"A fast-paced and suspenseful romantic futuristic thriller"
Kira Jordan had been born three years after a great plague
that had wiped out forty percent of Earth's population.
Following the plague many of the survivors had begun to
develop psi-abilities. Earth was dying. Those who were
determined to have strong psi powers got a free ticket to
Offworld, a new start in a better place. Though Kira could
sense a person's true nature through touch and the "flexing"
of her mind, hers were considered to be lesser abilities.
Only if she had great wealth would she now be able to attain
her dream to go Offworld. As things stood that was not very
Kira had not felt the need to go when her family had been
alive but her father, mother and sister had all been
murdered one night seven years ago while she'd hidden under
her bed in a dark locked room. She alone had been spared but
her life had changed forever. She'd done what she had to in
order to survive, picking pockets, shoplifting, she'd even
once thought to sell her body, but had thought better of it
after one dangerous encounter. She also had a debilitating
fear of the dark.
Imagine her shock when one minute she is breathing hard in a
nearly abandoned mall after lifting a pair of sneakers and
the next finding herself chained to the wall in pitch
blackness beside a convicted mass murder!
Rogan Ellis had been falsely convicted nine counts of
first-degree murder, but claimed to be a bad man
nonetheless. The two find themselves to be partnered in a
sick top secret reality game called the Countdown where the
players either survived the challenges or faced a sudden and
brutal death. Subscribers had special implants imbedding in
their skulls in order to watch these live events. Kira and
Rogan had implants in their heads as well which stipulated
that must stay within ninety feet of each other at all times
or die. The were stuck with each other for the duration.
Kira has no idea why she has been recruited for the game
other than the fact that she's alone in the world. She had
no sympathy for murders after what had happened to her
family but she isn't read to die yet either. Three, two, one
go! The countdown begins and the pair has only so much time
to complete each of six levels. The odds of survival are
slim, only one had ever succeeded to win all levels.
Kira's survival skills made her scrappier than one might
expect. The pair survives several levels due to Kira's quick
thinking and deductive reasoning. It becomes increasingly
obvious that Rogan knows more about what is happening to
them than he is willing to tell her. When she finds out who
owns the company that produces the Countdown she knows why.
But why had Kira been chosen for the game? She was little
more than a petty thief.
Kira's psi skills reveal that Rogan is innocent of the
murders and there's nothing like a life or death to
situation to accelerate a relationship between two people.
Before long the two are deeply attracted to each other by
more than just their implants. But will they survive? If
they find a way to escape certain death will they find a way
to end the game or just go their separate ways?
This story was perfect for a first person point of view. The
reader actually lives the game, with all of its tension
through Kira herself. I found myself out of breath more than
once. For an exciting and suspenseful romantic futuristic
thriller, I highly recommend COUNTDOWN.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 27, 2008