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If Not for the Dawn | [Dane St. John]

If Not for the Dawn

AltaMira Pharmaceuticals releases Vigorex, a drug that allows people to sleep and experience R.E.M. while they're awake. A colorful cast of characters begin to take the drug, which if not taken properly will have hazardous consequences. But each of these people has undergone a deeply traumatic episode in their formative years, which will affect them in differing ways; murder, arson, kidnapping, vigilantism, among other crimes, will characterize their nightly personalities and send them crashing into one another.
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Publisher's Summary

Eight people are on a perilous collision course in a world that never sleeps. Their individual journeys are the culmination of a leading neurosurgeon’s herculean efforts - 10 years before - to save his dying wife’s life. His research results in a chance discovery that will later completely alter society when AltaMira Pharmaceuticals releases Vigorex, the most explosive drug in a century, one that manipulates nucleotides in the human mind in a way that allows people to sleep and experience R.E.M. while they're awake.

As the story unfolds, a colorful cast of characters begin to take the drug, which if not taken properly will have hazardous consequences. But each of these people has undergone a deeply traumatic episode in their formative years, which will affect them in differing ways; murder, arson, kidnapping, vigilantism, among other crimes, will characterize their nightly personalities and send them crashing into one another.

©2012 Dane St. John (P)2013 Cherry Hill Publishing

What the Critics Say

"It takes the skillful work of a brilliant new author to sustain the suspense of a truly engaging narrative. You will find in these pages a staggeringly sober, meticulously researched and captivating chronicle of a gritty underworld reality. Following the lineage of influential narco-thrillers (e.g. A Scanner Darkly, Strange Days, and Limitless), St. John creates an architectural masterpiece in the convincing construction of a comprehensively systematic landscape of socio-psychological drama, the harsh reality of which is so recognizably human that it speaks authentically to the most deeply-rooted shadows and fears of our inner selves. While his prose is infused with rich language, imagery and metaphors - a true poetic testament to great literature - the incessant unfolding of the almost obsessively scripted suspense drives the reader onward into an entirely consuming cinematic journey. This is contemporary storytelling at its finest." (Lisa Marie Quillinan)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (86 )
5 star
 (19)
4 star
 (23)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.4 (79 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.6 (78 )
5 star
 (27)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
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  •  
    Maika SEATTLE, WA, United States 06-17-13
    Maika SEATTLE, WA, United States 06-17-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Captivating... you'll stay up late listening!"

    If Not For The Dawn is a captivating psychological thriller that takes you on a journey through eight seemingly unrelated lives, the dark place they each retreat to because of their own individual hardships, the refuge they find in this 'miracle drug', and the hypnotic collision that follows when their lives intersect in a surprising climax. St. John's characters are beautifully developed and are brought to life through his artful prose, his colorful imagery and his imaginative story telling. This is one of those books you are dying to know what happens next but you don't want to end. It's a favorite, in print and on audible.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Sausalito, CA, United States 06-15-13
    David Sausalito, CA, United States 06-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Character driven masterpiece!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of If Not for the Dawn to be better than the print version?

    Don't know, I haven't read the printed version but David DeBoy did a damn good job with the narration.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    Absolutely, it took a few hours to introduce the characters but man, did the story take off!!


    What does David DeBoy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Yes, as I previously stated DeBoy did an excellent job bringing the many characters to life. I think I would definitely enjoy the audible version over print. DeBoy is very good with the Latino accents.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, I had an extreme reaction and I still am- I've been walking the streets every night trying to score vigorex!! If there are any AltaMira Pharmaceutical employees out there let's HOOK UP!!!


    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to over 70 books this year and this is the best book I've heard so far. Give it a shot!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Josh Seattle 06-11-13
    Josh Seattle 06-11-13

    colonist7

    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
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    3
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    Story
    "Stunning"
    If you could sum up If Not for the Dawn in three words, what would they be?

    Well-crafted
    Character-driven
    Intriguing


    What did you like best about this story?

    St. John creates a new reality that is almost frightening in its plausibility. LA is grittier, and darker, despite being constantly bathed in light. Neighborhoods like Watts, even more cut-wrenchingly, dragged down by a drug that is turning people into shells of themselves. Not only is this new world painstakingly portrayed, but each character is developed to be incredibly human. Those you envision as the good guys, have their flaws; and the bad guys, their redeeming qualities. Not everyone is what they seem.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Definitely the warehouse scene at the end! Wow!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Mia's piano scenes were emotionally powerful and intricately explained. I understood her very well.


    Any additional comments?

