Gorilla Review – THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Book of the Dead by Douglas Preston

This 619 page work brings back some familiar characters, FBI special agent Aloysius Pendergast, his ward Constance Greene, his sociopath brother Diogenes Pendergast, and Lieutenant Vincent D’Agosta of the NYPD, to mention a few. The characters are again well developed and sympathetic.

THE BOOK OF THE DEAD is book six in the Pendergast novels, and part of the Diogenes Trilogy. Aloysius is stuck in prison, framed by his evil brother, Diogenes, for murders he didn’t commit. With Aloysius out of commission Diogenes is free to bring his greatest crime to fruition. He nearly succeeds.

While it was well written, we just didn’t think THE BOOK OF THE DEAD developed as quickly or as powerfully as the first novel, RELIC. But don’t let us turn you off. True Pendergast fans will enjoy this book, we unfortunately didn’t like the wait, although we must admit the payoff was well worth the price of admission!

By our count Douglas Preston has written at least 12 solo novels and Lincoln Child is equally as prolithic.  Check out the official PrestonChild website.  You can’t go wrong with their books.

Return To The Table of Contents




GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction to Shu

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue, if they have one. What follows is the prologue to the novel, “Shu.”  This is Book 2 of the Continuum Series (preceeded by Book 1, “The Armageddon”).  If you like an old fashioned SciFi tale of good guys vs. bad guys – you’ve come to the right place!

(Are the hieroglyphics real?  Oh yes, and they’re more than 2500 years old.)

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the internet or a Web site without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


A Region of Space-Time Near Alpha Centauri

The blue mist condensed rapidly, its cloudy substance forming in a region of positive Bradyon space-time, within the Milky Way galaxy, very close to the triple star system of Alpha Centauri. At the peak of its opacity the cloudy energy flattened and compressed into a thin fiery line. Blue ball lightning discharged at random intervals along its length in a dazzling display of raw unchained power.

The energies gathered and intensified until the very fabric of space split down the length of the anomaly, opening a vent into the nether-region of 2 Tachyon space . Above and below the opening the stars of Alpha Centauri shown brilliantly. Within the opening there was true nothingness, a place where only the two dimensions of mass and velocity held sway.

Through this portal in the fabric of perceivable space-time emerged the massive spherical body of the battleship Seth, its outer surfaces a shimmering miasma of energy generated by the annihilation of antimatter in the spaces between its hull and the force fields surrounding it. The exterior of the behemoth craft was pock marked with battle damage, and in more than one location the hull had been breached and hastily resealed. The Seth’s damaged drives strained against the pull of 2 Tachyon, faltered momentarily, then flared again into brilliance; with agonizing slowness the wounded battleship completed its shift into normal space-time.

In the smoke-filled bridge area, warning alarms told of the dull red corruptive fires in the central crystals of the battleship’s drives. The ochre glow of battle lanterns flickered, illuminating the twisted wreckage of bridge stations – at first there was no movement and no sound, then slowly the crew began to recover, digging themselves out of the debris.

“Temu-san!” Lieutenant Commander Neter called as she moved her seven foot frame through the remnants of shattered equipment. She was looking for the battleship’s Commander.

“Here.” The response was distant and weak.

Neter advanced steadily toward the sound of Temu’s voice, using her immense strength to clear a passage through the debris. She was covered with grime and her long sweat-soaked brown hair stuck to her face, hiding the classic features of her beauty.

“Here,” the weak voice called again, followed by the gurgling choking sound of a person drowning in his own blood.

Neter stopped and looked around, and in the dim ochre light she saw the Seth’s Commander buried beneath the heavy frame of a Cryan workstation that had fallen on its side. “Ren,” she yelled, “I have found him! Come quickly.” Bending on one knee, she placed her hand on the ‘s forehead. The pulse at his temple was weak and her heart sank. He was badly injured. “Temu-san,” she said gently.

Blood oozed from Temu’s nose and mouth and soaked his long grey chin beard. His hooded eyes fluttered, then opened partially. There was a momentary struggle to focus through the haze of pain, then a measure of awareness. “Neter, take command of the Seth.” The whisper was barely audible.

“You still live.” Neter’s statement was not only one of fact but a fervent prayer, for, as long as there was breath in Temu-san’s body, he was the commander of the Seth.

