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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 January 2014
Although this was a crime story, for me the more interesting aspect of this book was the Lightspeed Intracom sub-plot.
The company agrees to finance an election if they are allowed to influence the curriculum in schools. Intracom has produced the search engine software Lightspeed, which is already installed on nearly 70% of existing laptops/computers. The search engine regulates what the searcher sees, ergo defining and controlling their information gathering and the results of their info requests.
In this case it has been designed to eliminate and distort info searches on evolution.
This is a fictional company but the way they determine how people or what people read when they use a search engine is equivalent to our very own Google.
The company Intracom is part of a large religious group/cult, who do not believe in the theory of evolution. Intracom is also the publisher of school books in certain areas of the curriculum. The content in those books has also been changed in regards to the teaching of evolution.
Again this is reminiscent of Google's almost all encompassing tentacles in every area and the school book publishing sub-plot is arrow shot straight at Texas. They also want to eradicate certain scientific aspects of our learning and replace them with religious beliefs. They are well-known for having a stronghold over content in US school textbooks and are responsible for the publication of the majority of textbooks.
The censorship of information flow and the manipulation of the masses via global technology and media giants is something which is already upon us in a big way.
There are also historical comparisons, the members of the church are called The Third Wavers (Third Reich, also reference to the film the Wave), the members wear red shirts (Brown-shirts of Germany) and they use a salute to greet each other.
All of the above is actually just a small part of the story, which is an intricately woven tale of faith and revenge.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Carina Harlequin UK via NetGalley.
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Erasmus Jones returned from Afghanistan haunted by demons which caused his marriage to Miranda to collapse. When she moved to Liverpool with his six year old daughter, Abby, he felt he had no choice but to follow them. Erasmus is attempting to retrain as a lawyer, but the much needed training contract to complete his studies is proving elusive and so he is currently working partly as a P.I. When he is asked by his friend Dan Trent to look into the disappearance of a man called Stephen Francis, whose wife Jenna has reported him missing, he is not keen on taking on what looks to be a routine job. However, before long he begins to feel that there is more to the case than it first appears.

The Liverpool that Erasmus Jones is living in is a depressed and near-ruined city, suffering a financial crisis. Abby's school, along with most in the city, is suffering strikes as staff cannot be paid. Mayor Lynch has no idea how he can keep the city afloat, until a lifeline is thrown from an unlikely source. Kirk Bovind is a software billionaire who was born in Liverpool before leaving to make his fortune in America. Now he has returned to his birthplace and is offering to fund the city's school system - but there is a price to pay. Bovind is a believer of the Third Wave, and Stephen Francis was also a follower. His software, which will be installed in every school, offers a religious message which denies the scientific, such as the theory of evolution, in favour of answers based solely on faith and superstition.

Meanwhile, Erasmus Jones finds that reporter Rachel Harrop, from the Liverpool Echo, is also interested in the story of Kirk Bovind and the missing man. Erasmus discovers an old photograph of a charismatic preacher in the Church, Father Michael, and a group of schoolboys which included both Bovind and Stephen Francis. One by one those boys are now being targeted and killed. What happened, so long ago, which has resulted in murder and who is responsible? As demonstrations are organised against the influence of Bovind and his Church in the education of the children of Liverpool, Erasmus has to track down a killer, unravel the mystery of what happened so long ago, protect his family and ask who he can really trust.

This is a fast paced thriller, with a fantastic setting and believable characters. The author has cleverly used the city of Liverpool, almost as a character in itself, yet creates a sinister undercurrent with a new religious wave sweeping long held beliefs aside. It asks how far governments and councils will go to receive much needed funding and what levels religious extremists will go to in their attempts to control people. Yet, at the heart of the story, is a good, old fashioned, mystery and it is here that the novel works at its best. You have a great cast of possible suspects and motives, creepy baddies and a haunting plot full of twists and turns. Erasmus Jones has to be one of the best named heroes I can remember and I hope that he will return in another novel. A great debut and a promising author.

I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, for review.
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on 30 January 2014
The Silent Pool is an excellent thriller. The hero, the wonderfully-named Erasmus Jones, is complex and interesting. The plot features mystery, murder, action, violence, religion, money and politics, what more could you want?!

I would definitely recommend this.

Note to readers (and Amazon!) - when you first view this (at least on my Android Kindle app) it automatically opens up at Chapter One. Beware - there is an action-packed Prologue you need to read first!
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on 27 January 2014
New novel which careens through Liverpool like a Southern Gothic classic. The plot is excellent with dark brooding characters and violent scenes, which propel the story on through a vivid portrait of a city in thrall to money and salvation. In fact the city becomes a key character, giving the novel a point of reference in this alternative present. Erasmus is a thoughtfully observed character who certainly deserves a second outing. I always enjoy a hero who can't help saying whats on his mind even though it will cause him great pain. Both Erasmus and the criminal characters of the story have a vibrant cinematic quality reminiscent of film noir (actually I would love to see someone make this into a film). The book is a real page turner and i can't give it higher praise than that.
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on 1 February 2014
Erasmus is set to become the UK's answer to Jack Reacher...this first instalment has you hooked from the start, Phil Kurthausen's style of writing is so fluid and elegant, the plot well thought out...it keeps you guessing...and on the edge of your seat throughout...thoroughly recommend this to everyone. Hoping for another instalment soon please!
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on 22 February 2014
One of the best books I've read in a long time - from the opening pages right to the last, this story combines a frightening yet uncomfortably plausible scenario with a twisting, suspenseful 'whodunnit' which kept me guessing right to the end. As well as being a perfectly executed thriller, this book really makes you think about what, and who, really big money can buy. Could it really happen here? How would we even know if it already had? I put down the book several times to ask myself just that question. It's also written with sharply observed dark humour, particularly the knife-sharp dialogue exchanges as the various protagonists start to fathom what's happening. A gripping, taut read which left me keenly awaiting the next novel.
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on 25 February 2014
Very well written thriller which had me enthralled from the off. The characters are engaging, the setting a wonderfully familiar and yet very different Liverpool and the story scarily believable with a number of sub plots woven in. It is not just the sins of the past that haunt and are sought to be hidden, thethreat of religious fanaticism and the ability of money to buy power and influence are added to the mix in a very thought provoking way.

In short, a fantastic book I found difficult to put down. Erasmus is a hero I look forward to encountering again.

Just to echo an earlier reviewer, the kindle opens the book at chapter 1 and you have to access the menu to get to the prologue.
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on 8 April 2014
This book has flaws and some typos. However it is an absolutely absorbing thriller, quite unlike anything else I have read. It has a believable and likeable hero and a good assortment of twisted villains. The story is plausible and full of unexpected turns. Highly recommended. It would make a great film too.
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on 17 March 2014
This novel gets your heart bounding from the first few pages, providing a really exciting start. I wanted to know more throughout the novel and couldn't put it down. The lead character was likeable and complex and I hope to read of more of Mr. Jones cases in the future. The tale told was truly gripping, clever with an excellent twist. Liverpool does almost play a roll as a character of the book rather than a setting, in a dark and gothic fashion. As a result, it's now on my list of places I must visit. This is an excellent thriller and it's only the odd typo that gives it away as a first novel. Everything else about this book suggests pro. I hope to read more from Phil Kurthausen soon.
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on 4 August 2014
I was interested because it was set in Liverpool but oh dear. I was tempted to go through it and mark all the grammatical mistakes and the cliches but decided I had better things to do. How did it get published?
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