Messages – John Michael Hileman


Published by Amlin

Source: Kindle free edition

David Chance can see messages in the sea of words around him, messages that warn him of future events.

Words are everywhere– on labels, magazines, sign posts, t-shirts– everywhere. And as much as David Chance would like to hide from them, he can’t. Words keep leaping off objects around him, forming messages in his mind. But how is this possible? Has his brain suddenly taken an evolutionary leap forward, or are the mysterious messages proof of divine intervention?

Driven to answer a question he’d long ago abandoned, and stalked by the killer he’s trying to stop, David risks everything to follow the messages to a dirty bomb set to go off in the heart of Boston. But can he trust the author of the messages to protect him from a terrorist who seems to know his every move.

Good God this one was painful!

To be fair, my early impressions were that this was a nice, light read – it wasn’t brilliant writing but entertaining nonetheless. I like a good sci-fi action thriller, and that is what I was expecting. Then it all started getting a bit ridiculous…

Our protagonist, David, starts seeing messages forming from random words he sees all around him, and these messages predict the future, so naturally he thinks he’s going a wee bit crazy. Not his friends and family though, they all believe him immediately, no questions asked… I mean really?!

Then, Oh, hello religious propaganda! – of course it’s God speaking to him isn’t it?! Telling him that the president is going to die in two days, then leading him to the terrorists behind the plot, and instructing him to stop it all from happening.

Of course this is God, so he doesn’t tell him exactly what or how to do this – enter David’s neighbour, Frank, who will happily explain all about God’s mysterious ways and how important it is for a ‘prophet’ like David to have faith in these messages – it’s fine buddy, just go into that warehouse full of dirty bombs and gun-wielding zealots and look around for some words that will vaguely tell you what to do next…

Now as ridiculous as this all sounds, and God-bothering and xenophobia aside (there is a lot of it), there was something somewhat faintly redeeming in the plot. I mean, it had some action and suspense. Unfortunately this just became comical when the plot moved far too quickly, was completely far-fetched (and I’m a sci-fi fan!), and as far as the discourse between the characters goes… well you can almost hear truly awful actors on some made-for-tv movie reading these lines, and for added zing there are even a couple of Bruce Willis-esque one liners in there! Jeez!

Oh and I particularly liked the ‘daddy issues’ part where David could not tell a little white lie to get out of work (in order to protect his family from the terrorist neighbours across the street) because that would make him a liar and he would never be like his father… oh come on!!

With so many reasons to dislike this book, why oh why did I keep reading? I can only deduce that it was some sort of morbid curiosity, akin to picking a scab… it hurts, but you have to keep going until you’re done. Or perhaps it was God willing me on…

When I don’t like a particular book, I do always try to think of the kind of people who may enjoy it, so… If you are a heavily religious, xenophobic, sci-fi nut who isn’t too snobby about plot-holes, poor characterisation, and cheap, tacky discourse..then yeah, this might be for you.

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