Temu shook his head weakly. Even though his body would fight for every second of life, he knew the remaining time was short. He could feel the blood filling his lungs; even now it bubbled in his throat as he breathed. Since the Seth was the sole surviving battleship of the uprising, it was critical that the chain of command be preserved. The others must hear him bequeath the authority upon Neter. “You are now the Commander of the Seth,” he whispered with the last of his strength.

“How is he?” Ren asked from behind.

“The Cryan is crushing the life out of him,” Neter replied without looking back to see who had spoken. “Quickly, we must move it!”

Ren turned toward the gathered bridge crew and said, “Help me lift the node.”

Three dusky figures moved in the ochre light of the battle lanterns, positioning themselves around the massive crystalline structure.

“Now! Lift!” Ren ordered as he strained against the mass of the device.

“It will not move,” a crew member grunted between gritted teeth.

“Try again,” Neter urged. “It must be moved!”

With a coordinated effort, the crew members strained against the mass of the node, but it refused to budge. As the men released their hold on the Cryan its full weight came back down on Temu and he groaned as bright blood foamed at the corners of his mouth.

“Bring a grav unit,” Ren ordered between heavy breaths.

“No, there isn’t time,” Neter said as she rose and turned toward the bulk of the Cryan unit. She had never moved such a weight before, but if she did not do so quickly, Temu would die. She tore off her battle armor, as well as the confining tunic beneath. Rising to her full height she lifted her arms above her head and filled her lungs with air, building up the oxygen reserves within her muscle tissue. The hammered silver half circle that was her personal symbol hung from a chain around her neck and fell between her breasts, catching the warm light of the battle lanterns.

After a half dozen deep breaths Neter bent her knees and, keeping her back straight, gripped an edge of the device. Exhaling slowly, she began to straighten her legs. The muscles across her shoulders and back corded into knots as she steadily increased the pressure. The great mass of the device refused to move. It was a dead weight crushing the life from Temu-san.

With mechanical precision Neter increased the strain on her muscles. A patina of sweat glistened across her bare back. Long moments passed and still she pulled against the stubborn mass of the Cryan. She closed her almond shaped eyes and concentrated her very soul on the task. Another long moment passed in silence, then something groaned and the massive unit shifted imperceptibly. Encouraged, she hissed softly through pursed lips and expended the last of her strength. Slowly, the node rose a few inches.

Ren quickly slid the Commander free and Neter let go. The Node fell heavily, crushing the raised semi-metallic plates of the bridge decking where Temu had been just moments before.

Temu coughed blood spasmodically as he clung to the last few moments of life.

Neter moved to his side and whispered, “Temu-san, what is your command?”

Temu’s blood smeared lips moved soundlessly as he tried to form the words.

Neter leaned forward and whispered softly into Temu’s ear. “I shall destroy the Ra. This I swear.”

 Return to the Table of Contents

Shu is available at
“The Imagination is Limitless”







GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction To The Armageddon

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue. What follows is the prologue to the novel, The Armageddon. This is Book 1 of the Continuum Series (preceeded by the prologue to the Continuum, “The Diva Incident.”  If you like old fashioned SciFi combined with cutting edge science, The Armageddon is for you.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the internet or a Web site without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.



Most major technological breakthroughs can be divided into two distinct events, the development of theory and the actual engineering of the invention. Typically, the lag time between theory and implementation is large and the development of superlight drive systems has been no exception. Although the basic theories were finalized by the beginning of the 25th century, it took more than 100 years to develop a fully working superlight drive.

The onset of the “Second Dark Ages,” as well as a failure to find a workable solution to refueling problems, restricted human planetary migrations to minor leap-frog movements between galaxies.

The recent acquisition of portions of the Hykonian historical record known as the Kojiki tells us they faced technological limitations and sociological set-backs similar to those experienced by humans. As a result, both races were effectively bottled up within the system of galaxies known as the Local Group.

Although the Local Group occupies a rather large area of space it contains a finite number of habitable planets and a meeting of the races was a virtual certainty. In 6700 A.D., this certainty became a reality when the competing races finally encountered each other on a small planet within the Andromeda Spiral.

Xenophobia and competing planetary requirements have been ascribed as the primary causative factors responsible for the resulting galactic war.

For those who are interested, the particulars of the initial Andromeda meeting are contained in an obscure volume, entitled, The Diva Incident, stored in the Archaic Section of the Fleet Command library.

