Shane Stadler © 2014 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
I can't think of many things more repulsive than a book that revolves around sophisticated new ways to torture a person. Why I chose to read it, I don't know . . . . but I'm glad I did.
First of all, Shane Stadler is a wonderfully talented writer. Few books have ever sucked me in so fast. The tension build- up had me wanting to cover my face with my hands and read through the gaps in my fingers!
Once William Thompson (the main character) began his exoskeleton Compressed Punishment "treatments," the descriptions literally made me feel sick to my stomach. For a brief moment, I even considered dumping the book. But just as the exoskeleton machinery had the ability to judge just how far it could push Thompson, Stadler has the ability to judge just how far he can push his readers. Once he made his point, Stadler shortened the graphic scenes and spent more time on other aspects of the story.
In retrospect, the graphic descriptions were necessary to make the book work, and there is nothing wrong with making readers feel uncomfortable from time to time. The end result was a story so compelling that I had to put aside an entire Saturday, just so I could read the last half straight through!
I haven't read horror writing this good since The Silence of the Lambs. Hopefully, Shane Stadler will also match Thomas Harris's productivity with a long string of read-between-your-fingers books!
-- By Marty Essen, author of:
***** "Hello, 911? Can you send an officer over? …" (US)
Because I've just been brain raped. Wow. Now this book was fiendishly clever. I cannot think of what could better describe this story. The author grabs you immediately, dragging you down into the hellish world of the military underground. Think Cold War style experimenting, the era of human experiments... where one's own government would dose you with LSD just to see what would happen, or try to break your mental barriers to create a mind controlled soldier. This is the world where the lead character of the book finds himself. A deniable human experiment. A non-person.I don't like reviewing and telling about the plotline too much, so I'll leave that top paragraph as my dust jacket blurb. Now to tell you about the writing itself. The author is genius. I am an avid reader, and enjoy savoring a good book. My kindle alone has over 450 titles on it, my bookshelf more. This book was read in one day. I was literally unwilling to put it down. I have not done that more than a dozen times. The author captures the mood of being locked inside a building, with no hope of escape. Not just a building, but fully encased and trapped in a hellish neurosuit. Locked in, on a timer. The psychological horror of it all, trapped in your own mind is perfectly captured by the writer. There are points where the simple thought of the extreme circumstances will give you goosebumps.The characters are well developed, personable. The main character in particular is masterfully done, giving the reader a clear look into the mind as it tries to cope and comprehend what is happening to it. The details are crisp and clear, the writing sharp and vivid, and drew me right in. Twenty pages in, and the author had me as much a prisoner as his character.Overall: Read it. If you like psychological games, with the dark overtones of government conspiracy (Think X-files twisted with Saw), then this is your dream book. Worth every penny, and each page will drag you further in. --By Doc Hatter (Morose, MT)
Reading this book reminds me very much like the feeling I get when I've eaten too much Haribo...I knew it was wrong while I was doing it but I couldn't stop myself, and I felt a little sick afterwards..in a good way.I will try to only include a few cliché review points...page turner, couldn't put it down, dark and real...there we go, had to get them out to conform appropriately with the masses.I thoroughly enjoyed the book from beginning to end...the truth of the Exoskeleton and the history of its creation fit seamlessly into probable historical features of the Nazi persecution of the Jewish people and created a very catch 22 feeling in the character development of the character Richard and his internal war with his conscience.Loved it, great read, he could write more
-- By Ryan Steer (UK)
***** WOW! When is the movie coming out?! (UK)
28 April 2014By b roberts - See all my reviewsVerified Purchase(What is this?)This review is from: EXOSKELETON - A Novel (Kindle Edition)I was impressed enough by the sample of this to pay over £2 for it which I wont usually do for a writer new to me, and I was NOT disappointed. The reviews helped but I was totally hooked by the sample. The story grabs you from page one. The lead character, Wil, has you onside from the first, with the believable frustration of judicial injustice demanding you to follow his story until he has his deserved redemption. This is slightly outside my usual chosen genres, personally I would describe it as a psychological thriller/conspiracy and it reminds me of Robin Cooks brilliant novel "Coma" and the chilling effect it had on me when I first read it. That was made into a decent movie and I have no doubt that Exoskeleton who be a blockbuster on the big screen with the cgi now available. I was struck by how "real" the torture scenes felt and the clinical precision with which they were written made them all the more effective where lesser talents opt for shock and gore and drama which leave me cold and incredulous and so emotionally unattached. This skill made sense when I read the afterward on the author being a physicist. I love Stadlers writing style which is clean and unfussy and all the more powerful for it. We all know "stuff" goes on in labs around the world which push the boundaries of science and it is not too far a stretch of the imagination to think that experiments such as this could happen. It is known that Hitler was enthralled by the potential of scientific and supernatural experimentation and that the Nazi regime included teams of scientists working on all kinds of projects, including hideous human experimentation, some of which were adopted and expanded upon by other nations after his downfall. Stadler has taken this as a starting point and used his own expertise, the paranoia of conspiracy theory and our inherent need for truth and justice and created a novel of quiet genius. He leaves us with an obvious but nonetheless clever opening for a series along the lines of many a "marvel" hero and although Im not sure future "episodes" will be as original and so interesting to me, I will definitely be on the look out for more of his work. I read this in one sitting and can recommend it either as an interesting and slightly chilling look into fictional (we hope!) future-science or simply as a good fast, entertaining read. make of it what you will but do give it a try. -- By B. Roberts (UK)