Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Seed of Doubt

About the book:
Caught in a murderous nightmare, businessman-turned-fugitive Connor Bryce flees across the country in a desperate attempt to evade the police, leaving his wife and son behind. With detectives in hot pursuit, Connor must try to clear his name and uncover the truth. But with a war waging in his mind, he grapples with the realization that the impossible may actually be true: there is a battle for his mind. When temptations get blurred, there are no winners.

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I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Everyone has wished for something that he/she really didn't mean. Driving home from work, you might wish for a cop to pull over the rude driver that cut you off and is now driving erratically down the street (or for that driver to get into an accident). Or you might wish for something to happen to a coworker who just beat you out of a job promotion. Luckily, these things are only errant thoughts and secret wishes. In Robert C. Milton's book, Seed of Doubt, Milton creates a unique story where sometimes what you secretly desire can have unforeseen consequences.

Milton's storyline is original and refreshing. I expected this book to be your run-of-the-mill murder mystery. What I read was a pleasant surprise. There's no way I would have predicted the outcome of this book. Readers know that Bryce didn't show up at Jansen's house and kill him. Later, when he's accused of other crimes, readers know that he didn't actually do them. However, the author implies that there is a chance that his character did in fact commit these wrongs. Is it possible for someone to be innocent and guilty at the same time? In Milton's world, the answer is "yes". How is that possible? Well, you have to read the book to find out!

The writing style is natural and has the perfect mix of dialogue and description. The flow of the story is like a rollercoaster. Readers hold their breathes to see how long Bryce can evade police. Every time the police get close, you wonder, 'How is he going to get out of this?' The story quickly draws readers in and keeps their attention.

The book is very realistic. After reading it a couple nights right before going to sleep, I realized that I couldn't do that every night. I would plan to read for 10 minutes before going to bed. I'd pick up the book and read until Bryce reached a "safe point" in the story. Then I'd look at the clock and way more than 10 minutes had passed. I'd put the book away, but because you can really feel Connor's emotions--the anxiety, pressure, and feelings of being trapped--my heart rate would be elevated. I had to calm myself down before I could relax and go to sleep. Good stories tend to do that--make time disappear and let you experience another person's/character's emotions.

The story incorporates multiple points of view. Since the story entwines many characters' lives, it was smart of Milton to set the story up this way. You have Connor, the police, Connor's wife, and the Mims all with important parts to play. Readers are able to see their thoughts and motives. The depth of each character helps to make all of them feel authentic.

Connor Bryce is very frustrating in this book. At first he runs from police. Stupid man! (But then, I don't know what I'd do if I were in his shoes, so I let him off the hook.) I liked how he told his wife goodbye. Sweet man! He keeps evading police when they catch up with him. Smart man and stupid man! He starts doubting himself and believing that he actually did the things he was accused of doing. Crazy man! Then he mentally beats himself up over all of his actions and poor judgment. Harsh man! Needless to say, I felt a range of emotions for this character. Readers will be able to relate to what he goes through. After all, we have all been guilty of thinking things we'd never admit or take action on. I think he needs to show himself a bit of grace and forgiveness.

This story can be enjoyed by men or women. It has elements of suspense, action, and drama. It also has spiritual undertones to it. The religious aspects don't come across as being "preachy", but it will make readers think. It will definitely stick with readers and have them thinking about it long after the finish it.

Honestly, the first 2/3 of the book are good. The last 1/3 of the book is where it gets even better. Milton decides to give readers some theories or explanations of what is going on. The explanations are difficult for the detectives to accept, and they might be for readers too. These theories are what helps to set this book apart from other mystery books. It's also what readers will remember.

Milton provides a complete storyline that will leave readers satisfied. There are a few very minor details that I wish he would have addressed in the book. First, what happened to Trace Lasser? What are the consequences of his actions? Second, how was it possible that Connor was able to do what he did?  And third, did Connor ever do those things again?

All in all, this is an impressive piece of work from a debut author. It is one that I'd definitely recommend if you want something that will get your heart pounding and your mind racing.

About author Robert C. Milton:
A poet at heart, and influenced by the writings of Stephen Crane and C.S. Lewis, Robert Milton sheds light on the struggles of man in his debut novel, Seed of Doubt.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, he graduated from Trevecca Nazarene University where he studied Science and Psychology. His poetry book, The Gray in Between, was self-published in 2006. Since then, he’s written two novels and is currently working on his third. An outdoor lover, he enjoys spending time hiking, fishing, and relaxing with friends and family. Robert and his wife, Lorrie Beth, currently reside in Birmingham, Alabama with their two dogs, Joey and Cooper.

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