Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Miracle Chip - A Review


Before I get to my review, please grant me a moment to explain why it’s been so long since the last one.  Just before Christmas I had two surgeries on my left arm – the stroke impaired one – to try to alleviate some of the neuromuscular impairment caused by my April, 2008 stroke.  I am still in recovery mode awaiting the beginning of physical therapy, but even with the surgeon’s restriction of lifting nothing heavier than a cup of coffee (there would have been real problems had he imposed that one as well), I can sort of type  - two fingers – with my left hand.  Any typo’s are thereby blamed on this impairment.
Now - let’s talk a little about The Miracle Chip, the new release by Tampa area author, Stanley Grainger and Xlibris Press, © 2011 by Stanley Grainger:
Library of Congress Control Number: 2011913997 ISBN:
Hardcover  978-1-4653-4845-6
Softcover  978-1-4653-4844-9
Ebook 978-1-4653-4846-3  (Kindle Locations 7-12). Xlibris. Kindle Edition.
That’s the raw skinny on it if you want to read it sight unseen, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story.
Imagine, if you will, a time in the not too distant future a world in which a small but powerful faction of well-placed political, military and religious figures world-wide band together to create a one world society with a completely cashless society, single world religion (Roman Catholicism) and a single Emperor/President of the entire world, all made possible through the mandatory implementation of the neurobiologic ‘Miracle Chip’.
It sounds a bit like a science fiction techno thriller version of what you might get if you added one part Book of Revelation, one part Tribulation Series, one part (insert name of favorite techno-thrill author here), tossed them into a blender, and pour the contents into a book binder.
The story opens with former special forces operative Cantrell Stoggs hacking off his left arm with an ax to remove the dreaded chip, which intertwines itself into the host’s neuromuscular system in such symbiosis that it cannot be surgically removed.
This is followed by a faked jail escape, engineered by the secret faction to flush out Cantrell’s old black ops partner, Tracy Long.  They are joined by reporter/investigative journalist Janine McCormit as the trio runs from the secret society with hopes of rescuing Long’s kidnapped daughter, and stop this nefarious world takeover.
The book essentially reads in three phases.  A short, slowly paced beginning where all the usual suspects are introduced, a lengthy middle where the pace  picks up considerably, and an all too abrupt ending that, like the ending of Star Wars: A New Hope where you see Darth Vader’s T-fighter is spinning off into space and you just know somehow, you’ll see him again, screams sequel.
The concept is fairly good, fairly well developed, but lacking in areas like street dialog and the way characters are addressed by the narrator.  Writer Grainger also seems stuck, not unlike a record with a bad scratch, with a spot that so overuses adjectives before nearly every noun in the book, you’re left feeling like you’re reliving sentence diagramming in eleventh grade English.  Additionally, a reasonably good read is severely hurt by the very amateurish, comic-book like cover art that looks more like a badly copied frame from an episode of Beavis and Butthead than something to be taken as a serious read.
For these reasons, three stars out of five for The Miracle Chip, with the hope that the sequel, if there is one, will give a little more attention to the details.  This is a good start, but not quite yet ready for prime time.
Tampa readers can find The Miracle Chip. at Barnes and Noble on North Dale Mabry in Carrollwood, Books-A-Million on US 19 North in Port Richey, and other fine book sellers in the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg area It is also available to download from Amazon.com.
Interested Tampa readers can learn more about Stanley Grainger and his writing at  the author’s web site.
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