`Reviver' is a crime thriller mixed with horror. The protagonist, Jonah Miller' is one of a select group of people who can revive the dead and speak to them. The revival only lasts for a short time but it means that grieving relatives can have the chance to say goodbye and it is also a useful addition to forensic investigations, after all what could be better than asking the victim who killed them? Jonah works for the Forensic Revival Service and he has some harrowing experiences. Revival has its opponents, not least in the guise of the `Afterlifers' but it has become generally accepted and, with a few exceptions, anyone who can afford it will make provision to be revived. Of course all is not quite what it seems and there is something out there that threatens all of humanity.
The premise of reviving the dead may not be original and I can hear many people thinking of the early episodes of `Torchwood' when something similar occurs. However according to Patrick's blog he came up with the idea back in 2004 and was inspired by 2 stories by Edgar Alan Poe, `The Facts of the Case of M Valdemar' and `The Murders in the Rue Morgue'. In any case Patrick takes this story in a completely different direction.
Overall it is a fast paced and enjoyable thriller, Patrick does not spend a lot of time with excess descriptions but he has a story to tell and he does it well and I am look forward to the 2nd novel in the series. He has a day job as a computer game developer and it is not surprising that at times the plot does remind me of some of the games my son has played over the years, but that is not intended as a criticism as modern games can have great plots. Definitely recommended for fans of Justin Cronin's novels `The Passage' and `The Twelve'. Incidentally, his blog makes for interesting and fun reading.
Contemporary thriller with supernatural elements.
The novel deals with a group of special people who can 'revive' the dead but only for a short period of time. A strong concept that opens up the plot to any amount of twists and turns. Imagine what you could do with that type of skill? Interview murder victims, heal bereaved families, the list is endless. Several different scenarios are explored during the novel which adds a plenty of texture and helps build the mystery. The author raises many questions about morality and death. Should we disturb the dead and bring them back to suffer, even for a few seconds, if it means we acquire the information we're after?. What would happen to the world if we could prove life after death?. (I'm not telling you - read the book!).
The Reviver's aren't psychic. There's a critical difference. A Reviver has the ability to tune into the dead but; they re-animate the physical body in order to gather information. When you consider how many ways there are for a person to die you'll not be too surprised by the visceral descriptions of reanimation. When they arrive they're dark and gory but also crucial to the plot and written with a light and clever hand. It's safe to say that gruesome is kept to a minimum in order to move the plot along.
Reviver has the best opening chapter of any book I've read recently and it drew me in with it's sinister, grisly detail and sense of threat. Extremely good.
I've given 5* purely because there's some great originality and thought gone into constructing this novel and the subject's intriguing. If I'm being totally honest I'd admit there are bumpy parts that aren't as good as the opening scenario and, at approx. 410 pages, Reviver isn't a fast read. This is the first novel in a trilogy and geared towards setting the scene for the sequel. There's a lot of background information and character development. Seth Patrick has a long way to go with this trilogy and he's in no rush to get there.
on 17 June 2013
This book had me hook line and sinker from the first chapter. You're dropped straight in at the creepy deep end with a gritty visceral revival of a murder victim. You finish the first chapter with a hair raising "We see you" from something else which is lurking in the beyond! I thought this debut had it all, I LOVE the way it manages to deftly stride several genre from thriller to crime, from Sci-Fi to horror, but never delves too deeply into any that it would put off potential readers, or alienate lovers of a specific category. The way Patrick brings a sense of everyday normality and credence for Revival to his world; I for one believed in revival, in it's acceptance as a forensic tool, as a means to say a final goodbye to those we love. I DEFINITELY want a revival clause in my insurance policy, particularly if Jonah and Never are doing the Reviving ;) I also loved that this author appeared to have spent a lot of time and research getting the science right, at least I was convinced; the forensic techniques, drugs, scans, side effects, it all had me believing, unlike some CSI type stories, which seem to lack any basis in reality. So a thriller/horror, crime/Sci-Fi which I think will appeal to a HUGE range of readers, mainly because it's clever, interesting, well written, has main characters you invest in and care about, and above all is HUGE FUN to read! This is surely going to be MASSIVE! Bring on the sequel asap!!!
Jonah Miller works as a forensic reviver when one day, without any warning, after the routine revival of a murder victim, the corpse reanimates and tells him that 'they' can see him. Who or what are 'they', where are they talking from, and what do they want? Jonah suffered a nervous breakdown two years ago, and has been overworked recently, so everyone thinks he is just tired, stressed and experiencing hallucinations as a result.
Annabel Harker is looking for her missing father, Daniel. The police think the wealthy journalist and author is being held and forced to withdraw his money a little at a time for his abductor. Is it really that simple, and is it pure coincidence that Daniel was the journalist who exposed revival to the world?
