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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 March 2013
Personally I think good sci-fi material is hard to find in either book or film mediums. I really enjoyed this read.....not because it contained any complex or mind-blowing scientific speculation but because the story somehow was made to seem totally plausible, thanks to good writing and characterisation. In the author's footnote he comments that his wife says he is very much like one of the principal characters......reading the footnote you'll understand why, as it's style is exactly like the core text of the book! Only small gripe is that it suffers the plague of a lot of e-books....lots of missing words and even one paragraph where the two principal characters are reversed. I'm thinking of offering to proof-read his next novel FOC :) Well worth downloading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Although this is billed as a sci-fi thriller, there’s not so much of the science fiction about it. The action is firmly grounded in the here-and-now, on earth. In England. Mostly in the Midlands. The protagonists are entirely humdrum human. They’re facing an implacable alien with an unknown – probably hostile – agenda, but this is speculative fiction, not star-spanning science fantasy.

Similarly, The Stone Man isn’t really a thriller. It sustains an intriguing premise with a strong sense of purpose, and hooks the reader with a slow dance of seven veils, gradually revealing more of the Stone Man’s unpleasant purpose. But it’s far from non-stop thrills, spills and plot twists. In fact, it’s a verbose, lengthy novel which is one of those slow-burn stories that takes its time to build tension and deliver the goods. After investing an unusual amount of hours (for me) in its extensive passages of description, the payoff was reasonably rewarding – a satisfying conclusion to a substantial story.
There are several aspects to The Stone Man which are particularly rewarding: the creature itself and the very credible explanation for its strange behaviour. The female senior soldier – it’s unusual to see a woman character being given a role of gravitas and not merely used as the next victim in line. The clean, easy to read text – it’s not 100% perfect but it’s better prepared than many indie ebooks.
on the other hand, the blow-by-blow, step-by-step minutiae slowed the pace too much for my liking. An editor could’ve trimmed the text by 30% and it probably would’ve made the book twice as enjoyable to read.
There’s a substantial amount of back-matter or bonus material in here, so if your ereader displays the remaining pages then be aware that the final 20% at least is afterword, sample chapters and – I liked this bit – an alternative ending.

Grouses aside, the author is to be applauded for realising an original idea in fine style. This was an interesting read: it’ll be interesting to see what Luke Smitherd can do as he hones his talents in future books. My suggestion? Less would be more.
7/10
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 March 2015
The Stone Man (TSM) was the second book by Smitherd that I downloaded. Having read the free Kindle download of his first novel The Physics of the Dead (TPOTD) I immediately sought out his next releases. Smitherd is a writer of great imagination. He develops his plots slowly to draw you in and he is never predictable. Neither TSM nor TPOTD contains gratuitous violence or people being tortured to death, which is a pleasant relief from a lot of thrillers out there at the moment. There is one brief, moderately gruesome scene in TSM, but nothing over the top.

What sets Smitherd apart from most other authors is his ability to draw real, believable, human characters. None of his protagonists are particularly sexy. None have superhuman powers. They are ordinary people put into extraordinary situations and they react as we all might in their shoes. I also appreciated the fact that there was no cop-out ending to TSM, but as with TPOTD it felt like there might be room for a follow-up at some point.

I am already part way through the next mini-series The Black Room (TBRP1) and enjoying it for all the same reasons as above.

If Luke Smitherd has not yet got sick of reading his reviews I hope he sees this and knows I am happy to be a Smithereen and to use his daft acronyms and I will write reviews for each of his books as I read them, as and when I find time. As regards the Fishtoys Conundrum (see the author's text at the end of TBRP1) I guess the earlier lack of reviews was simply down to people not finding a convenient moment to do it. It's good to see him starting to get the recognition he deserves now.

I would say to anyone - buy his books. You can download them for less than the price of a pint and they will be satisfying for much longer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2013
It took a little while to get into or "get going" but I put this down to my first experience of a new author.... And a new writing style...

