Roger Schick is a good friend and JRD reader who has been working diligently in making his indie lit debut, and the wait has been well worth it. Stormie Knight is a tour de force through the world of schizophrenia and alternate reality as seen through the eyes of its compelling female protagonist. Chock full of allegory, action-packed narrative and harrowing plot twists, this is one you won’t want to miss. Here’s my beta read on his soon-to-be-released suspense novel you need to put on your bucket list…
Stormie Knight by Roger Schick is a well-crafted psychological thriller taking us through the labyrinth inside the mind of its female protagonist. Jennifer Peterson and her sister Jordana are unfortunates born to a dysfunctional family, trying their best to cling to a semblance of normalcy in a world dependent upon the whims of an alcoholic father. When Jordana is murdered, Jennifer crashes and burns in a state of schizophrenia. She begins inventing alternate universes through which the author brings us with Hitchcockian glee, keeping our heads spinning as Jennifer goes to sleep in one dimension and wakes up in the next. We follow her and her alter ego Nolan along with her paladin Tabitha as she careens through a kaleidoscopic existence leading to deception, delusion and murder in this breathtaking character study.
Schick’s skills as a storyteller are fully evident as we are seamlessly led through a narrative that would have normally lost us along the first chapter. The loss of her sister leads Jennifer to a halfway house where she takes on the role of Stormie Knight, hiring on as an assistant in helping homeless women. She meets Tabitha, an Artful Dodger from the dark side who accompanies Stormie on a twisted trail where the lost girls begin disappearing in horrific episodes. It brings Detective Nolan Parker onto the trail of the Blue Rose Killer, where Stormie channels both Nolan and galactic warrior Morning Star in dealing with the surreal forces tearing her world apart. We teeter on the brink of apocalyptic devastation before falling face-first into blood soaked alleys, desperately trying to cling to reality in following Stormie through the battle of her life.
Too much to digest? Don’t be fooled. Catch hold of this mindbender and join the long line of Schick readers who are anxiously awaiting the prequel.
Obviously Marcha and I are good cyberspace friends and literary colleagues. We’ve developed a mutual respect for each other’s work and artistic abilities and remain in constant contact exchanging views and opinions on the changing world of indie lit. Naturally I jumped on the chance to be a beta reader of her upcoming work, Refractions of Frozen Time. Without further ado, here’s my take on Marcha’s latest endeavor…
Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox is the fourth installment of the Star Trails anthology. It’s one of those unique compilations in that each story is able to stand alone without the assistance of the others, and therein lies the magic. The Star Trails Tetralogy followed the journey of the Brightstar family as they were scattered to the farthest ends of the galaxy trying to avoid the manipulations of the evil Integration program. We watched Merapa Brightstar take a stand against the terrible trio of Governor Woeyel, Augustus Troy and Rohtik Spoigan, having to flee from the persecution of his noble Ledorian Order. His struggle anticipated the plight of his children Creena and Dirck, who abandon their own plans for self-fulfillment in finding their father and joining in the struggle against the evil empire. Now we’ve come to the turn in the road, and all we can hope is that it leads to more Brightstar tales from this prolific sci-fi novelist.
What sets this apart from run-of-the-mill space operas is Fox’s experience during her tenure at NASA. She draws upon her technical expertise and enhances it with fact-based theory that gives this as much of a ‘what-if’ perspective as you can expect within the genre. The moral and philosophical questions also give us much to reflect upon. Devenite and its chronoviatic properties may allow the Brightstars to travel through time and change the future. Yet Merapa chastises Dirck in pointing out how mankind would end up destroying its own destiny, forcing outcomes while forsaking the natural order of things in the process. How many times do we look back at what might have been, not realizing how much better off we are according to God’s perfect plan? Life is full of choices, but if our choices are preempted by those who act for the greater good, we may find ourselves ultimately having no choice at all.
It’s something to consider, and definitely a book all sci-fi fans need to check out. For series followers, the addition of Professor Denale and Eulon Argo are my dark horse bets as major players in the cataclysmic confrontations ahead. Pick up a copy of Refractions of Frozen Time by Marcha Fox and treat yourself to a visionary adventure you won’t forget.