It won't be long before Jonah's and Annabel's worlds collide, in an explosive mix of betrayal, murder, and overworldly evil...
The first part of REVIVER is spent introducing the characters and looking into the history of revival, as well as the studies of the phenomenon and the businesses that eventually sprang up around it. Admittedly I found the pace of this part of the story slow, and I was even a bit tempted to just give up, but I can now say that I'm glad I persevered with it as once I made it past those first few chapters I was hooked: I love a old-school creepy thriller, and I found the rich details of the characters emotions and thought processes they go through fascinating. But yeah, if you're looking for something faster paced, with jumps and scares on every other page I'd look elsewhere.
I wonder if REVIVER is going to become a series? The author is clearly talented and has formed a unique world to base a series in, and future books probably wouldn't suffer from the pacing issues that this book has. I think that this is someone to watch, as I'm definitely interested in his future output.
A novel with elements of both crime thriller and the supernatural. It's the first in a trilogy. It runs for four hundred and nine pages. And is divided into thirty eight chapters plus an epilogue.
A small amount of strong language plus a handful of gruesome moments do mean it's best suited for adult readers only.
It's far more thriller than horror though, so fans of gruesome moments may not get what they're looking for here.
It's also the best kind of speculative fiction, because it considers what the world might be like if there was a big change to a certain aspect of the way we live. And forces the reader the confront the moral questions which result from that.
You are introduced to said aspect via a superb opening line, which tells us that main character Jonah Miller can talk to the dead.
He's a reviver. One of a select group of people who can touch dead bodies - of the recently deceased- and bring them back. Not for too long. But it's very useful if they've been murdered and you want to find who did it.
We see him at work in the opening chapter, which is very readable and swiftly fills in a lot of the details of the way all this works. And throws in some plot also. Because the corpse says something strange to him. And when it does, it's not the revived victim who is speaking.
You are then introduced in the next chapter to the journalist who first brought revival to the world's attention. A chapter that as a result does give some very good exposition about the way the world of the book works. And has a ending that will grab.
The narrative then continues as Jonah tries to live his life and do his job. But what happened in the first chapter is never far away from his attention. Forced to help in a murder investigation, he and a relative of the victim begin to discover some secrets about revivers. All of which leads to danger for the entire human race....
The first hundred pages of this do pull you along, and introduce you to Jonah and the details of his world quite nicely. But there isn't a lot to him as a character at first, and he does take a while to develop. It's all pretty readable and involving though. There's a fair bit of flashback in the next two hundred pages and it does jump into these scenes sometimes in a rather abrupt manner that can leave you momentarily confused. Yet it remains readable as you do want to know where the story is going and how things will develop.
It is worth hanging on through this whole middle section because by the time the answers come in the final quarter, they are pretty good. Especially the first big reveal. What happens next does have some delightfully creepy moments, and all leads to a decent resolution.
Jonah has developed well as a character by then, and you do feel quite pleased to have spent this time reading about him. The narrative is pretty much self contained, meaning if things ended with the end of the final chapter, it would feel as if you'd had a good amount of closure. But the epilogue makes it one of those books that still leaves enough open for more story for future volumes.
Which on the basis of this might be worth a look. The film rights have apparently already been sold, and this does have a good cinematic feel to it. A decent read and well worth a look if you like this kind of thing.
on 9 July 2013
A genre book can be dominated by an idea and this is certainly the case with Seth Patrick's `Reviver'. Imagine a world where people have discovered latent powers that allow them to revive the dead for a few minutes after they have passed. What could you do with such power? You could help families find closure, giving them one last chance to say goodbye, or get the victim of murder to solve their own case. Patrick has come up with a great idea, but what kind of book is it? Horror, science fiction, thriller; all and none of these.
At its core `Reviver' ends up being a supernatural detective novel with small amounts of horror. Jonah Miller is a reviver who discovers a shadowy cabal who appear to be bringing ancient beings back from the dead. He goes about this with lots of interviews and research. With so much of the book dominated by investigative procedural work, it really loses momentum in the middle. This is a shame as the start and end are thrilling and full of fun concepts.
It felt at times that Patrick was unsure what type of book he was trying to write. I think a simpler tale of Johan investigating a murder or two would have been a better base for a series. The large conspiracy elements of `Reviver' feel a little rushed and could have instead been teased out over 5 or 6 books in a series like Jim Butcher's `Dresden' novels. As it is, Patrick has taken some very interesting concepts and made a sweeping book out of them. There is certainly fun to be had in how Patrick integrates the ability to wake the dead with day to day police work. In my mind this concept was more interesting to explore than the overarching plot that ends up dominating the book.
