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The Razor Gate [Paperback]

Sean Cregan
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2011

The second brilliant novel from the author of The Levels - Sean Cregan

In Newport City men and women walk the streets, their lives literally ticking away.

The Clocks are victims of a new serial crime, their existence kept secret by the authorities for fear of a wave of panic spreading through the US East coast city. Kidnapped by the mysterious Curator and subjected to the Curse - a medical procedure which ensures a fatal drug will be released into their nervous system one year after implantation - they are headed for certain death.

But now they are fighting back. A suicidal Clock, determined to bring their plight to the public's attention, has detonated a bomb, killing dozens. Journalist Maya Cassinelli, whose ex-boyfriend is one of the dead, and cop Charlie Garrett, whose Clock girlfriend is about to die, are on a desperate search for answers, closely shadowed by members of the elite Foundation, who want control of the Curse's revolutionary and lucrative bio-technology.

With everyone hunting the Cure, who will find it first? The Clocks are ticking...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (1 Sep 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755358090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755358090
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sean makes things up for a living, and consequently is the youngest of 14 children fathered by Scotland's first astronaut and a mute Albanian salsa dancer. As well as his Nobel Prize in chemistry, he has the distinction of being the only man ever to simultaneously hold the world heavyweight boxing title and the post of UN under-secretary to Nepal. He is the inventor of squirty cream and has been married eight times.

See? That's how he does it. In reality, Sean is the pen name of John Rickards, whose works and (confusingly) author page you can find here on Amazon too. As Sean he writes no-cyber cyberpunk noiry urban thrillers and offbeat short fiction in a variety of genres. As John he writes poker-facedly serious crime.

You can find him at or on Twitter as @Nameless_Horror.

Product Description

Book Description

The second urban gothic thriller from Sean Cregan, acclaimed author of The Levels

About the Author

Sean started writing at university as a way of escaping his engineering degree, before becoming a trade journalist working out of a brick shed. He writes full time, and published four novels under his real name, before changing style, content, publisher and identity to something much more fun. He's a single dad and lives on the south coast with his little boy. He has never owned a cat, and each year more and more of them go missing in his neighbourhood.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, compelling thriller. 1 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The second novel from Sean Cregan, 'The Razor Gate' is set in the dark world of Newport City, in the not to distant future, where corruption is king and the poor are left to fend for themselves. Within this, lies the heart of this story. What would you do, if you knew you were going to die within a year? No cure, no chance of survival.

Whilst on the surface, 'The Razor Gate' reads as a standard, race against time thriller, Sean Cregan manages to create more than just a by the numbers story. Including questions of morality, the battle between the rich and the poor of the city (replicated in just about any major city in the world) and the idea of your own mortality. This is combined with excellent dialogue and a style of writing that leaves you breathless, but never struggling to keep up with the frenetic pace. In doing so, Cregan takes this story to another level, turning it into one of the must read books of 2011.

The setting of 'The Razor Gate', is a character in itself. Newport City is a fantastic backdrop to this style of story and is really bought to life in Cregan's descriptive prose, resonating with truth, bleakness and surprising optimism. The scenes featuring 'Blackwater Port' in particular, are a significant highlight. The way in which the port is revealed is handled skilfully by Cregan, bringing to life an important part of the story.

'The Razor Gate' is an outstanding novel. With characters that you instantly feel empathy for, a setting which is perfect and an uncompromising style which sets the pace early and never lets up, until the last words. Highly recommended to all!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Rufus
The plot of the book is certainly novel. The author manages to ramp up your expectations on the back cover blurb but then fails to deliver the goods. Elements of the book did have potential but it didn't add up to something I'd recommend as a good read. Most of the characters are very flat, so much so that I consistently found myself forgetting where each person (with the notable exception of one or two) fitted in with the overall storyline. The second half of the book is where I hoped things would pick up but the ending felt rushed and (given the story's premise) you just wanted to finish the book and get it over and done with. Shame really, the plot had serious potential but withered on the vine.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An intense, intelligent, engaging thriller 1 July 2011
By Elizabeth A. White - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Death. It's not a pleasant topic under even the best of circumstances. And even though we all know we're going to die eventually, the idea that there are things we can do to live healthy and prolong our lives gives us at least some feeling of comfort and control. But what if you knew exactly when you were going to die? Not only did you know, but that it was exactly 1 year away and there was absolutely nothing you could do to prolong or prevent it? That's the situation facing the "Clocks" in author Sean Cregan's The Razor Gate.