Before long, however, I was COMPLETELY hooked and reading at any given opportunity.. And in the strangest of places (I shan't divulge!!) I Loved the characters and got almost attached to particular personalities... Which was a mistake... Colour me SUPER emotional!!
Glad you smashed that "glass ceiling" for us girls too... Although she was a bit of a cowbag!! Haha
I found the plot utterly believeable...and fantastical, simultaneously!! (how, I cannot explain) and totally got the willies where the ginormous unstoppable moving stone figure was described, followed and encountered!!
I also felt a little sense of pride (erm bit weird since it's a horrific encounter) that my two homes Coventry, and Yorkshire were put on the literary map... In a genre which appeals to me and a book I found thrilling, exciting, funny, sad, horrific, and scary... Sometimes all at once... Luke Smitherd has frazzled my blooming nerves!! But I'd read it over again, for sure!!
Unfortunately, there is many a typo... But it doesn't affect the impact of the book.. Just a little annoying at times. You do, however, soon get over it as another thrilling twist takes place!!
And as a girl who likes closure... I appreciate the addition of the alternative (ish) ending, even though you didn't really like it that much. (I do agree, that the published ending was more solid though!!)
Upon completion of the book, I promptly bought TPOTD(eh?EH!??) and also The Black Room.. And I cannot freaking wait to get stuck in!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2013
I've had my Kindle for a couple of years now and this is the second most enjoyable book I've read on it (the most enjoyable being The Cornerstone by Nick Spalding, but that's another story).

I took a punt on this book on the strength of so many positive reviews and I'm glad I did because it really is a very enjoyable book. It wasn't all plain sailing though because prior to reading The Stone Man, I read the Sherlock Holmes story, The Valley of Fear, so it took a few chapters to adjust to the change of pace and style. This probably explains why I'm rating The Stone Man at only 4 stars rather than 5, because The Valley of Fear (and most of the Sherlock Holmes books) are rarely matched in both suspense and style.

I would have given The Stone Man 5 stars if it hadn't been so easy to read. What I mean by that is its syntax and vocabulary weren't challenging (for me) which meant reading it became quite a passive experience - my eyes just seemed to glaze from one word to the next without any need to think about or actively process what I'd just read. I suppose it's a bit like reading a tabloid paper when you're used to reading a broadsheet - the latter usually requires (for me) concentration. It wasn't always like that however; sometimes I was actively immersed in the story and notable moved, but it wasn't always like that either. If I hadn't read Sherlock Holmes immediately before starting The Stone Man, I might well have rated it at 5 stars. To lose a star on comparison to Sherlock Holmles is still praise though, because the style and suspense found in Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle's books is simply marvelous!

Anyway, I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading TPOTD ;)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2013
I have read all the greats and am now starting to dabble into unknown authors to see if i can find an author that reminds me of how good horror sci fi suspense books used to be.

Luke Smitherd really has it. I will not go to great lengths telling you what its all about, or commenting about the typos as that would be a waste of my time and yours as i just want to hammer home how good this book really is.
I flew through this book as it is incredibly addictive and it was so easy to read I killed 12 hours doing nothing but. It was refreshing not knowing the authors style as it made the whole read more of a thrill having no idea where it would take me.

With Stephen king we always know where his books inevitably end up and the characters and "chill factor" are no longer doing it for me as the last 5 books i have read have cost over a fiver and been disappointing. Luke's book was the complete opposite... a real page turner,I really felt his characters had depth without boring me with details. The lead character is a bit of an a***hole but you still can't help liking him for his pure honesty. Luke's style of writing is so current and lovably Brittish.

All the way through the book i was thinking, Nick frost and Simon Pegg were born to be the lead actors as it would make a cracking film.

