Monday, January 15, 2018

Book Review: Brain Storm (A Taylor Morrison Thriller Book 1) by Cat Gilbert

Good Action and Characters, But the Emotional Angst Slows the Story

Brain Storm introduces us to Taylor Morrison, Private Investigator and high-volume coffee drinker.  Her story follows a familiar path for paranormal novels, as she discovers she has psychic abilities, only to find out that others already know and that they will kill to capture her.  She ends up on the run with her friends, trying to understand her new skills and how they can be used to save the day.  While this sounds like a formula for a taunt, action-packed thriller, the constant angst of the protagonist and the bickering among the characters hurts the overall pacing.

There is plenty of action in Brain Storm, from a bank heist (of sorts) to commando-style raids to car bombs and gun battles.  These scenes are well-written and tense.  The suspense and mystery are also good, primarily because of all the double-crosses and mixed allegiances of the characters.  I also enjoyed the secondary characters – Trinity, Jonas, and Mama D.  They are well developed and likeable.  There is a twist in the story; unfortunately, it uses a ploy that has become all too common in thrillers.  Once I read the setup in the first few chapters, it was just a matter of waiting for this shoe to drop. 

The pacing of the book, however, is inconsistent.  The pages with action flew by, but in between, the story dragged.  Part of the problem was the author’s tendency to repeat events.  For example, when Taylor’s friends did not see the action inside the bank, Taylor repeats for them, even though the reader has already been through it.  But the major hit on pacing comes from Taylor’s emotional angst and the frequency of bickering over trivialities among the friends.  For example, at one point Taylor worries that Trinity will want a scientific explanation for her abilities and she hopes that she can be forgiven because there isn’t one.  (I was going to disappoint her if that’s what she was looking for and I just had to hope she could forgive me for it.)   Isn’t that like apologizing because you’re breathing someone else’s air?  Fortunately, the angst is less prevalent later in the book.

Even though the plot is a bit well-worn and the twist somewhat common, the author’s voice is fresh and the action scenes are good.  The major problem comes in pacing, where Taylor’s inner battles and bickering among the characters slow the story to a crawl.

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