Someone in Newport City has developed a powerful new medical technology, and unfortunately for the populace it's being used in a terrifying way. People are being randomly taken, injected with a fatal virus, and returned. Sometimes they're returned to where they were taken from, other times they wake up in a random location. Always, however, they find a note informing them they have exactly one year to live, and that their countdown to death is irreversible. They have been given The Curse.

The authorities know about the Curse, but have worked hard to keep its existence under wraps for fear of starting a panic. The lid gets blown off, literally, when a Clock with nothing to lose detonates a bomb on a crowded street in the heart of the city, killing dozens and injuring scores more. Now two people who were at the scene and survived, cop Charlie Garrett whose girlfriend is a Clock, and journalist Maya Cassinelli who knew the apparent target of the bombing, are dead set on getting to the bottom of who's behind the Curse. They aren't the only ones, however, as a powerful secret organization known as The Foundation also wants answers so they can take control of the technology behind the Curse for their own financial gain. It's literally a race against time to see who will be the first to secure the source of the Curse, and a potential cure for it.

In The Razor Gate, author Sean Cregan has created an intense, intelligent, engaging thriller. The near-future Newport City is brought vividly to life under Cregan's skillful hand, with the setting being familiar enough to feel real, but just foreign enough to feel exotic. Blackwater Port, a floating city within the city, is particularly intricately laid out, and its unique location and culture give it a decidedly ominous presence, making it almost a character itself. And while on its face The Razor Gate is a straight-up thriller, there are larger societal issues being addressed just under the surface, particularly the never-ending struggle between the rich and poor.

Cregan also handles the brutal reality faced by the Clocks adeptly, describing the various reactions those affected have - anger, stunned disbelief, renewed vigor to enjoy the time they have left - as well as the ripple effects their condition has on those who love them. None of us want to die anytime soon, but you should definitely want to take a trip through The Razor Gate.
4.0 out of 5 stars Gotham without Batman 4 April 2011
By Sean the Bookonaut - Published on
The Razor Gate. by Sean Cregan, is the second novel set in a gritty 'not quite-SF urban weird "biohazard noir" with horror to follow at some point'(1) world. Cregan also writes crime novels as John Rickards.

The Story

A person or persons unknown are randomly infecting residents of Newport City with a nanotech engineered agent that gives them one year to live.

Its labelled The Curse by those who have it and the powers that be fight to ensure that it remains an urban legend until they can control and patent the technology for their own gain.

Thrown together in this mix is a cop nearing the end of his career, sick of the graft and corruption, a fledgling journalist who has come up against the powers that be and lost, a group of urban terrorists and new age cult - just to spice it up a little. Its a race against time as the cop and the journalist attempt to find a cure and save his girlfriend. They are thwarted at every turn by Foundation members engaged in power plays and terrorists bent on administering their own justice.

Gotham without Batman

The darkness in this book is ever present and pressing, the cops are corrupt and the power brokers known as The foundation rule with an almost omnipresent iron will. Its the Gotham of Dark Knight without the hope of a caped crusader swooping in to administer justice. It verges on a dystopia with scenes of the Port; a floating district, cobbled together from years of illegal boat arrivals juxtaposed with the very rich ensconced in their glass fortresses.

What I liked

Cregan has a definite flair for noir, and I enjoyed his almost artistic approach to painting the the novels landscape. The action, when it started was quick and nasty, as suits the genre. It has echoes of 80s cyberpunk, without the advances in technology but theres a definite sense of despair, that things dont get better, they just go on.

What I didnt

While the sketching out the world of Newport City is beautiful and I loved it, it did take a while to ramp up the pace. The first half of the book felt a little slow to be a thriller, though its well enough paced to be a crime/mystery novel. I would have preferred it to be a little faster, though no doubt this would have impacted on the gritty ambiance that Cregan creates.

Final thoughts

The Razor Gate is at its core a mystery come thriller novel. It does, however, flirt with some spec-fic elements, the power wielded by some of the factions seems a little left of centre to consider it a traditional thriller and the new age cult makes the Branch Davidians seem quiet normal.

Overall a pleasurable read with a few surprises at the end.


Note: This book was provided to me, by the publisher, at no cost to myself.
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