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Publisher's Summary

The world wasn’t prepared. Now, those who remain will have to find a way to survive....

The solar superstorm wasn’t supposed to hit Earth - the odds were against it. And yet, without any warning, everything changed. In a remote oceanfront town, life begins to spiral downward after the storm causes a global electrical blackout. As planes begin falling from the sky, Scott Montgomery watches helplessly as pandemonium consumes the world around him. But the loss of electrical power is just the first of the problems facing the survivors in the chaos that follows.

Social order crumbles as a steadily growing number of people realize that there are no longer any consequences for their actions. While the thin veneer of normalcy stubbornly shrouds the mounting collapse, Scott discovers the truth - not just about the extent of damage to the world's infrastructure, but also the draconian plans one shadowy para-military organization has for regaining control and ensuring their own vision for the new world...one with deadly consequences.

Catalyst is a shockingly realistic and largely fact-based tale about how society copes when the world is thrust back to a time before technology. Add this title to your listening library today!

©2016 J K Franks (P)2016 J K Franks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    168
  • 4 Stars
    78
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    25
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    5
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    11

Performance

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  • 4 Stars
    73
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    24
  • 2 Stars
    9
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    4

Story

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    73
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    26
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    7
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

CME

PREPPING IS FOR THE SHORT TERM
If you have never read a prepper book and your insistent on trying one, than this would be a good place to start. I say that because the main character shows humility and is not a know it all. The book also shows the importance of friends. The rest of the book unfortunately is like most of the rest. That is, it reads like a laundry list. This would be a good manual to have around in case of a CME, but it is not real entertaining. For entertainment along these lines pick up Franklin Horton's, Borrowed World Series.

CME
Sorry, but I listened to this as I was driving and I forgot actually what CME, stands for. I do know that it has to do with Solar Flares. The point of this book being that these solar flares caused an EMP. This catastrophe was not man made.

38 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

On to book two

The end of the world kind of books seem to be all the new rage right now. they are all starting to sound the same. and some with NOTHING to do with the end of the world genre. The last few books I've read have just not been good. I was leery of getting this book. I am so glad I did. This book has a great storyline. Action adventure and great characters. I am very glad I took the chance on this book.
it also has a few good tips in it, with out being boring.
though I will say, the first chapter seems to be about the love of Bicycle riding. But as the story goes on you see you why that was important.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Watching the Apocolypse crash and can't look away!

Great story. Well done and very well narrated.

While the story starts a bit slowly it picks up and fleshes out quickly. The author does a great job of defining the characters and the story environment. The story is interesting and moves well once it gets going.

There are lots of characters to like and dis-like. The narrator does a great job with the story and it is very easy to keep all the characters straight, no easy task given the variety within the story.

This was a very entertaining and enjoyable listen. I look forward the the other books in the series.

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dude really likes his bike

Okay book, had its interesting moments and some pretty entertaining characters. But for a post apocalyptic book it was pretty slow and drug on. Decent narration.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Different & Compelling Dystopian Novel

If you could sum up Catalyst Downward Cycle in three words, what would they be?

Not predictable dystopia

What other book might you compare Catalyst Downward Cycle to and why?

You really can't since there aren't any zombies or EMP strikes by terrorists, this is what gives this book a different twist plus the act that starts the collapse is really a minor issue compared to the results of the act.

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

Steven does an excellent job between the voices of the characters and you can hear/feel the emotions which is essential for good story telling

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

I still can't stand bicyclists on the road who don't follow the same laws cars have to but I can ignore that when faced with a good story.

Any additional comments?

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and since I was raised by my momma to never lie, you can trust my review.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Where's book 2 ?

This is one of the best end of the world books I have read this year. Unique.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • SEATTLE, WA, United States
  • 12-22-16

Beginning of what looks like a great series!

What did you love best about Catalyst Downward Cycle?

Most of it, frankly. The underpinning is rather derivative ( global EMP and resulting chaos ) but the accuracy of the situations is fascinating, as is the interplay of the characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The fellows that our hero befriends are compelling.

Which character – as performed by Steven Varnum – was your favorite?

He did excellent work on them all. Can't parse them out.

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

The scene with the niece alone in the house is good.

Any additional comments?

Franks does use the story as a political statement platform, and this did get tiresome at times ( alot of the time, actually ) . That said, I looked past it and tried to see the value in the pure entertainment and educational value of the story, and found it.

I was provided this book for free via Audioblast in exchange for this review, which is fair and balanced. I recommend this for credit use, and enjoyed it for its genre, but it does come with some pretty heavy political baggage so listener be ware.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Great idea, decently executed, some faults

Would you try another book from J K Franks and/or Steven Varnum?

Yes, I probably would although I wouldn't necessarily seek out one purposefully like I might with other authors and narrators. Considering Catalyst seems to be a first release for both I expect that future endeavors will begin to feel more polished, so I'll keep my eyes on them.

Did Steven Varnum do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

The narrator does a great job overall, although I could only give 3 stars.

For the most part his characterizations were excellent (reminded me a little of Jeff Gurner who did the Daemon series among other works), and this is coming from someone who usually has a tough time listening to "voices". However this is also part of why I dropped Performance to 3 stars. He has GOT to change his female voice! Some narrators are really good at simply "softening" their female character voices vs trying to change the actual pitch - this is a must for Mr Varnum in my opinion. The saving grace here is that there are very few female characters in this book.

