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review 2018-08-15 19:39
Unidentified by Michael McBride Audio Review
Unidentified - Michael McBride,Joe Hempel

This is a brief little novella that runs a little over 2 hours on audio. It’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Joe Hempel, who helps the story leap off the pages. He also never grates on my last nerve like some narrators do. His pace is on the slower side and it draws you into the chilling atmosphere of the story and his performance of the characters sounds natural. If you like audio and scary tales, this is a really good one. 

40 years ago a group of teens stumbled across something terrible in the aftermath of crop circles, missing teens and animal mutilations. They woke without memories of the events that cost them a friend but now that another child has gone missing and one of them writes a chilling email saying only “I remember everything”, they reunite to start digging into the past and end whatever it is from tormenting their hometown once and for all. 

Since this is such a short story I don’t have a lot to say about it. It left me guessing and I loved the bleak threads running throughout it and if you listen to the author notes at the end, and you should, you might be a little terrified of the sky!


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review 2018-04-08 00:00
Forsaken - Michael McBride Forsaken - Michael McBride Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration. If that affected my review, I would have given it a 5 star, wouldn't have I?

Michael McBride writes kick-ass, non-stop action with the best of them. Forsaken is a book that demands your attention from the moment the first death happens and doesn’t let up until it’s over. The scene near the end in FOB Atlantis had me glued to the page. The scenes in Teotihuacan weren’t quite as run for your lives feeling but were still tense and interesting.

Forsaken picks up soon after Subhuman ends, and all the remaining characters (as far as I remember) come back for their second act.   This is a smooth continuation of the story that takes us through an arc that leaves you feeling completely committed to reading the third book. It’s obvious the author knows what the end game for this storyline is going to be, and it’s going to be a doozy.

I don’t believe Forsaken would function well as a stand-alone novel. Technically you could read it without reading Subhuman, but you would be missing out. The two novels are just too closely related to read the second without reading the first.

The only problem I have with Forsaken is that there are too many characters, and those characters are too flat to make an impression. I had problems keeping all of them straight in the first book. It didn’t get any better in the second book. (Maybe if I had read them back to back, but with a few months in between them… not so much.) While McBride is excellent at describing the locations, the action, etc, it is the human aspect that is lacking.  Even one day after finishing the book, I must really think to remember most of the characters names.

The Unit 51 novels are thrillers with a heavy dose of horror and some science fiction. If you’re looking for something to replace the cookie-cutter Sigma Force novels of James Rollins, I recommend trying this series out.

Overall, while I can’t say I liked Forsaken quite as much as I liked Subhuman, I still enjoyed it. There weren’t as many one-liners to enjoy in this book. It had a much more serious, straight-forward feel to it. That isn’t a bad thing, it’s just something to note if you enjoyed that aspect of the first book. This one gets the ball rolling on the action a lot quicker than in the first book. It’s a solid, enjoyable read, and a good follow-up to Subhuman.

I can’t wait to see where he lands with the third book. And I do have to read the third book!

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review 2017-10-23 02:07
Blanky - Kealon Patrick Burke
Subhuman (A Unit 51 Novel) - Michael McBride

Steve doesn't think his life can get any worse. His nine-month-old baby girl mysteriously dies in her crib. His grief stricken wife, Lexi, can't bear to be around Steve and the house where their daughter died. So, she moves back in with her parents, leaving Steve all alone to face the misery by himself. Then the mysterious baby blanket shows up out of the blue. Where did that come from? Didn't that become lost when they were clearing their daughter's room of all the belongings? What is going on? Are we starting to see a man's frayed ends of sanity?



Blanky is a boot kick to the solar plexus as the reader sucks wind, trying to find respite from Steve's all-encompassing world of grief. The thought of losing your only child, just as their life got started, is a parent's worst nightmare. To have to go through that grief alone would be hell on earth. Burke doesn't let up. He provides what looks like an escape hatch for our protagonist and then promptly smashes his fingers with the lid when he tries to use it as an exit. Another thing that I'm impressed with is Kealon's word choice throughout the story. He flexes his wordsmith muscle without coming across as frivolous or arrogant. A dark, disturbing story that was perfect with Halloween around the corner.




5 Hidden Baby Teeth out of 5



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review 2017-10-20 20:00
Complicated Scientific outing that evolves into Alien
Subhuman (A Unit 51 Novel) - Michael McBride

Where oh where do I start writing a review of a book that has been enjoyed by so many of my peers and yet I would honestly say it was the worst book I have read this year. How can some love a book so much and yet others find it impossible to see within its content any merit whatsoever? The story (i think!) involves a discovery made in Antarctica, a pyramid enclosed with bones and an odd shaped "cone" skull that spoke of an ancient people who inhabited our planet many many moons ago. From all corners of our present world a number of great minds are called to Antarctica to use their expertise and knowledge of this cone headed  species having unearthed a few of the said skulls at their own particular digs/excavations....


