Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Joshua Effect by P.S. Meronek

Author: P.S. Meronek
Publisher: Ponytale Press, Inc.
Publish Date: August 1st 2013 
Page Amount: 351 Pages
Price: $6.99 Kindle (my format was Paperback)
ISBN-13: 9780985709631
"The rooftop reception on the skyscraper in lower Manhattan is an elegant affair right up until the moment the murders occur. With the lives of sixty-three of his friends and business associates snuffed out in one horrifying blink of an eye, the wealthy and enigmatic Jonathan Strickland boards a dangerous roller coaster ride of a lifetime in this clever, nail biting who-done-it.

Following the nebulous clues left behind at the scene of the crime, Strickland finds himself kidnapped and taken to a clandestine meeting in the middle of the Syrian dessert beneath the ancient ruins of one of the oldest civilizations known to man. The lines between good and evil blur as the suspect list narrows. Strickland races against time to find the invisible killers who have even more carnage in mind; they call their sinister plan the Joshua Effect.Strickland also struggles with the essence of a life thrown into question by the gnawing epiphany that he is losing the one thing which actually gives his existence meaning. All of his fantastic achievements pale when compared with the desire to possess the love of the one woman who can understand him - but who can never be with the man he is.As the clock ticks relentlessly forward to a catastrophe of truly Biblical proportions, the hunt for those responsible nears its climax. From a brazen gun battle among the rich and famous in the exotic streets of glamorous Miami Beach to the discovery of the secretive Catskills hideaway of a reclusive scientist in upstate New York, the thrilling ride never lets up.All the while the personal war inside Strickland rages on. Who is he? More importantly, who will he end up becoming? For a man who thought he had everything, why does he suddenly find his life so empty?For Jonathan, the revelation that a life with nothing in it worth dying for isn't much worth living shakes the very core of his being. Then why does it feel so right? The Joshua Effect is a taut, suspense filled page turner with a stunner around every corner."(Goodreads Description)

Disclaimer: This book is NOT Young Adult or Teen. 

This book follows the story of Jonathan Strickland, a rich, businessman who just happens to be caught in the middle of a very sensitive situation, a supposed deliberate attack. His helicopter, while meeting with his business associates, had supposedly triggered explosions - several explosions, which resulted in the loss of his friends lives - when it "crashed" into the tower. Now, Jonathan finds himself trying to track down the real culprit to the mystery.  He is not alone, for he has the help of his friends, a division of the government, and his ex-girlfriend Charlie. Throughout this journey, Jonathan not only learns more about the situation at hand, but more about himself as well. 

To be completely honest, I am a little bit mixed in my review. I thought that this book would be SO INTERESTING because this is the first book that I have ever read about this subject matter. I did find the story interesting, but I do feel like the story could have been executed better than it was. 

As I mentioned in my disclaimer, this book is not Young Adult or Teen. From the synopsis, and the Goodreads Giveaway Description, the synopsis did sound like it would be from a Young Adult or Teen Genre. I do have to say that I believe some of my expectations for this novel did affect the rating. I was expecting this novel to be Young Adult (granted, my first clue should have been that the character was an adult) and I do think that I would have enjoyed this novel had it been tailored to this genre.

I loved most of the story, especially toward the last half of the novel, but in the first half, I was utterly confused with some parts. The first part of the novel focuses heavily on government affairs and construction of buildings, and to be honest, I wasn't particularly interested in reading these parts. I was very confused about what was going on, although I do understand that I was not the target audience for this novel. I really wanted to hear more about Jonathan himself and more of his past, rather than the government. 

I did like the negotiation between Jonathan and Homeland Security. I did think that this was essential to the story, and Jonathan's character, because it really does show how much influence both Jonathan and other people in power do possess. I really thought that this scene in the novel especially, helped to set up Jonathan's character - that, yes, he is a businessman and does have quite the income, but in terms of the deliberate attack, he is completely clear of blame. 

This being said, I really did like the development of Jonathan's character. I opened the book and I thought that Jonathan would be this stuck-up, rich, snobby businessman who always gets what he wants, and in the beginning of the book, he did seem like that person. But as the story goes on, I witnessed a transformation within Jonathan that I really did love to see. I was able to see the side of him that cares about the wellbeing of other people, as well as himself. I was able to see the side of him that puts others before himself, who thinks before he acts, who takes risks and who is really just like a regular person. I was able to see a change  throughout the novel, and that is what I really appreciated. 

There were also some adult situations in this novel, and I appreciated that none of them were spoken of too much during the story. 

What I did not like about the story is that I never really got to learn as much about Jonathan as I was hoping to. I wanted to see more of Jonathan's past and more of how he envisions his life to be. I wanted to learn more about him. While I did learn a lot about him in terms of his personality, I really wanted to know about his history. That is something that I did not get. 

In terms of other characters, I thought that the development within them was okay. It wasn't great, but I really would have loved to know more about them! I thought that Charlie's development was about the same level as Jonathan, and I really enjoyed getting to read more about her and how other characters perceive her to be. 

Something that a lot of other reviewers for this novel pointed out as well is that the reader never really learns much about Jonathan's business friends until the very end of the novel. Jonathan never was feeling as much grief as I would have expected him to feel. The names of those who had passed away were rarely mentioned, if at all. I would have loved to see more emotions, specifically grief for those that Jonathan lost, as part of the "confusion" of the incident and carried throughout the novel. 

In comparison, I thought that the second half of the novel was much more eventful and much more pleasing than the first half. If the whole book would have been similar to the structure, plot progression, as well as character development in the second half, I would have been much happier with the story in general. I learned so much more about the characters in the second half, and it was a section that I did not want to put down. The second part of the novel was action-packed! 

Overall, I really do enjoy the idea of this story. I know that if I was the intended audience for this novel, I may have enjoyed the story like much more than I did. I wish that the story, the first part especially, would have been easier to read and understand. 

To leave things on a positive note, I really did appreciate some of the character development and the fast-pace nature of the second part of the story. 

Rating: 2.5-3 out of 5 stars

I received this book for free from the Goodreads "First Reads" Program.

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