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8 March 2012

STONE RELICS - Review and Guest Post (ADULT CONTENT 19+)


Title: Stone Relics
Author: Katy Walters
Genre: Fiction - Science Fiction
Published by:Oakwood House Publishing; 3rd Edition (February 12, 2012)
Publication Date:
1st November 2011
Age Restriction:
19+, Erotic/Adult Content
Content Warning:
Contains Erotic and mild violence elements
Recommended Age:
19+
Format(s):
eBook, mass-market paperback
ISBN 13:
978-0615536644
Number of pages:
350

Stone Relics is a high octane thriller. Packed with brilliant concepts – of genetics and mind-blowing technology, it shocks and inspires. Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin, a Super Cop is an enigma, working undercover for MI8, his true identity known only to the few.


In a world of humans, clones, cyborgs, things can go wrong - mutations, psychosis and perversion. It is 2065; megalomaniac business men hold the mining rights to vast outlets on the Asteroid belt. The world’s resources are crumbling as these corrupt men hold the Earth to ransom.


Police are faced with a spate of vicious murders and abductions. Young women are discovered with snakes draped over their bodies, a stone relic carved with a mysterious star system, left at their side. A cryptic message points to a sinister cult. To his horror, Ben experiences phobic attacks along with rage, human emotions alien to him. Desperate he turns to American psychologist, Dr Lucy Roberts, a psychologist/psycho neurologist and a rebel. Forced to reveal what and who he is, Ben has to trust she will not expose him. Lucy agrees to help only to be drawn into a relationship fraught with danger. Can she help Ben to experience love? Archaeologists advise the Stone Relics date back 2.5 million years, before the first Homo Erectus. Who carved the star system? How are these early Earth inhabitants linked to the cult?


MY REVIEW

As an avid Reader of  novels such as Isaac Asimov's  'I Robot' (he also wrote the three 'laws of robotics' *) and Philip K. Dick's 'Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?' (Mentioned by Katy in the book and in her guest post, and which was filmed as'Blade Runner') it was innevitable that I would enjoy 'Stone Relics' and be drawn to the hero, Ben Tobin, who despite the revelation that he is a clone with a digitally enhanced brain is endearingly human.  The heroine, Lucy Roberts, is feisty and very easy to like and relate to.  The supporting characters are also very strong, with different characteristics and personalities. 

The story is set in the not to distant future and moves at a fast pace, leading from one murder to another,  keeping the reader on the edge of their seat all the way, while the romance between Lucy and Ben gradually warms from simmering to boiling point. Ben, who I found myself likeing more and more as the story progressed, has to deal not only with solving the horrific and gruesome ritual murders and his growing attraction to Lucy, but the fact that parts of his brain, which has a computer implant, are growing and causing him to have unwelcome fears, strange memories and problems controlling his anger. This is the reason why he turns to Lucy a psychologist, in the first place, and eventually draws her into the investigation. There are a lot of characters, including many of the victims, and we see the events through their eyes as well as the two main protagonists.

Katy Walters skillfully weaves together her considerable  knowledge of  Psychology and Police Procedures in this dramatic story  which combines the elements of Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Occult with Crime Fiction, a dash of horror, and a sizzling love story.  The Science Fiction elements are wholly convincing and had me completely absorbed. 

I enjoyed reading this novel, even though it took me a little out of my own personal comfort zone. (I even forgave her for spelling the Welsh name 'Ianto' as Yanto, but probably no-one who wasn't Welsh would have picked up on that, since that's how it is pronounced!) It's not for the squeamish, as there are descriptions of mutilated bodies, a lot of poisonous snakes, ritual gang rape, and it is sprinkled with four letter words,  but they are all necessary to the story and not there just for effect, and are never overdone. To balance the more 'adult' themes, and the horrific nature of the crimes, there are some beautifully descriptive and romantic passages, and a rather endearing dog (named after the author's own dog, I believe) and a cat with 'attitude'.  The book reaches a thrilling climax, followed by a happy and satisfying conclusion.  I can recommend this to anyone who enjoys the combination of a rattling good psychological thriller and Science Fiction novel, liberally sprinkled with Romance, and who is not too bothered by snakes.

EXCERPT
Death grinned as Ben opened the tent flap to snakes decaying over the tender young body. An angel, her beauty devoured by evil, but not her essence, a seraphic core that withstood evil even in death. His legs trembled slightly, as he knelt to her, angels do die – angels with violet eyes. He bit down on his lower lip, tasting blood and salt from the sea, his face now only centimeters away from the decaying reptiles.  Phobic fear pounded his body like an iron fist, punching away his breath. God, the tranx weren’t holding. ‘Get on it with it man’ he muttered, ‘get on with it.’

Wiping the perspiration from his forehead, Ben glanced at the closed flap of the tent; at least no one could see him shaking. His hand hovered over her black curls flowing through the dark green fronds of seaweed, his fingers brushing away the petals of a sea anemone suckling on the pallid skin of her chest. He shivered at her mouth a purple shriek of dried blood, felt his muscles tighten at the puncture-like wounds spread across her exquisite face, naked breasts, belly and legs. Someone had loved this girl – held her in his arms. He focused on the row of neat stitches across her flat stomach.

