DiscoverThriller & Suspense

The Slip - The Hero Concept Series (Book 1)

By Tom C Willoughby

Not for me 😔

An interesting premise and an unnatural partnership; a fun summer read with spies.

Synopsis

Mysterious illnesses borne by advanced technologies. The appearance of a unique entity. Can a CIA agent and her unusual new partner complete the mission that just might save the human race?

Sam has no memory of his past, no body of his own, only haunting dreams to offer clues to his existence. Propelled by a need for justice, Sam agrees to join the operation.

Julia Cacerek is one of the best the CIA has, but she likes to work alone. With no other options, Julia has to face her own demons to work with Sam and his extraordinary abilities. Backed by a specially assembled DARPA team, Julia and Sam must thwart this ultimate attack that threatens to devastate the nation… and cripple the world.

What does the existence of Sam, a being who has no memory of his own life, but who can ‘slip’ into a person and take over their body, mean for humanity? Is Sam evil? Or part of something much larger at play than anyone realizes?

Mysterious infections popping up all over America, and a team of smart but different scientists and experts working together to make sense of all of this. When a new member joins their team, the book takes an expected turn and we get a very peculiar partnership that may just be the solution to their problems.


My favourite part of this book was probably the psychological aspect, which I wish has been explored more, but I know there was more to the story than a scientific paper on multiple personalities. Still, I was captivated by this part of the book.


Other than that, this book was simply not my cup of tea. The pacing was a little bit weird - jumping from fast to slow and sometimes being all over the place. I was never a fan of describing the characters rather than building them - show don't tell is usually my favourite thing in a book and I like to form an opinion on the characters by how they interact and how they act, so the descriptions didn't work for me. Especially when the descriptions were on the same page - like presenting everyone in a room, it gets rather confusing and harder to keep track of who the characters are in later chapters.


That said, the intrigue of the book was captivating. I wanted to see how the mystery was going to unfold, especially because of the bizarre partnership between our main characters - Julia and Sam. Ah, Sam was probably the biggest mystery and he made the plot so much fun - but also nerve-wrecking as I wasn't sure how trustworthy he was.


In conclusion, if you are into spy books or action books with a mix of supernatural science fiction, then this is the perfect summer read for you. It was a fun read, but the pacing and the writing did not work for me.

Reviewed by

I'm Andreea, book lover raised in a library by my librarian aunt (and baby-sitter). Books are my favourite gifts to receive and I love to read pretty much everything from non-fiction to new adult, but my all time favourites are fantasy and science fiction.

Synopsis

Mysterious illnesses borne by advanced technologies. The appearance of a unique entity. Can a CIA agent and her unusual new partner complete the mission that just might save the human race?

Sam has no memory of his past, no body of his own, only haunting dreams to offer clues to his existence. Propelled by a need for justice, Sam agrees to join the operation.

Julia Cacerek is one of the best the CIA has, but she likes to work alone. With no other options, Julia has to face her own demons to work with Sam and his extraordinary abilities. Backed by a specially assembled DARPA team, Julia and Sam must thwart this ultimate attack that threatens to devastate the nation… and cripple the world.

What does the existence of Sam, a being who has no memory of his own life, but who can ‘slip’ into a person and take over their body, mean for humanity? Is Sam evil? Or part of something much larger at play than anyone realizes?

HE CAME TO WITH A start and stumbled backward, letting go of the shopping cart. The thick smell of excrement and decay filled his nose and slithered into his lungs. His stomach clenched in revulsion and he staggered farther away from the cart, but the stench followed. The overpowering odor tightened it’s grip, coiling around his stomach, immediately forcing the expulsion of its contents through his mouth and nose. The acidic smell of his stomach fluids was somehow an improvement and he sat heavily on the sidewalk, trying to recover. 

Through watery eyes, he took a moment to get his bearings. He had on tattered clothes and mismatched sneakers. Dirt was caked on his hands. Some of the vomit had found its way through the numerous holes in what looked like pajama pants and glued them to his skin.

Nothing made sense. He did not recognize what he was wearing, his surroundings or even his hands as he held them up for inspection. He had no recollection of anything. At all. It was as if he didn’t exist and then he did.

A hum of voices suddenly filled his head. Millions of thoughts intertwining into a flowing river of ideas, discussions and comments. He felt strangely calmed by the susurrations and reached out naturally with his mind to join in. As quickly as they came they disappeared, replaced by a desolate loneliness. That felt like a memory. But a memory of what? 

He heard the sound of an approaching vehicle and looked up. The image of a hovering ship entered his mind. The vehicle approached, rolling down the street on four wheels and his brain struggled to coalesce the image in his mind with the reality of what he saw. Then the image was gone and he watched the car drive past. He tried to bring the hovering ship back in his mind but it was gone. Like the memory of a dream after waking, he was left only with its impression; the knowledge that it had been there but a complete inability to recall it.

What were the voices in his head and the images of flying cars? Why didn’t he recognize himself? Tendrils of panic began surfacing throughout his body. The only thing holding them at bay were the continuing desperate pangs of loneliness. The loneliness felt familiar, and while bottomless and unbearable, provided an anchor point and he grabbed hold. 

Pussy! Get the fuck out of the way! An angry voice snarled in his head. He suddenly felt his consciousness being torn away from the physical exterior of his body. He was compressed into darkness. His face was a mask he no longer wore. His view of the world had receded a distance from the mask’s oval eye cutouts. Someone else took control of his body. The octopus of panic thrashed back to life. He was no longer connected to the physical. He flailed helplessly, spinning weightless in the darkness.

Who do you think you are? I’m in control here! I’m the boss! The angry voice became violent. He sensed his body moving with harmful intent but he had now lost his view to the world, seeing only darkness. But it wasn’t complete darkness. His existence had come to some sort of equilibrium and he forced the panic back. There was a light source behind him. He was able to rotate his essence. The cutouts in the mask were still there he had just spun away in his panic.

He was a passenger now in his own body. He watched through the windows of his dark room as he pulled a long blade from the shopping cart.

He could feel his mouth pull into a tight grin.

About the author

Tom Willoughby grew up in Hong Kong. He received a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at Washington University in St Louis. Tom has been a business owner and a landlord. He currently lives in Oak Park with his wonderful family. view profile

Published on August 02, 2019

70000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Thriller & suspense

Reviewed by

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.

or

Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account