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Deadfall
by Robert Liparulo

Reviewed by Vennessa Ng

"...a fast paced, action thriller which combines gaming and military technology into a storyline that will have readers enthralled from start to finish."

Walk into a computer store, check out the software department, and what do you find?

Shelf upon shelf of computer games.

And it’s not just computer stores. With PlayStation, Xbox, and a range of other devices, gaming has become a huge part of today’s culture. Browse the shelves long enough and you will find games aimed at pre-school age right through to adults.

If you think gaming is regulated to a form of entertainment, you’d be mistaken. The US Military view life-like games and simulators vital in the training of new recruits and also regard video games as a way to interest teenagers into enlisting.

With some video games also being attributed to the increase in teen violence, it stands to reason a novel would soon surface looking at the reach of today’s gaming.

Deadfall, Robert Liparulo’s latest release, is a fast paced, action thriller which combines gaming and military technology into a storyline that will have readers enthralled from start to finish.

Fiddler Falls, population 242, is about as remote as towns get. Situated in the Canadian far north, the town has no mobile phone service, landlines, cable or satellite television, or Internet. Satellite phones provide the only form of communication to the outside world. During Fall, rain makes roads impassable and isolates the town, making it the ideal spot for those who simply want to get away from it all—and those looking for a place to test a top secret weapon.

Lead by Declan Page, six visitors arrive in Fiddler Falls, bringing with them a terror unlike any the town has seen before. Intent on proving that the future of warfare lies in the technology of video games, Declan brings with him “Slacker” (SLCR), a control unit for a top secret weapon created by his father’s company. Declan and his group, largely made up of teens, use the town and surrounding area to test SLCR’s capabilities, as well as shoot real life footage for a new video game set to take gaming to the next level. Declan only has one rule. Leave no witnesses.

When John Hutchison, known as Hutch, and his three closest friends needed a vacation, Hutch planned a hunting trip in the Canadian wilderness. Four men, nature, and ten days of seclusion to decompress. On the first morning, keen to hunt caribou and bring back meat for his friends, Hutch sets out. Soon the hunter becomes the hunted.

A deadly game of cat and mouse begins as Hutch races to save innocent lives and remain out of the sight of an eye in the sky.

An explosive read, Deadfall will blast holes in any action fanatics sleep pattern. Intent on only reading a chapter or two each night, I often found myself struggling to keep my eyes open many hours and many chapters later.

Although more tightly written, Deadfall lacks the storyline complexity Robert’s previous two releases contained. Reader enjoyment is carried throughout the story by hard and fast action and well developed characters. Robert also refrains from using gory descriptions as he did in Comes A Horseman and Germ, thus leaving more to the imagination, which may suit many readers.

As well as pleasing Liparulo’s existing fan base, Deadfall is bound to attract new action thriller seekers to his readership.

Vennessa NgVennessa Ng lives in New Zealand with her husband and three children. As an avid reader with a passion for Christian worldview fiction, she works to help authors improve their craft through her freelance editing service, Aotearoa Editorial Services (www.aotearoaeditorial.com), and helps publicize books and authors via her review site, Illuminating Fiction (www.illuminatingfiction.com). She has also reviewed for Focus On Fiction, Infuze Magazine, Novel Reviews, 1340 Magazine, and now TitleTrakk. In her spare time she pursues her own passion for writing and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.