Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Michael F. Stewart - The Terminals - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

- Sometimes the dead don’t want to talk.
You need Terminals to make them. -

Terminals solve crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.

Lt. Col. Christine Kurzow, fresh from a failed suicide attempt after she cost 11 of her soldiers their lives, is recruited into the covert unit of Terminals as a handler. It's an easy sell. If she's really determined to die, it’s a chance to give her death meaning.

But her first case—convincing a monk to chase Hillar the Killer into the afterlife to find the location of a missing bus and the children it carried—has her wondering how to make a dead psychopath talk.

Christine must follow the clues sent back by the shotgun-toting monk, who tracks Hillar through the seven deeps of hell, so she can find eleven kids before it’s too late.

Maybe this time killing a man will give Christine a reason to live.

**The Television and Film production rights have been sold to Jim Donovan (Best Director 2013, Canadian Screen Awards) and on to his partners of Sudden Storm Entertainment.

My Review

It's rare to find an author with a finger on the pulse of popular culture, yet imaginative enough to give a new spin on things. Michael F. Stewart is in the world, but not of the world and I love that about his writing. The paranormal is so hot right now. From TV shows like GHOST HUNTERS and GHOST ADVENTURES to movies like THE CONJURING and INSIDIOUS, it's safe to say that most of us are intrigued with the concept of communicating with the dead.

But in THE TERMINALS, Stewart takes it one step further. He turns this fascination into a covert unit of the government where terminally ill patients are euthanized in order to interrogate criminals in the afterlife. Kind of like combining a death penalty lethal injection with Dionne Warwick's Psychic Network. A plunging needle is the gateway into immortality. Crystal doorknobs serve as walkie talkies. A descent into the bowels of hell is the likely destination when hunting down murderers. Yet there are eager volunteers (a.k.a. Terminals) lined up in the hallway, awaiting their turn to serve, ready to leave this realm and explore the next. Whether or not it's for the good of humanity is hard to say.

I've never read a book quite like THE TERMINALS. It's gripping, yet emotionally taxing. There's a lot of twisted behavior going on. Children's eyelids are sewed back. Unsuspecting cops are immersed in a bath of sulfuric acid. Rats run rampant over dead body parts. And that's just the stuff here on Earth. That doesn't even get into the tortures that await the poor souls who willingly give up their lives to enter the devil's playground.

There's a quote from one Terminal that is telling of the book's premise, "Listen, don't fixate so much on death. It doesn't matter. When we are alive, we are not dead, and when we are dead, we are no longer alive. There is no in-between. No dying. It is the dying that most people fear."

Are these willing victims (Terminals) just after a compassionate death? Free of pain and the misery of lingering too long. They want to cross over and do so with a purpose. They've been recruited for these missions. They seek to help complete strangers, who they've never even met before, obtain some answers and find some closure. Even if it's not a guarantee for themselves.

It's a heady concept. Like taking organ donation to a whole new interactive level. The only thing required is sharing the same religious philosophy as the recently deceased. That stamps a Terminal's passport for the right region of the afterlife. Once the intended destination is clear, they're able to track down the criminals and hopefully bring them to justice by making them talk. It's a divine mercy squad that aids the living from the depths of the beyond.

Stewart's novel is bold. It's not for the faint of heart, but I think it has a wide crossover appeal. Science fiction fans will relish in the creature-ladden slog through hell. Paranormal readers will devour the clairvoyant possibilities of lifting the veil between life and death. Lovers of suspense thrillers will salivate over the clues dropped in a scavenger hunt leading to various apocalyptic crime scenes. Devotees of military mysteries will ponder the scope of the coverup and how this top secret operation is being hidden from the public.

But above all, if you want something original, Stewart's your guy. He's a truly talented indie writer, making a name for himself on his own steam. Even if parts of the book make you uncomfortable because they veer toward the overly graphic, he always reels you back in with his high level of storytelling. No one ever wants to go to hell, but if you're going to go, go with Stewart. He makes a destination we all think we know so well come alive in a way that will leave you marveling at his creativity.


The Terminals can be purchased at:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Formats: ebook, paperback
Pages: 310
Genre: Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery
Release: April 15, 2014
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Michael F. Stewart is the author of the Assured Destruction series, which sprawls across 3 books, 2 websites, 1 blog, 7 Twitter accounts, tumblr, Facebook, and 6 graphic origin stories. He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s, anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. He has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s award winning Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on Corruption and Children’s Rights published by Rubicon Publishing as well as early readers with Pearson are all forthcoming in 2014 and 2015.

For adults, Michael has written THE SAND DRAGON a horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands, HURAKAN a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle, 24 BONES an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth, and THE TERMINALS—a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next. This series has already been optioned for film and television.

Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he runs free writing workshops for teens and adults.

Links to connect with Michael:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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  1. Carol, your review is a work of art. Can't thank you enough!

    1. You painted the picture. I just described it. *wink*

  2. Carol, thanks for the review of Michael's book! As you can see ^^^ I think he kind of liked it :)