincerely and one of the lines in it went like this—“and I’ll never ever ever ever let you go, sincerely—“.

This is Geoffrey Neil’s 3rd book. Like his first two, Dire Means & Human Resources, it gripped me; like Hailey, I found myself in the snare. I started reading Wanton Regard on Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend and finished the story before Sunday evening. I would advise you not to start any of Neil’s books unless you are ready to set aside the next day or two to live in his world.

You can find his books on Amazon & EBay or just by Googling Geoffrey Neil. He has his own website. Believe me, once you read one of his books, you’d hunger for more.

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