 His breath felt like ice on his tongue, his body paralyzed almost, as he glimpsed a shadow rising from the sand, a darkness hovering. So, this is what evil felt like. He glanced over his shoulder, there was nothing; just the watery light glowing through the tent walls. He smelt the fetid odor of death – nothing – no demons gibbering.

Detective Mistral Dunwood, known by all as Misty, paced outside the tent, eyes squinting in the morning light. As the Scene of Crime Officers trudged towards her, she called out, ‘Chief, SOCO are here, shall I bring them in?’

Ben felt his muscles loosening, his breath easier, his time with the snakes nearly over. He shouted, ‘No, I need to process the body first, keep everyone away until I call.’
  
 As he placed the magnetic I.D. screen card to the victim’s pale wrist, her details embedded in her skin appeared.

    Melanie Wordsworth,
    Secretary to Dr. Naomi Pearson.
    Resides with Dr. Naomi Pearson.
    Apartment 8, 11 Marine Parade,
    Brighton,
    Area West Sussex, BSX 890.
    Date of birth, 21.10.2040.

    He whispered, ‘I’m here for you, angel, we’ll find the bastard, he’ll know your pain.’

    A stone relic lay wedged under Melanie’s foot: the carved body of a woman, half-human half snake.
I asked Katy what inspired her  to write this story and who are the Science Fiction Writer or writers whose work she admires the most. Here's her reply:

Inspiration came about over years really.  First, having studied Artificial Intelligence as part of my psychology degree, I became aware of how little we really now about the mind.  However, having said that, that was some years ago and there have been great advances made.  Nevertheless, the question still does remain what is the mind and where is it?  No-one at this time can answer that. Ask any psychologist, any philosopher, any scientist and they will say ‘I don’t know.’  But the science fiction writer strides in with a pen or keyboard and pushes into the unknown, the strange, and the incredible. 

We psychologists treat people on a wing and a prayer really. Well a bit more than that, we have tried and tested methods that seem to work for some – not all, but we don’t know really what we are treating or where it is as we do not know where or what the mind is. It is chilling to know how very little we really know about the mind.  Yes, we do know a lot more about the different areas of the brain, but ‘the mind’?  That’s a different ball game and no-one knows the rules yet, or even where to begin. It is only with the advancement of robotics and top down computer programming, where a computer begins to self-learn, that we can begin to maybe glean the workings of the brain. But, still we are nowhere near understanding the mind and as for the soul – well that again is another vast field with a padlocked gate. Science Fiction writers don’t ask those questions they try to give answers, which are either pure fantasy or maybe have a grain of truth. But still, we do not have enough knowledge to challenge Descartes ‘cogito ergo sum’ ‘I think therefore, I am’, or Berkeley’s ‘esse est percipi’ ‘to be is to be perceived’

Science Fiction can challenge the philosophers; push the boundaries of thought and research. I have heard that many scientists scour the science fiction books for inspiration and even ask a writer’s permission to explore a particular idea they have written about. Science Fiction asks, how and why we think.  Some mathematicians say that love is a mathematical formula. If that is really true, then a computer is capable of love.  Extreme argument I know but it is the one from which Stone Relics sprang.

One of the authors I studied was Phillip K. Dick, and this was the beginning of my romance with Sci-fi.  He explored not only the advancement of robotics and their role in society; he explored the region of emotions in the advanced android.  This set me off thinking, of how we as individuals and society as a whole, would cope in the near future with the existence of clones, cyborgs and hybrids. How would we deal with an android who says ‘I love you’?’ Would we laugh saying it was absurd, would we shrug our shoulders and turn away when it cried electronically?


Author Bio: I live on the South Coast with hubby and my golden retriever Lily. The children have grown and flown leaving me space to write full time. Science fiction and paranormal romance have always fascinated me.

I started off as a singer but touring England and Europe, took me away so much from my husband and home. I went back to University and studied psychology. I have a. B.A. Hons in Psychology and another B.A. in Eng. Lit and Creative Writing.  I also attained an M.A. in Mysticism and Religious Experience. Later I was awarded an Hon.Dr.Sc. for research into pain control using altered states of consciousness and complementary healing techniques.]


Author’s Website: http://www.sciencefiction-paranormal-katywalters.com/
Author’s Blog: http://katysreviewsandnews.blogspot.com/


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One lucky person will win an eBook copy of Stone Relics by Katy Walters! Since this is an eBook the giveaway is Global and will end on March 9th, 2012.
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* Isaac Asimov's three laws of Robotics:
  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

All reviews on this blog of books by other authors are my own, personal opinion. In some cases a free book has either been provided or accepted for review, but not in an effort to control the outcome of said review. No compensation has been paid or accepted for any reviews on this site, favorable or otherwise







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