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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book Review - The Shepherd by Ethan Cross














Title: The Shepherd 
Author: Ethan Cross 
Year: 2011
Page: 326
Genre: Fiction - Murder / Mystery / Thriller / Suspense

FTC Disclosure:
Tracee, PR Specialist and Virtual Book Tour Coordinator, from Pump Up Your Book contacted me to see if I was interested in reviewing this book for the author's virtual book tour. The author sent me an autographed copy of the book. I was not paid for the unbiased review.

Summary (from goodreads.com):
Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante's beautiful daughter--a woman with whom he's quickly falling in love--Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.

First Sentence:
Jim Morgan watched as reflections of the patrol car's flashing lights danced across the front window of the remote gas station.

My Thoughts:

Why this book?
  • The premise sounded like another book I had read - Edge by Jeffery Deaver which I really enjoyed. I wanted to see how this book would compare to Edge since I like cat-and-mouse psychological thrillers, and "shepherd" was a term used in Edge also.
First thought:
  • Not bad for a first time author! Though the concept is really nothing like Edge.
Cover Art:
  • It is too busy for my liking. I guess it conveyed that it is an action-packed book.
Title:
  • Fitting
Writing:
  • It is a pretty fast read, which I appreciate in a thriller
  • The transition between chapters (or within the chapters sometime) could be a bit smoother, at times it was a little awkward. For example, a chapter may have ended "here", but the next chapter would start "10 minutes" before where the last chapter ended (well, okay maybe not exactly 10 minutes, but I hope it made sense).
Plot:
  • Full of plot twits and I liked that I didn't see the ending coming which is great! If you read this genre a lot, plots can get predictable. 
  • As I was reading, I had some questions about the relationship between certain characters, and I am glad those were all answered except one. But the unanswered one was mentioned in a dialog between another two characters - I have a feeling that this is the first book of a series, so this question may be answered in a future story.
Characters:
  • The two main protagonists are quite interesting with their inner struggle between good and evil. I wish Ackerman's past was elaborated a bit more as it was a fascinating concept. Perhaps another book?
     
  • There were quite a lot of other characters which could get a bit confusing. I almost forgot whom one of the minor characters was when she/he appeared near the end since she/he first was introduced in the early chapter.
Ending:

  • I liked how it ended, but it definitely set up for a second book. At least it wasn't a cliffhanger like the final episode of a TV series!
Emotion:
  • Even though I thought this book would be similar to that of Edge, the two stories were not alike at all. Edge has more strategies which I really liked, it almost was a "step by step" to show how to catch the killer. This book explored more the concept of what made a person good or evil (but is not a character-driven book)
What I Learned:
  •  I still like plots with lots of twists that I can't guess :)
PS:
  • Perhaps it is not fair to compare a first time author to a veteran like Jeffery Deaver. I did like Edge a bit more because of the strategic development (I like the "technical" explanations Deaver usually has in his books). I gave Edge 4 Stars, so I will give this book 3.5 Stars (might be 3.75 if the chapter transition was a bit smoother). I am a critical scorer though - only a really life-changing book would get a 5 Stars and it is very rare. Even if it's just inspiring but not life-changing because I didn't take any action, it is still not 5 Stars for me.
Read this Author again?
  • If there is a sequel, probably would read to find out what happens next.

Quote: x

Overall Rating:
3.5 Stars



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