There were a number of mis-pronounced words, not complicated words either. Not enough to distract from the listen but enough to warrant a mention. There were also oddly placed pauses in many sentences, almost as though he was using the end of a line as a period rather than continuing the flow to the next line to complete the sentence. Again, not completely distracting but a little awkward. Some better editing may have picked these up and perhaps cleaned them up a bit and surely this will get better with narration experience.

I expect to see much more from Steven in the future, hopefully he will be narrating the next book in the series - but only if he addreses the above criticisms :)

Was Catalyst Downward Cycle worth the listening time?

Yes, overall I did enjoy Catalyst. The story had somewhat of a "One Second After" feel although I could have used more time spent on the rebuilding of the community; it kind of fast-forwards through a lot of this.

In fact, there is quite a lot of "glossing over" in the book. In some areas we get excellent story-telling and wonderful detail while other areas simply skipped over details or left loose ends.

There were also areas where I felt unsure that the author did all of his homework as well as some obvious editing misses but, unlike some other books in this genre, I never once felt like turning it off or that I couldn't finish.

But still, minus some irritants, this was a fun book. The story had some unique elements while still following a very familiar formula. The primary protagonist was well-written and likeable and I found myself caring about what happens next. Although the writing in general only gets 3 stars from me, I will likely seek out the next book in the series with my fingers crossed, hoping that some of the negative nuances are cleaned up.

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Greg
  • Wichita, KS, United States
  • 12-19-17

Entertaining !

This is a plausible concept and could very well happen. If history is correct - this will happen again. I would say this is a pretty accurate story line. Moves along - good listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Really great new read!

I read a lot of books like this. Sometimes the stories & characters are almost interchangeable. NOT so in this case. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are beautifully written. The story & plot is very well thought out. I was entertained & also learned some things.
I loved how Scott learned & grew so much. How he was the reluctant hero. I loved how he struggled with what is right & what should be.
If you are looking for a book to introduce you to the SHTF genre this would be a great one to start with.
This is a story & world I can’t wait to revisit.


I was voluntarily provided this review copy at no charge by the author, publisher and or narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tony Bough
  • 09-10-17

Scary good!

What did you like most about Catalyst Downward Cycle?

This book is scary good. By which I mean not only is it a great book but it feels real. It feels to be how society would react on a small town and government level. I also really like our main character, Scott. The story eases us into the situation in a way that's amazing to listen to and makes it easy to follow the story progression.

What other book might you compare Catalyst Downward Cycle to, and why?

I'm not sure how I would compare this to other works. I can honestly say, think of your favorite authors and if they wrote a book about this topic it would be this book. It's got a polished feel to it with really well developed characters and it feels normal. Normal in a sense of this is our world and this is how the loss of power and government control would play out in a small town.

What about Steven Varnum’s performance did you like?

The sense of the world feeling normal comes across really well and also Scott comes to life through the narration. I really liked at the start where we have this calm before the storm, where people are going to coffee shops like its a normal day with a slightly irritating power problem but not thinking bigger, the narration made it feel normal but through Scott's thoughts and actions also to feel what's coming.

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

I started my own internal inventory of what I'd need to survive and it really got me thinking what I'd do. In fact I was suddenly happy to think of all my camping gear and other equipment as a start.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 08-29-17

Great end of the world as we know it book.

This just goes to show you do not need zombies, aliens or other flesh eating monsters to have a good end of the world as we know it book. If that sounds interesting to you this may be the book for you.

J K Franks’s writing is good and interesting, the story is kept moving with good pacing and characterful dialogue. This book is a well thought out and executed story of what would happen if most of the world’s technology failed, what would people do, what choices or actions would people need to take and the grey area between right and wrong that gets wider as the modern world falls to pieces. It is a little bleak at times but that how this sort of story should be.

Steven Varnum’s narration is clear and easy to listen to, they add threat to the battles and dangers. Each character has a unique voice that fits them adding to the listing experience, making it simple to tell who is who and conveying their emotions. I did not notice any errors in the recording.

Overall
This is an interesting book that is well worth a listen. I just hope nothing like this really happens.


I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tim Dearing
  • 08-16-17

A really good read

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

i found that i was listening to this book not only on my way to and from work, but also at work. i would find an excuse to nip to the shops to listen a bit more and even have headphones on in bed just to reach the end of the section.
You know, it was that good, i may even buy the next one
Great book, expertly read, fascinating story based on good research. i may buy a few tins of corned beef on the way home........just in case

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ria
  • 08-13-17

Easy and enjoyable listen

Where does Catalyst Downward Cycle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It ranks in the top tenth. It was an easy listen. Not too tecnical or full of gun numbers. Just enough to go with the story. It was different because to main guy is a computer geek. And has to prep after the event. I did enjoy it. I will get the next book.

What about Steven Varnum’s performance did you like?

He had a voice that I found easy to listen to. On the whole I found it easy to know who was talking. But he does need to pratice girls voices. Not bad but a little room for improvement

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I did it in two sittings.

Any additional comments?

A good plot. Slightly flawed heros. (not know alls). Not overboard on teck details. I liked it. This audiobook was provided through AudioBook Boom free of charge, and without obligation.