My one disappointment with the book was that it ended. I didn't even have any warning that it was going to end as it ended at 88% as the Author is unknown he uses the last 12% to humbly thank people for reading his book and to try desperately to get his name out there by promoting his others to and published. WHICH HE SHOULD BE!
This would normally annoy me, but in this case I read every word he wrote as I truly believe he needs to up there with the greats.

I am now off to download everything he has ever written and ignore my family for the next three days or so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 March 2013
The first thing that strikes you when starting Luke's second novel is one word. Ambition. Where The Physics of the Dead (TPOTD) deals with relationships and otherworldly happenings set in the confines of Coventry, very soon the reader sees that The Stone Man is going somewhere altogether bigger and better.
The pace and intensity that comes from the first chapter hooks the reader immediately, and our first person narrator, Andy comes across as someone who we may not necessarily like, but who we root for and trust. The calm recounting of the "first event" contrasts with the chaos around him, and as events take us out of Coventry, we see Luke breaking out of a comfort zone and broadening horizons in every way possible. The dialogue is strong and natural, the story pacy, and most importantly, we believe it. We are sucked in to thinking that these events could happen. From page one, none of the characters do or have things done to them that stretch the realms of possibility, and the talent of the writer has answered all of our questions and doubts, to leave us with a watertight plot with no holes to get lost in at all.

Andy and Pauls' central relationship is funny, moving, powerful and rooted in reality, and the mysterious Straub has potential for a book all of her own (I was finding myself fascinated with her, eager to know more!).
The main themes of ambition, heroism, isolation and friendship shine through in the narration, and the change of first person narrator later in the book doesn't jar with the reader. The description is vivid and engaging, and I found myself lapping up the pages hungrily, savouring each moment yet desperate to find out what happens next.

Lukes' next book, The Black Room Part 1 is already up on Amazon, an indicator of the potential prolific nature of the writer, and is on my Kindle already, and with two books deservedly in the top 50 charts, I've got a feeling that we are going to see this impressive novelist bothering the guys at Amazon for many years to come.

5 STARS!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2013
Wow, what a journey, I thought TPOTD (see what I did there Luke?!) was a very good read indeed. I was therefore thoroughly delighted to see there was another novel by this never-before heard of author who had so captivated me with his first offering.

TSM (do you think this'll catch on either?) is just a great story, brilliantly paced, sad, funny, frightening but above all a true page turner (or finger-swiper for us Kindlers).

I can't wait for the 3rd effort, if it's anything like the first 2, It's gonna be a blast!

Thanks Mr Smitherd, I look forward to many more horrendous acronyms.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2012
I've got to admit I downloaded this book with a lot of apprehension, I enjoyed TPOTD so much and was wondering if it was going to live up to my expectations. Fear not potential reader if anything it's better.

The main characters react in a very down to earth and believable manner, the stone man is a very scarey dude and I loved the the black humour that runs through the book.

Mr Smitherd is definitely a very talented writer and I wait with baited breath to find out where he will take me next(June?)

Oh and by the way, what's wrong with Dr Peppers?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 15 April 2014
Okay, I've come here directly off the back of finishing the excellent Black Room Quadrilogy (tetralogy, quartet - start here anyhow: The Black Room, Part One: In The Black Room - A Paranormal Romance) - mainly due to the author saying in his afterword that I should read it.

So, I'm here. It's once again based in Coventry and this time follows the exploits of a giant stone man, as he wanders through (literally) the UK looking for specific people to aid in his research. Or it might be about two strangers as they find their lives inexplicably linked following the sudden appearance of a potentially alien giant monster made from stone. Your choice, there's no spoilers here.

As with The Black Room series, I loved this book. I'd say I couldn't put it down, but it took a week or so to read and to be honest I had to work and stuff - but you get the point. Well written, great characters, and focussed mainly on the UK and British people.

If you've read anything else by Luke, you will be wanting to read this. If you've not, then this is as good a place as any to start.

I'm off to read The Physics Of The Dead - A Supernatural Mystery Novel next I think.
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