This is a cleverly plotted, and, latterly quite fast moving story which has a lot of originality. The basic premise is that it has been discovered that certain individuals have the ability to revive a corpse for a short period. These `revivers' are able to question the dead person or to accept or pass messages and this enables both crimes to be investigated and for people to say their last goodbyes.
Jonah Miller is a reviver working with the government service so his job is to assist in obtaining information from dead people in order to get to the truth about untimely or suspicious deaths. Naturally revival has attracted the interest of various groups within the government, who see, for example, possible military uses, but also private organisations who are keen to push the boundaries and examine all possibilities. Jonah stumbles across a far reaching and possibly potentially dangerous conspiracy which he investigates at some personal peril to himself and his friends.
I understand the film rights have already been sold which does not surprise me as I would imagine that this is an interesting enough story that properly packaged it could make a very good film. It also struck me that the whole concept would be very suitable for a TV series, and Millennium - Season 1-3 [DVD]  sprang to mind, where the investigator is able to see flashbacks of crimes and solve them in that way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It does take a while to really get into its stride and for the author to set the scene, but is sufficiently absorbing that this does not really matter. My only criticism would be that I thought the end was a tad predictable. I understand that this is part of a trilogy and I would think that the whole revival concept has quite a lot of potential mileage in it. Jonah himself is a complex character and is well drawn. Further books in the series will certainly be on my reading list. Highly recommended.
First published back in June of 2013, US author Seth Patrick's debut novel 'Reviver' formed the first instalment in a planned trilogy.
It all started when Eleanor Preston realised that she had the ability to wake the recently deceased - reviving them long enough for them to be able to answer questions and say their family to say final goodbyes. And from that, sixty-year-old Eleanor had become the first every reviver. But it took the strong reporting skills of journalist Daniel Harker to inform and then convince the world of what Eleanor could do. To make them believe, and to eventually accept this unbelievable phenomena.
Now, some twelve years later, the process of reviving has become accepted as a forensic tool as well as the chance for the deceased's family to say their final farewells. Following the demise of the initial 'Revival Baseline Research Group', the 'Forensic Revival Service' ('FRS') had sprung into life. Now, with FRS offices all over the US, revival was a key tool in the fight against crime.
And for Jonah Miller, from the Central East Coast Office of the FRS in Richmond, Virginia, his role as one of the most gifted revivers had always been an all-consuming thing. Outside of his work he had no life. However, when the victim of a particularly vicious murder, the clinical psychologist Alice Decker, is revived by him, something happens that scares the hell out of him. The awoken Decker appears deeply traumatised by something coming for her in the darkness, and then, when the revival is all over, the dead woman speaks a few words to Miller without any aid from the reviver whatsoever. A feat that should not be possible. And the words chill him to the bone.
The specialist revival doctor, Stephanie Graves, puts Miller's apparent ordeal down to overwork. A mere figment of his stressed and tired mind. A conclusion that Miller just can't come to terms with. It seemed so real. And when the strange feelings, memories and visions don't stop there. Something is desperately wrong.
And then all of a sudden the news that Daniel Harker has been kidnapped is revealed. With his twenty-five-year-old daughter, Annabel Harker, terrified for what has happened to her father, it's not long before the news gets worse. Harker is found dead. And following his revival by Miller, those responsible seem to be members of the anti-revival organisation - The Afterlifers.
But there is something connecting what is happening to Miller with the kidnapping and despicable death of Daniel Harker. Without anyone believing what he is experiencing is anything other than stress related, Miller feels more alone than ever before. But there's more to Harker's murder than just a paranoid group of delusional activists. And together with the revival technician, Never Geary, and Harker's daughter Annabel, Jonah Miller will fight to get to the bottom of why Daniel Harker was murdered and ultimately what the malevolent presence is that has been plaguing him ever since Alice Decker's revival...
Patrick's debut is an interesting gritty-crime-thriller / horror crossover, incorporating a particularly original idea which dominates much of the tale's plot. And rightly so, Patrick has come up with a concept for his trilogy which in itself has probably enough legs on it to see through a whole series of books, let alone a trilogy.
Furthermore, and what's possibly the novel's strongest point, is the depth of detail that Patrick puts into his idea. Indeed, Patrick makes the entire notion of 'revival' seem so utterly believable. The public reaction that he depicts is incredibly convincing. The intricate details of the revival process, with the laboriously thought-through backstory along with the added features and side-effects, such as a reviver's touch delivering a disturbing 'chill', just adds further layers and believability to the whole story. And my god does it grip you and draw you into this strange and unsettling new phenomena.
