Review: Spikebreaker


Royal CrownRoyal CrownRoyal CrownRoyal Crown

Four Royal Crowns
(4 out of 4 rating)

Spikebreaker is a story about a police unit which partners regular officers with telepaths. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it; I’m a sucker for anything which combines sci-fi and cops, but I wasn’t so sure about the psychic angle. After reading, I was impressed enough to check whether there were any sequels (there are none yet).

The Spoiler Dragon

One of the things I enjoyed most about this story was its pacing/timing. There were several times when I was running through options in the back of my mind, wondering who could be behind things or what their motive might be, and then (bam!) a new attack would blindside me. The tension ratcheted up with each attack, painting a good picture of a desperate situation; I was reminded of how I felt when I was in countries undergoing military coups. I also liked the turn-the-tables ending of the story; it seems that a number of stories I’ve reviewed haven’t had strong endings, and short stories really need them.

There were several grammar errors that I’d like to see cleaned up by a proofreader, but obviously I felt that the strength of the story outweighed them. I only have one other complaint about the story: I occasionally lost track of the identity of some of the characters. This might not have happened if I had read the story straight through, but unfortunately I was interrupted multiple times. I am reminded of some advice from Orson Scott Card concerning character names, which I’ll mention briefly since I know many of my readers are authors or aspiring authors:

Don’t refer to your characters by last name in one place, then by first name or rank/title in another place; be consistent. Don’t name your characters Harper, Parker, and Carter (at least 2 of those 3 were used in Spikebreaker); throw in an O’Connor or Kowalski. [my thought: but please don’t fill your Irish Mob with Dikembe Mutombos and Makoto Naganos in an attempt to be multicultural – that’s just stupid]

Gareth Lewis is a prolific author; he’s written short stories and novels in several different genres. I have not read any of his other work yet, but have loaded several of his stories onto my Kindle. Here is a link to his author page at Amazon, where you will find a number of free and low-price stories.


  1. Sounds like an interesting story. And look, it’s free on Amazon right now. πŸ™‚ Guess I know what I’m reading next.

    About always referring to characters the same way regardless of the circumstances: Card also says that anything without “rivets” is, by definition, NOT science fiction, so I think I’ll ignore him in this, too. (A police officer’s colleagues may always call her by her surname, but her mom probably won’t.)

    1. Let me know whether you like it; I’m always curious to see if these stories have the same impact on other readers.

      I’d never heard the rivets quote, I had to look it up…

      I’d have to read his material again, I was just paraphrasing from memory. I can’t imagine he would disagree with your example, but I do see how it could get confusing quickly if two officers usually discuss “Captain Smith” and then later on refer to him as “Dave”. I’m now actually glad I had so many interruptions while reading, because it made me think about this issue.

  2. […] …See Full Update […]

  3. Reblogged this on Brainfluff and commented:
    This review of ‘Spikebreaker’ by Gareth Lewis has piqued my interest – so I thought I’d share it with you, too…

    1. I’m glad you liked the review!

  4. […] Enigmas by Gareth Lewis. I enjoyed his short story Spikebreaker, so I decided to read this slightly longer […]

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