I picked up The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd as part of a two-for-one deal that popped up when it was time to spend a credit. I’d never heard of this author before but was intrigued enough by the blurb and the sample that I knew immediately I had to get it.
This was some masterful storytelling. Slow burning, yet fast-paced when it needed to it. Trickles of details and hints of things to come expertly woven through it, drip-feeding bits of information, kept me hooked the entire time.
One thing I particularly noticed was how this story got my heart literally pounding in my chest as the first contact came to its dramatic climax. Everything that had led up to that point was brought to a boil and gave me goosebumps.
The first-person perspective of protagonist Andy telling his story to a dictaphone sucked me right in as if I were there witnessing it all live with Andy, Paul, and the military. I had an inkling at the start about why it was being told this way, and I was glad to be proven right as the story moved on.
The narrator, Matt Addis, has a voice I could listen to for hours at a time until the batteries in my earbuds died (which happened once or twice while listening to this – I couldn’t stop listening!). I’ll certainly be checking out what else he has narrated.
As for Luke Smitherd, I’ll also be checking out his back catalogue. I hadn’t noticed when I purchased this book that it was book 1 in a series. Book 2 is being released a few days after this review is published… and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
On the one hand – awesome, more from this world. Conversely, the story was so complete it’s hard to know if it’ll be spoiled somehow by the second. I guess I’ll need to think about that some more.
All in all, totally original story that kept me listening until my earbuds ran out of juice. Highly recommended.