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on 10 July 2017
I have read a LOT (a LOT) of post-apocalyptic/post-martians invading/meteors striking/viruses turning us into zombies - you get the drift. I am fascinated by the idea of a split second event changing everything, and the way that tests characters and throws everything you thought mattered up in the air.
I couldn't put this book down - I can relate to some of the things other reviewers found unsatisfying, but none of that got in the way of me staying up later than I meant to every night for a week until I finished it! After the first chapter I couldn't imagine how this idea could fill up a whole book and I thought I might pack it in by chapter 3... but then it really gets going and doesn't let go. Thoroughly enjoyed it, the story will stay with me, will recommend to friends.

SPOILERS:
Personally I find the lack of resolution at the end far more realistic - how often would situations get tied up in a neat bow with everything tidily explained? It also leaves you with some spaceafter finishing the book to have your own thoughts about what happened or what could happen - not to mention the truly horrifing prospect of being Paul...
In the afterword the author shares some changes he made (as well as an impassioned plea for an amazon review - haha it worked) - I thought having the Brigadier as a woman was really positive, nice to see a steely female making the tough decisions for a change. I loved the flawed character of Andy - the whole "i'm telling this to a tape recorder" thing was a bit clunky but didn't get in the way of the narrative, I've seen worse devices!
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on 27 August 2017
Figuratively speaking, of course. I was so gripped by the unique scenario created by Luke Smitherd that I managed to read it over two days. The only reason I've given it 4 stars instead of 5 is because I was a little frustrated by the ending - I wanted to know what happened! And then Luke made me wade through a lot more pages to find out!!

Seriously, I enjoyed the stuff in between (though I did fast-forward through the excerpt from the next book because I'll be buying it anyway), so maybe 4 stars is a bit mean? OK, I've added one.

As a fellow indie author, I appreciated the catch-22 situation of having moderate success and enough reviews that be a reader's think we don't need more,reviews because we're doing okay. Luke is right, reviews are vital for the self-published author, which is partly why I knew I had to write one.

The Stone Man is good, really good. I'd love to see it made into a movie.
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on 23 June 2017
Loved this - gripping story and interesting characters whose fate you quickly grow to care about. This is one of those books where you can't wait to find out what happens, but at the same time you don't want the story to end. Warning - if you read it on kindle, there's a sample of another of the author's books at the end - which is a nice touch, except for the fact that I was gutted that this one ended before I was mentally prepared for it!
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on 6 June 2017
A really enjoyable and engaging story. You have to just accept what's happening as it's not really explained where the stone men come from or why they were sent. I think it would make a pretty good film. I accept that there is more that could have been done with the story but The quality of writing is really very good, such that I immediately bought another of Luke's books; "In The Darkness, That's Where I'll Know You" which is also an excellent novel. He seems to be a talented author and deserves to be successful IMHO.
Overall really excellent value at 99p for the Kindle Edition!
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on 25 March 2018
Have to give it 4 stars for ideas which is a very important aspect of SciFi. However the writing was very clunky and I kept reading bits and thinking 'Actually you could have put it like this and it would have worked better'. You do need an editor.
One of the problems is you see where each segment of the plot is going but it then takes way too long to get to the point. The reader is way ahead of you so the temptation is to jump a few paragraphs.
Having said that, it was quite gripping so the essentials of the story are good. This means the author has an excellent imagination but just needs to refine his presentation.
Also the ending was a bit of a cop-out unless you're going for a sequel. There was plenty of scope for the second half of this novel but the plot was just abandoned at that point.
Anyway...9/10 for ideas but it will be interesting to see whether you develop your writing technique. Not being condescending but try reading a bit of John Wyndham for an example of absolutely brilliant (but completely dead pan) plot construction.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 August 2017
It's a rare occasion when I sit down and invest my quality time in reading science fiction. However, The Stone Man kept cropping up on my radar and I was continually reading rave reviews, so I thought I would check it out. I particular enjoyed the opening chapters where The Stone Man is 'revealed' and it was interesting to see that the action initially took place in an area not too far away from where I live.

For me, it was a very accessible, easy-to-read story with some intriguing ideas and kept me entertained for a few hours. I am certainly stimulated enough to seek out more novels by this author.
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on 16 May 2016
I read The Stone Man a while ago and have since read three other Smitherd novels because of how wonderful it was. This novel stays with you.

Smitherd has a great ability to create characters whom you feel connected with, you grow to like them and understand them. The arrival of the stone man is full of great description as well as instilling fear in the reader. I couldn't put it down, needing to follow the stone man just like Andy, the main character, who is fascinated by him. He is more interested in how the stone man will make him a famous journalist than his fear for people's, or his own, safety. This soon changes however when Andy becomes more involved in the stone man's presence than he wanted to be.

I think the book has stayed with me because of the feeling of the unknown that you are left with. Who knows what is out there and what their values and purposes are. Also, the feeling that life can change unexpectedly in an instant and suddenly you have a destiny. Fantastic read.
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on 30 November 2017
Great read, although I would classify it as more thriller / horror than sci-fi......the sci-fi aspect really only comes about from the fact that the stone men of the title are of alien origin, but we never really learn very much detail about them or their masters. IMHO most of the enjoyment to be had from this book is the excellent character development and interactions of the main protagonists, as well as the wonderful feelings of foreboding elicited by having unstoppable giant stone men moving inexorably through the landscape towards their terrifying goals, unleashing mayhem along their paths due to their ability to walk through ANYTHING that may be in their way. I normally read hard sci-fi, space opera, military thriller and historical documentary sorts of books......and this had some of those attributes....but mostly it was just something a bit different that, for me anyway, delivered a gripping narrative!
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on 24 August 2015
The alien entity Stone Man/statue suddenly appears on earth. When people touch it they go mad. Then the Stone Man starts moving inexorably towards a human victim chosen for some reason that we are not made aware of.
A rather unusual subject matter, so it started off well. The suspense hung so that I was left wondering the purpose of the Stone Man. This made me read on expectantly and although the pace of the story ambled along I got the feeling that there was no real end to this plot. And so it was. The story ends with the reason for the killer Stone Man unknown although still intent on killing the next human chosen and the authorities left with a temporay solution to the situation.
Well written and readable, the plot does what is expected by the reader. I couldn't think of an ending to deal with the killer Stone man. I suppose that there could be another book to follow but that would defeat the object of having this book as a stand-alone item. Worth a read.
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on 20 August 2017
An intelligent, original and carefully thought-out SF novel. I bought the Kindle version on impulse due to the low price and the good reviews. I found it hard to put down and I read it in two sittings.

The novel is based in Britain in the present day (roughly 2014). I normally dislike references to contemporary society when I read this kind of fiction, because I'm looking for "big" ideas that are not rooted in, and restricted by, the here and now, yet the author makes it work. Everything feels natural and believable, and deeply familiar to someone living in the UK in 2017. The characters are well drawn and dialogue in particular is done very well. It is not space opera, but it is none the less powerful for that.

I said "original" and I meant it, but it does have something of the tone of the novels of John Christopher or John Wyndham, perhaps "The Kraken Wakes" in particular. It made me think and I suspect it will be one of those books that returns to the memory in the months and years to come. If nothing else, the image of the implacable Stone Man will stay with me.

Incidentally, it was refreshing to have everything packaged in a relatively short, single volume, rather than it being part of an interminable multi-volume series. I will certainly try another of Luke Smitherd's books.
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