Four Royal Crowns
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).
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.