Friday, April 24, 2009

Book Review

This is a recent review for Breakthrough from People are taking notice and have good things to say about the book:

The author, Stephen Tremp, has an interesting background in information systems, management and finance. He uses that kind of complexity in this unique thriller. The book begins with a frantic James Bond like chase down a stairwell of a Las Vegas Hotel. We learn of a scientific breakthrough that will change our perspective on the physical world, then there’s a female assassin dressed in some kind of outfit worn by practitioners of the Japanese martial art of ninjutsu. Between these fireworks are some scenes of California that almost feel like they’re out of a guidebook: “Ti Amo is an Italian restaurant with an elegant, yet relaxed atmosphere that was perfect for an escape from the harsh world outside. It was a place where a couple could find authentic Italian food and excellent French wine.” These descriptive passages do allow us to catch our breath.

What I liked: the central character’s name (Chase Manhattan), the Boston snow storm that has an ongoing role in the East Coast part of the story, procedural detail and the multitude of central characters and their relationships to one another. And there is the promise of a unique new type of danger` : “What if someone took a journey through a wormhole and brought back with them—something that they wouldn’t be aware of with their five senses, yet something that is very much alive and ultimately unleashed on an unsuspecting world?”

Some of the pacing seemed erratic, a bit of the scientific exposition a little heavy handed and the violence tends toward the gruesome (“…and with blinding speed, Staci raised the Glock 22 with both hands. In an instant, a well-placed bullet entered Rosie’s left eye, ricocheting inside her head like a pinball, and finally coming to rest in her parietal lobe.”). And there are occasionally wooden paragraphs telling, rather than showing, a character’s state of mind.

But there is also the intriguing, quasi-erotic life and death struggle between Chase and Staci. This is a good read that will keep you turning pages late into the wormhole of night. Gradually we do come to care about the main characters beyond the plot twists. And maybe we end up finishing the book knowing more about cyberspace than when we started (though the almost movie like special effects of the time/space traveler appearing out of bubble seems a bit too “Dr. Who”). I like the teamwork in the last part of the book. The story doesn’t really end, however, just ushers us on to the next installment.

This author’s got what it takes. There are a few bumps in the road but the main thing a reader can accuse him of is pushing the suspense genre beyond its usual limits. If you are ready for more (string theory, personal relationships, a tour of West Coast hot spots, Boston police procedures), “Breakthrough,” will take you there. And if you aren’t, well there’s always James Bond.

Check out the review at:$spindb.query.listreview2.booknew.17904

First Book Signing

On April 4, 2009, I launched the first of many book signings at Borders Books and Music at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. I am very thankful to the management at this store for allowing me the opportunity to sell Breakthrough in a public setting. They were more than willing to allow a first-time local author a chance to promote Breakthrough. I’m confident I reciprocated the favor by bringing in additional traffic to their store. I have second book signing at this location Saturday, June 13th from 1 - 3 p.m.

I sold some books and met many very interesting people. Those who stopped to talk and didn’t buy a copy of Breakthrough showed a great interest in the concept of the story, while many took the time to read a few chapters. I gave them my business card and let them know they can always order a copy online at my Web site or online from Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

During downtime when no one visited my table, I navigated both floors of the store and talked to people about my book. Those in the mystery and science fiction sections took immediate interest. I then expanded my realm to other reading sections, such as business and other nonfiction areas, and found these readers also expressed an interest in this timely subject matter and the new and refreshing characters Breakthrough offered.

The concept of a breakthrough in Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes, in a modern-day setting such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., sets the stage for a realistic science fiction to quickly morph into an action suspense thriller the readers can wrap their arms around. The story is so engaging that the reader is guaranteed to keep turning those pages and putting off, at least temporarily, all other things as he/she visualizes the extraordinary events that many people believe is within our grasp in the not-so-distant future. After all, today, we see the sci-fi of comic books of the past materializing and becoming commonplace.

You can see reviews for Breakthrough at Barnes and Noble and Amazon:

More reader and editorial reviews will be posted within the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more exciting information regarding national promotional happenings, not only for Breakthrough, but for the second and third installments, entitled Opening and Escalation, set for publication in late 2009 and mid-2010, respectively.

Lessons Learned: The event was held from 4 – 6 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. Almost all of the sales occurred from 4:00 – 4:15 p.m. The feedback I received was that people had already spent most of their money by this time. Future book signings will be scheduled for 2 – 4 p.m.

Writers, readers, and bloggers, feel free to post any questions or comments you have. The publishing industry is quickly changing in a dynamic manner. Publishing and promotional methods are changing, and power is shifting from the traditional dictatorial despots to the individual. I’d like to hear your input on what has and hasn’t worked for you, as well as have the opportunity to respond to you with my humble opinions and experiences.