In R. J. Pineiro's The Fall, a sci-fi thriller, a man jumps from the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere and vanishes, ending up on an alternate Earth where he died five years earlier.
Jack Taylor has always been an adrenaline junkie. As a federal contractor, he does dangerous jobs for the government that fall out of the realm of the SEALS and the marines. And this next job is right up his alley. Jack has been assigned to test an orbital jump, and if it works, the United States government will have a new strategy against enemy countries.
Despite Jack's soaring career, his personal life is in shambles. He and his wife, Angela, are both workaholics and are on the verge of getting a divorce. But the night before his jump, Jack and Angela begin to rekindle their romance, and their relationship holds promise for repair. Then comes the day of Jack's big jump. He doesn't burn up like some predicted - instead he hits the speed of sound and disappears.
Jack wakes up in an alternate universe. One where he died during a mission five years earlier and where Angela is still madly in love with him. But in this world, his boss, Pete, has turned to the dark side and is working against him, and the government is now on his tail. Jack must return to his own world, but the only way for him to do that is to perform another orbital jump. This time is more difficult, though - no one wants to see him go.
Jack's adrenaline is contagious - The Fall will keep listeners on the edges of their seats, waiting to find out what crazy stunt Jack will perform next and to learn the fate of this charming daredevil hero.
©2015 R. J. Pineiro (P)2015 Macmillan Audio
If you like science fiction that leaves out most of the science in favor of mysterious new elements that have amazing powers, and action/adventure stories where the principle character always wins, always knows what to do and is always fully prepared to do it, against evil bastards who apparently control entire governments for their own self-gratification and nefarious purposes, then this book is for you. As just one example of how thin the plausibility factor is, I could accept a hand strike to the neck putting someone out for a few minutes, once perhaps, if done precisely in just the right circumstances with just the right victim. But after about a dozen times knocking adversaries out for indefinite periods of time, with the move performed flawlessly again and again, sometimes in combat, the whole invincible-former-Navy-SEAL thing became rather ridiculous.
To go hand-in-hand with the shallow story line the narration is equally weak. I really hate to knock narrators because the job has to be a tough one and listening to narration is such a subjective experience. But the narrator has no range of voices whatsoever, at least not in this book. The only real distinction between characters is the pitch of his voice and many of them sounded exactly the same. It got rather monotonous when two or three people were having a conversation and they all sounded alike. And he has a sort of imperious, clipped and mater-of-fact delivery that, coupled with the main character's invincibility tends to get annoying after a few hours.
I bought the book the day it came out because the description sounded somewhat unique and interesting. And I managed to get through it, barely. But I wouldn't recommend wasting a credit on it.
Jack Taylor makes a suborbital jump from 60 miles above earth, in the upper-most reaches of the atmosphere and vanishes; ending up on an alternate Earth where he died five years earlier. Each world has a version of his wife, Angela, and his best friend, Pete; the story alternates between worlds while following Jack in his effort to get back to his own universe.
Felix Baumgartner made a suborbital jump from 24 miles above the ground in October 2012; facts like this are utilized by the author to make the story feel realistic. Pineiro gives details that help the reader visualize and feel like they are in the moment. In the beginning some of the character descriptions were a bit frustrating to me, but once I got past that it, it was smooth sailing.
The story can be loosely compared to a TV show like “Fringe” with a bit of Liam Neeson’s character from “Taken”. There were a few times in the recording that had some mouth noises, or irregular pauses, but not enough to retract from the story.
I was captivated by the book, I didn’t want to stop listening, and when I did, I would hypothesize about what would happen next. I suggest you take the fall with Jack Taylor into this fast-paced and realistic sci-fi thriller.
Every now and then, I like to take a chance on a book that I haven’t heard anything about. I’ll admit that cover shopping can play a big part of this. It’s probably what made me pick up R. J. Piniero’s The Fall. That and the tagline that read something like: “A man takes a jump from a weather balloon only to end up on another Earth where he’s been dead for five years.” Ok, probably not the premise of high brow literature, but hey, it does sound like fun.
I don’t know if it’s me, but I keep pulling up parallel dimensional travel books a lot lately. It’s definitely in vogue right now. And where it used to be confined mainly to space stories involving intergalactic anomalies like ST:TNG’s “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” now it seems like they happen in science fiction more and more on Earth. This probably says something about how self-absorbed we are with ourselves, or maybe it’s just to tell stories that are relatable. Either way, the dimensional travel aspect of this book is fairly basic and is really just a so-so plot device to create tension.
Jack Taylor, ex-Navy SEAL, is one of those “I can do anything” military MacGyver supermen that parade through throw-away action novels. He’s got some relationship troubles (so he’s not actually Superman); but all in all, he does whatever he wants however he wants. When confronted with his alternate Earth, he’s momentarily confused that this America uses the metric system, but ultimately he adapts in about a half hour to his surroundings. His brilliant wife – who happens to be part hacker, part biker chick while actually the lead scientist on big NASA projects – has her own adventures against a power obsessed general who is basically a one man Illuminati. Together this typical American couple has to try to get Jack back to his own Earth and real timeline.
I know suspension of belief is necessary for the rollercoaster rides of today’s action genre, but even though I thought I was in with the “balloon jump” premise mentioned above, this cliché-ridden construct was ultimately too much schlock for me. I don’t want to impugn Clive Cussler by saying this is Clive Cussler-lite, but that’s what I felt while reading this. If unstoppable heroes in pseudo-science stories are what you’re looking for – and you don’t want to travel to Mars with John Carter – then The Fall is the book for you.
Audible listeners: George Newbern's narration was fine. Nothing special to make me seek him out, but he handled a mediocre story up to its level
4 stars out of 10
NO SPOILER. You know you have found a great read when you want silence around you and a lot of volume so you don't miss one word... Well, this isn't one of those books... It does start out very well and about the first third of the book was really interesting, but after the newness and discovery of being in another dimension was over, it got really long and drawn out. It turned into a constant deluge of the F word and detailed action fights with nothing to add to the wonder of the supernatural event. It really got old. You never really care about the characters or what happens to them. The narration was good and I listened comfortably at 1.25X speed. I would not recommend this one unless maybe you are military battle trained or just like constant vulgar action that provokes no thought... haha. I recommend Replay - Ken Grimmwood, Lightning - Dean Koontz, and the series by Chris Ride for the best time travel stuff. If any of this was helpful, please click YES below. Later.
I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but was severely let down by the execution. I gave up on this book 10 hours in when I realized that I just didn't care how it ended.
There is absolutely no characterization. All the characters are cardboard flat, and there is no growth or development whatsoever.
I also felt that occasionally the characters (mostly both versions of Angie) would do something out of left field, for no apparent or logical reason.
I was very interested in the premise of this book and bought it soon after the release. I wouldn't say the narrator is bad, but there are two universes with the same characters and it gets confusing. Somehow the two universes need to be distinguished (for instance like the TV show "Awake") although I have no idea how that could be done on audio. So I got an ebook to finish this, because I did like the characters and wanted to know what happened. It devolved into a lot of fight scenes--ridiculous fight scenes, most often featuring a karate chop to the "vagus nerve" and perfect killshots with an abundance of high tech weaponry, over and over. The science felt "hand-wavey". In general, the novel felt like I was reading a Tom Cruise movie. I expect to see it at a multiplex for Christmas 2016, and Tom will be doing his own stunts.
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