By Mark Alpert
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Pub. Date: April 22, 2014
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
The Furies first starts out like it may be supernatural but quickly corrects the reader's assumption and reveals itself to be science fiction. It reminds me of Arthur C. Clarke's famous adage that says "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Yet to call it science fiction may be a stretch too. After all the author Mark Alpert makes it clear on the cover that this is primarily a thriller and that is how it should be read.
That's a good thing because it isn't a very good science fiction novel. As a thriller, it is enjoyable and holds it own. John Rogers is a troubled young man who meets Ariel in a "chance" encounter and hopefully a one night stand for our usually luckless hero. Of course, it doesn't work out that way and soon guns are blazing and John inexplicably is following Ariel into almost sure death instead of running for his life which any sane man would do, raging hormones or not. We find that Ariel isn't who she appears to be but is a member of a long standing and mysterious group who have plenty of secrets of their own. In fact, the best thing about this novel is how the author describes and builds Ariel's community and the secrets it holds. The Furies have all the ingredients of an exciting thriller and, aside from the creation of an interesting "cult", some nice bio-technical voodoo for the sci-fi freaks. But it never really gels together and eventually gets overrun by the predictable trappings of a mainstream thriller. Part of the problem is that I found the dialogue rather stilted and on the melodramatic side. But overall, Alpert's cast of characters just never came to life for me. They felt pat and pasted into unbelievable situations and actions. Most importantly, I never quite understood John's instant devotion to Ariel except that it must of been one hell of a one night stand. The best I can say for The Furies is that it is enjoyable in a generic thriller way and it show some promise for its intriguing scenario. However I doubt that it will stand out in my mind a few hours after I post this review.