“The Hunt for the Hollywood Clone, Gavin Baller: Book 1” by Steven Heumann

This story has a character arc that resonates through the ages. In order for a man to truly change, he has to be torn away from his old life, stripped down to the essentials, and then given an opportunity to rebuild himself into the person he could be. 

Gavin Baller is such a character. His physical perfection and intelligence has allowed him to take the smoothest path all his life, dumping him on the dubious peak of movie stardom. Just as his easily earned success is starting to pall, his home is attacked by an alien ship, and he is on the run. 

The almost non-stop action takes us to Brazil, the country of Gavin’s origins, where the author demonstrates a close-up knowledge of that country. The aliens prove to be believable beings and culturally less stereotyped than many of their ilk in this genre. The quite natural difficulty the main character has in determining who are the good guys and who are the bad guys adds a touch of reality to the plot. 

In general the writing is smooth and realistic, although one more pass through by a good proofreader would help. 

I enjoyed the action scenes but found them rather repetitious. When someone is on the run and the pattern of battle-escape-flight-rediscovery-battle plays too many times, it is hard to maintain the suspense at any point in the cycle because of the inevitability of the next step. 

In any case, the pattern is finally broken, and we get a reasonable ending for “Book 1.” Some important thematic ends are tied up, but most of the conflict will have to wait for the next installment.

Recommended for fans of Sci-Fi and Brazil. 

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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