Return to the Table of Contents

The Diva Incident is available at
“The Imagination is Limitless”

GORILLA REVIEW – Introduction To Kokoro

Rather than put together a traditional synopsis we like to introduce novels by quoting their prologue. What follows is the prologue to the novel, Kokoro.  If you like the mystery of the orient, combined with fiction interwoven with real history and a dose of martial arts thrown in for good measure, chances are you will enjoy, Kokoro.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or conveyed via the internet or a Web site without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.


Tokyo, Japan, February 10, 1986

 Junko followed the stretch Mercedes limo down off the elevated Narita expressway and merged with the crush of traffic on the surface streets of Shinjuku. She was a private investigator with a specialty in surveillance; an unusual profession for a female even in modern Japan. But then Junko was no ordinary woman. She was the only child of an ancient samurai family, and her father had raised her as though she were the son he never had.

Schooled in Europe, and taught to think for herself, Junko was neither submissive nor willing to abandon her own independent thought processes. As a result, she had been effectively “ruined” as a Japanese wife and, at the age of 28, she remained unmarried with no likely prospects on the horizon. But it didn’t matter to Junko. At the moment she was making her own way in a purely male-dominated society. Maybe someday, when it pleased her instead of the men around her, she would return to Europe and search for the husband she could not find in her own country.

Downshifting, Junko allowed a large truck to pull in between her and the limo she was following. She was keenly aware of her employer’s desire she not be detected and here, in the stop-and-go traffic of the city streets, there was a distinct possibility she might be noticed. So she hung back, following the limo from a distance, as the dark shadows of Shinjuku Central Park passed on her left. On the right, in strange counter point to the park’s darkness, shone the bright lights of greater Shinjuku.

Junko lit a Mild Seven cigarette and tried to relax. The video monitor mounted low on her dashboard gave a warm glow to the darkened interior of the small Nissan. The graphic display was an experimental map system being tested by some of the larger cab companies to ease the problems of driving in a city where the majority of the streets were unnamed and there were no systematic methods of addressing. The electronics were interesting and, on occasions like the present, Junko found the device to be useful.

The limo turned right onto Ohme-Kaido avenue and headed for the heart of the gaming district. Junko quickly snubbed out her cigarette and shifted the map display to show the streets ahead. In the past her quarry had demonstrated a penchant for the theater. Would he go there again tonight?

The big limo passed beneath the Chuo line overpass and onto Yasukuni-Dori Avenue, but instead of turning left toward the Koma theater, as she thought it might, it continued on a few blocks and turned right into the Isetan Kaikan store complex. Good, Junko smiled, we’re going to do something different.

The Mercedes stopped behind the huge department store and Junko pulled over to the curb a half block away to wait. Nothing happened, so she lit another Mild Seven and rolled down her window. With all of her concentration focused on her quarry Junko failed to see the dark figure that detached itself from the side of a nearby building and moved toward her car. In fact, she didn’t even feel the fist that slammed into the side of her head just above her right eye.

“What is your name!”

The voice filtered into Junko’s consciousness as she struggled to open her eyes. Something was seriously wrong. The right side of her face felt like it was on fire and her eye wouldn’t open.

“More water!” the voice commanded. “She’s coming around.”

A torrent of cold water struck Junko in the face. Shocked into awareness she opened her good eye and the dimly lit room spun sickeningly. She suddenly realized she was hanging by her hands from the ceiling.

“Wake up!” the same voice yelled.

Junko tried to focus on the speaker as he passed her field of vision. He was an extremely large man, big enough to be a sumo wrestler.

Someone grabbed Junko by the hips and stopped her slow spinning.

“Tie her feet together, I don’t want her kicking once we get started.” The voice came from a second man seated in a darkened corner of the room.

The big man grabbed Junko’s ankles, looped a heavy cord around them, then ran the cord through a ring in the floor beneath her feet. With a grunt he pulled the cord tight and Junko immediately felt an increase in the pain in her wrists. Glancing up with her good eye she saw she was hanging from an ancient bolt mounted in a ceiling beam.

The big man stepped back and surveyed his work. Satisfied, he grinned widely disclosing a collection of yellowed and broken teeth.

“What is your name?” the man in the corner shadows asked.

