Monday 23 May 2016

REVIEW: Duncan P Bradshaw - Prime Directive

Genre: Horror
Publisher: The Sinister Horror Company
Publication Date: 30th May 2016
Pages: 154


A copy of Prime Directive was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Duncan P Bradshaw in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by the Sinister Horror Company.

Duncan P Bradshaw is a name that many of us have become familiar with over this past year or so as being one third of the wonderful Sinister Horror Company. He is, however, a wonderful writer in his own rite. I actually came to know his writing before I knew he had anything to do with SHC. I have read his previous two books, Class Three and Those Who Survive. You can find links to those reviews at the end of this review. His stuff is always that little bit different. He doesn’t follow the sheep. He always has his own unique style in his writing.

Prime Directive was a little added bonus I wasn’t expecting to get to read. Was it a bonus worth getting?

It’s 2021. The Venturer is on Mars. It’s crew, made up of Dana, Charles, Mei, Sabina, Nikolai and Sanjay, are on a mission to discover evidence of past life on Mars. Apart from Mei, none of them have discovered anything of any great importance.

After venturing to one of the great craters on the planet to try and find something interesting, Dana is contacted by someone or something. She has no idea what it is, where it has come from or more importantly, what it wants.

She discovers it is a probe sent from…..somewhere. She should have left it where it was. This probe is more powerful than anyone could have expected. Can anyone survive its Prime Directive?

The characters in this one are as listed above. It’s set on Mars so there aren’t going to be loads of people. Dana is our main character. She is very pee’d off that none of her experiments have brought anything of interest and is determined to make a name for herself, whatever the cost. Charles is the leader. Always trying to keep the peace, he tries to show his authority but doesn’t really pull it off. Mei is the one getting results. Excuse me for saying but I hated her. She is so smug and up her own arse that I just wanted to slap her. Sabina seems to be normal enough. Quiet but strong at the same time. Nikolai is a typical Russian male. Very ballsy and very brash. Sanjay just seems to be there to make up the numbers but is determined to get something that is found named after himself.

The plot is as described also. Dana finds a probe from somewhere and it is pure evil. Not giving you any more other than the fact that they all need to group together to try and stop certain things from maybe happening that might put their lives at risk.

This is a novella. Around about one hundred and fifty pages so you could probably read it fairly quickly. I did. I couldn’t put it down so read it in a couple of hours. Why could I not put it down? Simple really. It’s so bloody good.

This is, again, a total change for Duncan Bradshaw. I have discovered that his books are like that clich├ęd box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. Well, in terms of the story that is. In terms of the quality, you are always assured of fantastic writing, perfectly paced with just the right amount of tension, suspense, horror and in this case, fear. This man really can write anything and make it scary.

The challenge I saw with this one was taking a part sci-fi story and making it scary. People always automatically think Alien when they see a horror set in space. Strange monsters from other planets that no one believed could exist, that kill nearly everyone and escape back to Earth, somehow piloting the ship with no hands and wreaking havoc on Earth. How do you make this different and interesting and entertaining and fresh while giving your readers well rounded, believable characters, in a novella length story?

If you want to know the answer to that then give Duncan P Bradshaw a call because he has pulled it off beautifully with Prime Directive.

It has everything exactly as I said above. Brilliant characters who you feel you know after a very short pace of time with no big elaborate back stories to introduce them. A plot which has been done before but is slightly different in that the monster isn’t really a monster, as in something with big teeth that drools a lot, in fact, in many ways it’s much scarier than that. It’s intelligent and seems to have the power to do whatever it wants. Another thing that makes this story a bit more believable is the ending. You didn’t think I was going to tell you did you? Nah, but you will see what I mean when you read it.

To summarise: a novella set in space with a crew fighting for survival and ultimately the survival of Earth. A perfect mixture of sci-fi and horror this story plants the seed of fear in your head and makes it grow and grow until you close the book.

General rating:

★★★★★ brilliant.

Horror rating:

★★★★★ imagine if it happened!

If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer, then please consider using the links below to buy Prime Directive or any other books from Duncan. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.


You can read my review of Class Three here.

You can read my review of Those Who Survive (Class Four #1) here.

Book Synopsis:

The crew of the first manned mission to Mars, are in the final days of their expedition before they head home. Shamed by a lack of discoveries and humiliated by her colleagues, geologist Dana Fischerman heads out to the Galle crater, eager to find something to make her own legacy. What she uncovers will not only threaten the safety of her colleagues, but also everyone back on Earth.

Part-Time Author/Full-Time Loon.

One day upon waking, as if from some frightful nightmare, I sat at my laptop and typed out letters, which formed words, slowly they created sentences. People read it and said, that's okay that is, have a biscuit. And I said yes.

I live in Wiltshire, in Southern England with my wife Debbie and our two cats, Rafa and Pepe, they just miaowed a hello at you. Between bouts of prolonged washing up and bungie cord knitting, I type out the weird and wonderful things that run around my head.

My debut novel, zom-com Class Three, was released in November 2014, the first book in the follow up trilogy, Class Four: Those Who Survive is out in July 2015. I'm then going to try and get some novellas released which are on something other than the undead.

And for more about Duncan, visit his site or find him on social media:

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