This book falls somewhere between Michael Crichton, Scott Sigler with a touch of The Thing (Kurt Russell 1982 version) and without a doubt shades of Alien...remember that scene when Sigourney Weaver gets up close and personal with the alien in Alien 3...."Its cranium was elongated and the flesh of its scalp torn. Its eyes bulged from their sockets to such a degree that its lids had to remain mostly closed to contain them. The veins had rupture, causing a skein of blood to form on the surface, so thick it was nearly black"..... This quote is from Subhuman but everything about it speaks Alien to me, we have the crew of the good ship "Nostromo" being selected individually and savaged  by an organism and in one horrific scene attaches itself inside the body of John Hurt. Now in our story a species or micro-organism referred to as "archaea" is "able to infest and subsume the bodies of these men."....I remember so vividly slime and blood dripping from the alien as one by one Ripley's (Weaver) crew are destroyed....now this quote from Subhuman, reads like something from Alien...."Something warm and wet struck his cheek. He slowly raised his eyes toward the ceiling, and the open vent directly overhead. Another drop streaked from the edge of the duct and struck the ground in front of him.".....


The first half of the book is so riddled with scientific jargon to the point of boredom and it is only when finally I am able to translate this technical vernacular that the theme begins to make  sense. This new alien archaea/organism is able to communicate by using sound waves that are projected through water. This creates a ripple/shape effect similar to the "crop circle" mystery where strange patterns appeared overnight in fields of cereal crops and many believed were the work of aliens who were trying to make contact. Therefore it follows in Subhuman that the sound/wave ripples is an attempt to communicate.


Now at this point if you are thoroughly confused by my review then Subhuman is not the book for you but equally if you enjoy a story technically filled with senseless jargon (think Tom Clancy merged with Stephen Hawking) then you are in for a treat. My only regret was that the predator in Subhuman was not quite as successful in his kill rate as the alien that Officer Ripley encountered on the good ship Nostromo. Many thanks to the good people of netgalley for a gratis copy in exchange for an honest review and that is what I have written. A free reading copy will never stop me writing a truthful review and to me as a reader/reviewer if the book is not to my taste I will certainly voice my opinion, otherwise what is the point?

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review 2017-09-23 00:00
Subhuman (A Unit 51 Novel)
Subhuman (A Unit 51 Novel) - Michael McBride Michael McBride knows how to write a good thriller. His horror isn’t too shabby either! Subhuman was a delight to read. McBride’s style brings to mind both James Rollins and Michael Crichton. He did a great job at mixing reality and fiction, to the point that I had to keep my phone on hand to ascertain which was which at times! (Yes, I’m one of those people who looks up stuff authors mention in books to see if it’s real or not.) He was able to easily sell his story to me. Anyone who has spent any time watching Ancient Aliens – I didn’t say believed! Just watched! – or any of those type of programs will be familiar with some of the odd stuff from our history that we can’t quite explain. I enjoyed how he took those familiar elements and made his own story from them.

Pretty much the only problem I had with Subhuman was the sheer amount of characters and the flipping of viewpoints between them. The plot unfolds through the eyes of several characters, alternating every chapter. I got a few of the characters confused pretty consistently as a result, and found myself frequently glancing back at the first six or so chapters in Subhuman to remind myself who was who. Didn’t stop me from enjoying the story, though!

Subhuman is well paced. While it is one of those books where the first half of it is primarily spent in build-up, it doesn’t feel like it. I never got bored or anxious for the story to move along. I was intrigued with the bits and pieces the author slowly fed me. Then, when the feces did start hitting the fan, I was quite happy to shift gears and let the horror hound in me out to play. Subhuman delivers a near perfect mix of thrills and gore and is almost impossible to put down.

The author also has a way of slipping in one-liners that will leave you giggling,

“Not bad for a four-eyed girl from Scranton, whose first archaeological dig was in a sandbox that produced what other kids convinced her was a piece of chocolate.”

or sometimes just describing things so perfectly that you couldn’t help but laugh.

“There were men who took their responsibilities seriously, and then there was Dale, who seemed to spend every waking moment averting life-and-death catastrophes, if only in his mind.”

It’s not all witty wordplay, though. He knows how to make you stop and think,

“Seemingly overnight, modern man’s Simian shelf vanished and his sloping forehead gave way to an upright frontal bone about doubled in size to accommodate a brain twice the size of those of any other hominin species, and yet somehow it has miraculously remained the same size for more than 20,000 years.”

and there’s also some very snarky (and disturbingly apt feeling) observations on current society.
“I know how old-school this must seem, but the world’s been too busy uploading porn and cat pictures on the internet to waste any time digitizing old scientific texts and articles that are only of interest to the few of us left who can actually read.”

Overall, Subhuman was a fun read that will keep you fully engaged and leave your mind lingering on the possibilities after the book is over. It’s the first book in the Unit 51 series, so prepare to settle in and get comfortable with these characters. The only thing that I worry about (and you can tell I’m thinking long-term here) is that the author will fall into the Rollins’ type trap where after a while all of the books in the series start to feel exactly the same. I hope he can avoid that, because I want more. Now, please!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration.
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