Aside from the whole 'revival' concept, the novel is wonderful character-driven, with a multitude of rich characters, each playing out dominant roles which have their own bearing on the course of the novel. And interestingly, with so many key characters woven into the fabric of the premise, for the vast majority of the tale it's hard to pin down a principal antagonist. Yes there are characters that are hardly the most affable, those that certainly perform some very morally inexcusable actions, and generally not too pleasant and untrusting individuals. However, not until much later on in this first book does the real key 'antagonist' (I shan't say what or who) get unveiled. But when it eventually happens, it's a magnificently gripping realisation.
As a whole, the tale starts off absolutely bursting with details and adrenaline-pumping action that Patrick clearly wants to get down. The first third of the novel is a rip-roaring rollercoaster of a ride; cramming in the wonderfully intricate and downright thought-provoking details alongside the utterly gripping mystery of the gritty crime plot. However, the momentum of this entertaining pace is sadly not maintained, and by around the halfway-mark the tale begins to seriously sag. With pace and punch taking a surprising backseat, Patrick veers towards a handful of 'The Da Vinci Code' (2003) style elements, with Jonah desperately attempting to uncover what is behind this vast mystery from the various ambiguous clues scattered around.
Luckily, this overly-padded middle-section is knocked for six when the run-up to the devilishly entertaining finale gets underway. And from here the novel plays out a dramatic final sequence of events akin to something from John Prescott's 'Hell' (2012) might throw down.
Although the book is just the first instalment into a proposed trilogy, it nevertheless contains enough of a singular story to be read and thoroughly enjoy without the need to read the next two books. Although, with such a powerfully engaging and well-written tale, it will be hard to not want to get your hands on the next book when you can.
All in all, Patrick had a great idea that was bursting with potential, he executed it incredibly well, and delivered one hell of an engaging and enthralling horror/thriller novel. However the novel could have been just a bit tighter with its delivery, maintaining the momentum better during that often tricky middle-section. But what a debut novel for this new face in horror to make his presence known with.
The novel runs for a total of 409 pages.
Reviver is the story of Jonah Miller, a reviver, working for the Forensic Revival Service. Revivers bring back the recently deceased for questioning about their unexpected deaths, or as a private revival for friends and family to say goodbye.
Jonah is a high level reviver and as such is in great demand for his revival of the tough cases. Two years ago one of these took him to the edge of a breakdown, and now another threatens the same. Or does it, when Jonah hears something else lurking in the dark at a particularly harrowing revival he is convinced it is an evil entity. His bosses and psychiatrists and doctors all think its overwork and remnants (parts of the revived person's memories which linger for a while).
What develops is a story about secret government projects, misuse of the revival powers and a delusional wealthy man with his own addenda around death.
The book is captivating, ingenious and really well written. Jonah is a flawed character who lives a reclusive life but is drawn into the web of intrigue by his overwhelming sense of right and wrong. The writing is strong and flows well. I found the concept of reviving the dead interesting but as the story developed and things got darker and darker it became compelling to know what was out there, just our spirit/soul or was there an older darker entity with only evil on its mind?
The characters are well formed with some flaws to keep them interesting. The plot is well thought out and there are no loose ends that are unexplained. The science behind the drug regime the revivers are on as well as the medical monitoring is believable and provides another layer to the life these people live in their vocation.
All in all a great debut novel. I would love to see Seth Patrick write some more.
on 7 July 2013
Reviver is a fascinating first novel that will definitely leave you wanting more. The book is set in a world similar to ours with the important exception of "revivers", people able to talk with the recently deceased. Not classical horror, not crime thriller, Reviver walks its own line through the genres. The first chapter packs a punch and could easily stand-alone as a chilling short story. Seth Patrick claims inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe, but for me this opening owed more to H. P. Lovecraft, a modern take on "The Statement of Randolph Carter" - I wouldn't have been surprised to find Jonah in Chapter Two gibbering and pushing mashed paper into the corners of his room. But after this shock start the pace calms and the book settles into more conventional story telling. The book is quite unsettling for the first few chapters. In most books the corpses are objects, essentially just props to hang the story around. In Reviver they are actual characters in their own right. It's quite an eerie feeling and kudos to Seth Patrick for the unsettling sense of realisation that brought. The world fleshes out around the main story and we start to see the profound implications for society that revival brings, moving away from the eldritch horror of the first chapter into a fascinating exploration of the premise of revival on society. Finally the book gradually unravels a mystery of world-changing scale, drawing the main characters into a high octane finish that lays open the pieces for an intriguing sequel. Reviver teases. There are many questions left unanswered, not least concerning the nature of revival itself. The Revivers remain mysterious, poorly understood by themselves and the world around them. The result is rich fertile territory, hopefully to be explored in the forthcoming sequel.