Junko disregarded the question and looked around the room. There were no windows, and the only light came from a single low-wattage bulb hanging from the ceiling almost directly above her. Except for the chair in which her questioner sat, there was no furniture and the only door appeared to be made of metal.

The big man stepped forward and looked directly into Junko’s good eye as if studying her.

The man seated in the shadows said, “I am going to ask you some questions and I expect them to be answered truthfully. When you do not answer a question, my assistant will cause you great pain. I must warn you, he is quite experienced at this, and I fear he enjoys his work.”

Junko blinked and tried to clear her vision.

“What is your name?” the questioner asked.

When Junko remained silent, the big man reached into his jacket and removed what looked like a large black cigarette case. He then opened it and held it so that she could see its contents. The case was filled with long gleaming needles.

“Like you I am a professional and I have an assignment to accomplish.” The questioner said as he struck a match to light a cigarette. “I have not been instructed to cause you pain, and therefore will do so only if you force me. Now, please tell me your true name.”

In the flare of the match Junko saw that the man was missing half of the little finger on his left hand.

When she didn’t answer, the questioner’s assistant selected a needle from his black case and set the case down on the floor. Then, with a surprisingly quick movement he tore away Junko’s skirt, exposing her legs. He studied the rippling muscles of her thighs for a moment before he grabbed her left leg just above the knee in a vise-like grip. The needle in his right hand was poised above the brown skin of her leg.

“Yamada,” Junko blurted out her cover name.

“Wrong,” the questioner sighed. “Your true name is Ishido, Junko Ishido, and you are employed by the Asahi Investigative Agency. “Please do not lie to us.”

The questioner nodded silently to his assistant and the big man slowly pushed the needle into Junko’s thigh. She endured the pain without expression until the tip of the metal instrument found the bone. The pain grew exponentially and Junko bit through her lower lip causing blood to run down her chin. Encouraged, the big man wiggled the needle causing its sharpened tip to scrape against the femur. Junko’s good eye teared, but she maintained her silence. Finally, the big man stepped back and picked up another needle.

“Very good, Junko,” the questioner said. “I am impressed. But sadly, in the end, your bravery will be wasted. No one knows you are here and we can do what we want with you, for as long as we want. Now please make it easy on yourself and give me the name of your client.”

Junko spit out blood that had accumulated in her mouth and shook her head in the negative. In her mind the fact that she was going to die was now a foregone conclusion. All that remained for her was , the performance of duty. To fail in her duty would only bring bad with her into the next life.

The questioner snubbed out his cigarette and nodded again to his assistant who approached with a second needle. As the big man worked, the questioner lit another cigarette and waited patiently as the agonized woman twisted and jerked in the ropes. Somehow Junko maintained her silence.

The big man stepped back and picked up another needle. He then wiped the sweat from his upper lip with a forearm. What had started out as an interesting bit of torture was quickly becoming unnerving work. The woman was far stronger than he had imagined, and she had unwittingly gained his respect. There was very little honor in what they were doing. He looked at his boss for direction.

Return to the Table of Contents
Kokoro is available at
“The Imagination is Limitless”

GORILLA REVIEW – Table of Contents

“The imagination is limitless”


Created in 2005, the Gorilla Review was originally intended to provide a forum for our book reviews, but since that time the work has expanded to include Introductions and Interviews.

This Table of Contents is hyperlinked into “Posts” which are stored somewhere on the internet as individual chapters, creating a virtual work which can be viewed from anywhere in the world as if its parts were all located on a single website.  If you see something you want to read just click on the hyperlink and you will be transported to the item.

Since nothing is ever completely finished this Table of Contents will change without notice to reflect additions and deletions to the body of work.  So check it periodically to see if anything has changed.


eBooks/iBooks have definitely arrived and are rapidly gaining popularity.  While they won’t be putting the printed word completely out of business any time soon, the handwritting is on the wall.

This section contains a couple of Posts on the subject of eReaders and eBooks which will hopefully help you understand this exciting variation on the printed word.

1. eReaders and eBooks/iBooks – An Introduction

2. eBooks/iBooks – Useful References


Rather than putting together a traditional synopsis, for some works where we have obtained permission of the author we like to introduce the novel by quoting the entirety of the Prologue. Gorilla Review Introductions should provide an interesting change of pace from the standard Book Review format.  We believe this type of approach was first adopted by Google books.

