Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good Thriller Not to Be Missed...CHEAP!

M.C. Miller

$9.99 trade paper, FREE on Kindle

Rating: 3.75* of five

The Publisher Says: A new explosive packs the punch of a 500lb. bomb at microdot size. Who has the dots and where are they going to use them? Problem is - they could be anywhere. Chinese-American competition to extend the periodic table to the next island of stability yields an unexpected result - a microdot explosive. Whoever achieves stability first will have the upper hand - or will they? Not everyone in China favors its new capitalism. New revolutionaries aim at the core of consumption culture. Export MDOT-E in commercial goods and the resulting chaos and panic will precipitate a revolution. The Defense Intelligence Agency must put the pieces together. Their plan tricks former lovers and ex-DIA agents Mitchell Reid and Cole Taylor into working together again. They are a volatile pair, a gutsy choice for a covert mission rushing from Macau to Tokyo to Shanghai. Only Reid and Cole stand in the way of sinister forces. Even a successful operation might not prevent a world of hurt.

My Review: I'm on record as a thriller reader by choice. I choose these entertainments carefully, because a bad thriller is a worse read than a bad example of almost every other genre. This thriller was a LibraryThing Member Giveaway, as it was self-published by the author.

I liked it very much. I'd even go out and buy one. It's nicely written, plausibly plotted, tautly paced, and--for a wonder--actually edited! Most amateur writer/self-publishers don't pay enough attention to the role of an editor in the creation of a good novel. Mr. Miller did. He got good advice, I can see, because the plot holes are few and far between, but also because the thread of a book, the argument it makes about the world, is so consistent.

The settings...Asia's Muslim parts, different bits of China for the most part...are hot spots in the world, so it makes a lot of sense to set a thriller there. It's nice, and fairly unexpected, to see that the politics of the region are thought through and the conclusions the author posits are well supported by the information presented in the book itself.

The main character, Cole Taylor, is well enough drawn to make me suspect that a series is planned. If so, that's a darn good thing. Off-the-shelf woman heroes as written by men are no more interesting than their off-the-shelf male counterparts. Cole is a woman I could enjoy following around.

I expect that Miller will grow as a writer, blowing past the inevitable infelicities of style and occasional lapses of imagination that *every* writer needs to work out and shake off. That there were as few as exist in Islands of Instability is another reason I hope more self-published writers will hire Miller's editor, whoever s/he may be!

Recommended for thriller readers who are getting jaded, for those interested in China's increasing economic and political and military ascendency, and for adventurous lady readers who want a flawed, real heroine to enjoy.

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