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Alan Joshua
Author
The Mind of Stefan Dürr: The SHIVA Syndrome Trilogy (Volume 1)
Alan Joshua, author
A mind research experiment studying human consciousness goes horrifyingly wrong. Thousands are killed when a Russian suburb is mysteriously destroyed, leaving a mile-deep crater in its place. At the same time, a U.S. space shuttle vaporizes in orbit, and a Canadian mountaintop is ripped away. One thing lies behind it all: The mind of Stefan Dürr. Existence is dreary hell for Dr. Beau Walker. An embittered loner, he sleepwalks through life until the government virtually kidnaps him, hurling him into an incredibly menacing adventure beyond his wildest imaginings. Coerced into joining a U.S./Russian scientific team, Beau searches for the cause of the disasters. Beginning with a treacherous, life-threatening exploration of the anomalous crater, where scientific laws don't always apply, he's thrown into a world of unimaginable advanced biotechnology, biowarfare, genetics, paranormal research, and military intrigue. The stakes are inconceivably high: Find and control the cause...or face worldwide annihilation.
Plot/Idea: 6 out of 10
Originality: 6 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 7.25 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: The book is well plotted, but it takes a while for the story to really get going.

Prose: The prose here is excellent.  The language is crisp, the dialogue almost wholly individual to each character, and the storyline full of thrilling moments.

Originality: The combination of science fiction, paranormal, and mythology is intriguing, but the elements often had trouble coalescing early on. Still, when everything finally does come together, the mashup works well.

Character Development: The characterization is superb, with dialogue distinct enough that a reader might pick out who is speaking without tags. The characters themselves, rigid or flexible to start, were all believably transformed by the book's end.

Date Submitted: June 09, 2017

Reviews
KIRKUS REVIEW

A professor and parapsychology researcher discovers a key to mankind’s evolution or destruction in this debut thriller.

Beau Walker is a man without a field. Teaching at a backwater university after being dismissed from a government project because of his ethical concerns and bureaucratic maneuvers on the part of a one-time friend, Walker is an academic pariah until two soldiers appear one day. His former friend needs Walker’s expertise, and the professor—who is haunted by both his empathic abilities and the memory of the one time they failed him—has little choice but to cooperate. In the Russian city of Podol’sk, a project partially based on Walker’s work has gone horribly awry, killing thousands and leaving traces of mysteries that threaten humanity’s scientific understanding. Discovering what occurred, and how to prevent it from happening again, falls on Walker and his new friends...But as secrets and revelations accumulate, the team’s combined knowledge and abilities may be inadequate to stop what’s coming...Joshua has crafted an appealing protagonist in Walker. Short-tempered, kind, thoughtful yet impulsive, he is a flawed but ultimately heroic character, and serves as a narrative linchpin throughout this absorbing story.

Deft dialogue, crisp plotting, and a likable central figure make this multidisciplinary scientific adventure an exuberant and involving read.

Portland Book Review: 4.5 stars

The SHIVA Syndrome is a sci-fi thriller, a mystery that unfolds on a background of myths and religions, biotechnology, military power, politics, and paranormal human abilities…The author’s profound knowledge of this field is shown in the extraordinary development of the story. The descriptions of events and characters are very vivid and engaging. Having the right amount of adventure and romance this crisscrossing genre tale isn’t just a good read, but may also look great on a big screen.

The Midwest Book Review: 5 stars

At first glance one would think this to be either a sci-fi saga or perhaps a thriller: technically, that’s correct; but it’s so much more. Its focus on untapped human potential gone awry in a deadly experiment also lends to its enjoyment by new age readers or any interested in the paranormal – and let’s not forget the reader who enjoys political intrigue and a bit of spiritual reflection in their reading. Lots of action, intriguing concepts, and examinations of belief systems and the greatest opportunity in human history to reshape the world: that’s the essence of a powerful saga...which is not only highly recommended ‘as is’, but would translate well to the screen. Lots of action, intriguing concepts, and examinations of belief systems and the greatest opportunity in human history to reshape the world…Highly recommended.

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