1. Introduction to Connect The Dots, A Glimpse Into The Middle East

2. Introduction to Kokoro

3. Introduction to The Diva Incident

4. Introduction to The Armageddon

5. Introduction to Shu


An eclectic collection of standard and/or not-so-standard book reviews. Usually book reviews amount to nothing more than teasors designed to either pan the work or to spark interest in it. Some of the Gorilla reviews fall within this description and others are closer to being a synopsis than a typical review. When we give you more than the standard amount of detail we will also give you a warning so we don’t ruin the story for you.  We personally hate it when someone tells us how the story ends.

1. Gorilla Review – BLOOD PRICE by Tanya Huff (very brief review)

2. Gorilla Review – THE BOOK OF THE DEAD by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

3. Gorilla Review – RENFIELD slave of dracula by Barbara Hambly

4. Gorilla Review – Preface To The Horus Heresy

5. Gorilla Review – Horus Rising – (Book One Of The Horus Heresy)

6. Gorilla Review – False Gods – (Book Two Of The Horus Heresy)

7. Gorilla Review – GENGHIS (Birth of an Empire) by Conn Iggulden


A. The backgrounds of selected authors with reference sites, if any, as well as descriptions of their body of work:

Wilbur Smith

B. Interviews with various authors and individuals of interest:

Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

1. Gorilla Review – Part 1, Francis Pennyworth, Jr. Interview

2. Gorilla Review – Part 2, Francis Pennyworth, Jr. Interview

3. Gorilla Review – Part 3, Francis Pennyworth, Jr. Interview


1. ElectricRead  A site where various novels by Steven A. Hall (both eBook and trade print formats) can be purchased.  The eBooks or iBooks are presented in ePub formats compatible with iPhone, iPads, Tablets, Computer and Android operating systems.

2. Lulu A site where where authors can self publish books, calendars, photo albums etc.  Works can be ordered as printed books and/or eBooks in either ePub or PDF format.

3. Goodreads  A website for book readers and authors alike.  Goodreads claims a massive audience of 11 million users.


1. MercurysPen

2. Digital Book Today

3. Jack Durish

4. The Masquerade Crew

5. Michael Rivers

6. The True Book Addict

7. Your Book Authors

8. Venture Galleries


Connect The Dots, A Glimpse Into The Middle East

Chapter 1, A Darkness Of The Soul

Chapter 2, The Darkness Spreads

Chapter 3, Islam

Chapter 4, Iran – The Land Of The Aryans

Chapter 5, The Revolutionary Guard Corps  (Pasdaran), Iran’s Thought Police

Chapter 6, The Party Of God

Chapter 7, Syria

Chapter 8, Hamas

Chapter 9, The Ba’th Party

Chapter 10, The Fifth Republic Movement – The Darkness Continues To Spread

Chapter 11, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – Mahdaviat

Chapter 12, Lebanon 2006 – 2007

Chapter 13, Two Frightening Concepts

Chapter 14, Trailing Dots

Chapter 15, Connecting The Dots


Persons of Interest


Exhibit 1

End Notes


1.  Common Sense by Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

Gun control and how we are failing to address the important issues.

2.  I Stole It – Now It’s Mine by Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

A discussion of the issues surrounding gun control and how, in a number of ways, the current approach the current approach defies common sense.

3.  Other People’s Money by Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

An opinion piece taking a cold hard look at the national debt and the government’s failue to deal with it.

4. Sequestration? by Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

A discussion of the sequestration mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.

5.  The Sarah Palin Incident – Political Ends and Personal Destruction by Francis Pennyworth, Jr.

A brief history of Governor Palin’s notoriety and the associated emergence of a meaner, counter-productive politics of personal destruction.


1.  Twitter Hashtags for authors.

A collection of useful twitter hastags for authors and readers.

2. Author Blogs

This is a collection of author blogs, some of them serve to promote only the author’s works, while others are part of an overall author “platform” and serve wider functions related to writing in general.  At a minimum this post should be an interesting if not useful reference.

If you have anyone to add let us know by Comment or email us at ElectricRead@gmail.com  Prior to writing this post we used #AuthorBlogs.  If you don’t see what you’re looking for here you might find it in Twitter under that hashtag.


♦   ♦   ♦

Additions to the Gorilla Review body of work will be reflected in this Table of Contents as they are published.

The works of Steven A. Hall are available at