    The author does a phenomenal job of creating real people that you want to know, to understand, and to hope for. Each has their own story line that draws you in; each twists and turns in ways that are shocking and enthralling. The book also raises interesting questions about life, death, medicine, and morality. The drug the storyline revolves around is a creation of the author, but he clearly did his research (and I work in the pharmaceutical industry). He presents the science in a way that it contributes to the story and is understandable to anyone. In fact it is this science that will raise those questions I mentioned in the minds of the reader. Admittedly, I don't read or listen to a lot of modern fiction, usually preferring Dumas, Faulkner, and Austen. Often I take in a chapter of a modern work of fiction and put it aside because I am unengaged by the poor writing, lack of compelling characters, and implausible story lines; this book has none of these issues. In fact the way St. John adjusts his perspective from character to character is a bit like Faulker's approach to As I Lay Dying and the way his characters choices make you cringe reminiscent of Dumas. He is amazing in his ability to invoke empathy and really get inside the psyches of a quite diverse cast of characters. I can't help but thinking how easily it could transition to big or small screen, selfishly because I would love to see these characters and this world come to life. I applaud this amazing book and encourage everyone to read or listen to it and think about the questions it raises and its implications for choices we are all making right now. And thank you to the author for bringing around a well-crafted work of fiction in a time when so many books are empty throw aways. Truly, thank you!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 07-14-13
    Michael G. Kurilla ROCKVILLE, MD, United States 07-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth losing sleep over"

    Dane St John has crafted a well written tale of the unintended consequences of sleep elimination. In a present day world, a drug, Vigorex, has been developed that eliminates the biological need for sleep. Due to the drug's popularity, an illicit drug trade flourishes as well. Multiple seemingly independent characters are followed with a slow and gradual coalescing of their interactions. Attention is focused on each character that creates a genuine sense of intimacy and identification. The writing is sharp and extremely literary in style.

    The sci-fi elements are limited solely to the drug itself and the science underlying its basis which is reasonable. The only detriment to the story is the large infodump quite near the end that fills in and ties together some critical background information, but interrupts overall flow. In addition, the author displays a lack of or simply ignores fundamental understanding of how the FDA and academic medicine operate. In other words, it's unlikely that a police officer would be the first to divine the drug's side effects.

    The narration is remarkable with a great range of voices, both gender and ethnic. Pacing is excellent and the tone and mood of the narrator matches the story.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sue murfreesboro, TN, United States 06-11-13
    sue murfreesboro, TN, United States 06-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jake Paris, THE MAN! WOW !"

    What a psychological thriller...always twists and turns...but the best is how this author makes you feel like you are actually part of the story and one of the characters...can't wait for the next JAKE PARIS !!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 08-14-13
    Matthew SEATTLE, WA, United States 08-14-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "I feel a headache coming on...."
    If you could sum up If Not for the Dawn in three words, what would they be?

    Complex. Sprawling. Frightening.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Wow. Difficult question. This book is at once messy, as well as important in many ways. The concepts ( saving time ) are very real, as is the idea of using drugs to "improve efficency".

    To improve the story? Perhaps bringing the characters together sooner, and showing us a clearer roadmap to a resolution earlier. On balance, this is a well crafted story however.


    What about David DeBoy’s performance did you like?

    David had enough room to bring each charcter to life, and he did so with aplomb. In fact, our hero was likely the least well developed of all the main charcters.

    Accents, tone and timing were excellent. I am becoming a fan of this performer, and this is book showcasing his growing skills well.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    How to create time.


    Any additional comments?

    The reviewers raves on this book pulled me to it, and , for the most part, I was as taken as they were. It loses the track at points, and the resolve is somewhat murky ( a sequel pending? ) but the concept, and execution, are well worth the credit.

    I am too tired to continue writing now however . ;-)

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ComicGurlGeek Roswell, GA, United States 08-16-13
    ComicGurlGeek Roswell, GA, United States 08-16-13

    wheee

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting"

    Really interesting premise, and enough action to pull through to the end. But ultimately the characters and the contrived way their stories intersected to prove a point failed to impress me.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Victoria, TX, United States 06-29-13
    Ryan Victoria, TX, United States 06-29-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Did not want it to end"
    What did you like about this audiobook?

    I loved the characters. Especially , Jake-the detective and Mia-the blind girl


    Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

    I loved that it switched through the life and view point of different characters like you were hearing different stories that all related to the same subject matter-no time to tire or a specific character and how they all came together at the end.


    What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

    Nothing! I loved the narrator


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy L. Goos Akron, Ohio 06-27-13
    Tracy L. Goos Akron, Ohio 06-27-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    1
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    "A good listen."
    Would you consider the audio edition of If Not for the Dawn to be better than the print version?

    Being partially blind I rely on audiobooks.


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was interesting and well developed.


    What does David DeBoy bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A good reader is crucial to an audiobook especially fiction.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It kept me interested and listening.


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward to listening to more titles by Dane St John.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erica United States 08-11-13
    Erica United States 08-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    52
    ratings
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    17
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    5
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    "Wow, there was a lot going on!"

    I had mixed emotions about this one. There was just so much going on. For an audiobook it almost seemed like there were too many characters to keep up with. In a paperback it would have been easier to keep up with them all, however, the characters really didn't have any depth and layers so other than keeping them straight it wouldn't have made too much of a difference. I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters and truly believed I didn't really care what happened to any of them. I believed that until the end when I realized YOU DON'T FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO THE ALL THE CHARACTERS!!! The concept was really well thought out and very interesting and had there been one main character I think it would have come out a lot better. It is apparent what the author was trying to do and the idea was great but I just couldn't get that into it. I think others could though. It wasn't a bad book, it was well written, the topic was interesting, it just simply had too much going on.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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