Sunday, July 30, 2017

Book Review ~ The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

The Punch Escrow
by Tal M. Klein
Published July 25th 2017 by Geek & Sundry

"An alt-futuristic hard-science thriller with twists and turns you'll never see coming. I couldn't put it down." -Felicia Day, founder of Geek & Sundry

It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure... Arrival... Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-fifth century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

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It’s 2147 and the world is a fascinating place to live.  Don’t want to age?  No problem as due to nanotechnology, humans can live as long as their heart desires.  Hungry?  Just ask your fancy 3D printer to whip you up a meal.  Need to take a trip across the world?  All it takes is a blink of the eye due to teleportation.  Yes, the world is a perfect place for those looking for instant gratification.

But not everyone is excited about all these advancements that science has given them.  There is a religious group that is opposed to teleportation, believing that it basically is playing God and that when people use the teleportation device, they are dying in one place and resurrecting in another.  And these thoughts aren’t as farfetched as one might believe.

Enter Joel Byram.  Joel’s a smart guy.  His job is to train artificial intelligence to act more human and he is really good at what he does.  His marriage however is not the best.  His wife, Sylvia, is never at home as she is working on a top-secret project that she can’t discuss, but it’s big and will change the world. Determined to rekindle the romance that they once knew, Joel and his wife plan a trip to Costa Rica.  Sylvia leaves before Joel and they are to meet up once Joel arrives.  Those plans are destroyed however when someone blows up the teleportation center that Joel was in. But due to a glitch, Joel is still alive……in two different places

And that my dear reader is when the action ramps up and this story gets exciting.  I’m not going to say anymore for fear of giving anything away, but there are some serious twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

If you are a fan of hard science fiction, then you’re going to love The Punch Escrow, a new and exciting novel by Tal M. Klein.  I’m not even going to pretend that I understood some of what was going on while reading this story, but I can appreciate the author’s writing and his talent for storytelling, and the research that went into writing this book.  The characters are believable and the suspense is gripping.  Most of the story moved along at a steady pace.  I say most because there are a few footnotes throughout that slowed down my reading somewhat.  I can understand the importance of having the added information, it just slowed me down a bit.

Mr. Klein did a fantastic job telling this story which will instantly hook readers from page one and with its compelling narrative, keep them captivated until the very end. 

Pick this one up… won’t be disappointed!

4 stars 


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