Sunday, 31 May 2015

REVIEW: Eric J. Gates - Outsourced

Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Publisher: Amazon
Publication Date: 18th Sept 2014
Pages: 302


A copy of Outsourced was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Eric J. Gates in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Amazon.

Eric J. Gates. Another one I have to confess never reading before but I enjoy a good thriller and it sounded right up my street so I thought why not? I love it when my instincts are right.

Nic Stiles is an author going through a rough patch. His relationship with his wife is on the rocks. He is suffering from the cursed writers block. His arch rival and stable mate with his publishers, Grayson Fallon is amassing success story after success story.

During a retreat to his cabin to try and rectify the writer’s block and keep up with Fallon, he receives a strange package in the post. A pen. Not just any old ordinary pen, according to the letter enclosed with it.

Polanksi is a mass serial killer. He knows he is guilty, his lawyer knows he is guilty, but he has just walked free. He has decided to go straight after he tidy’s up a few loose ends. He was the previous owner of the pen.

Stiles discovers the pen has certain “qualities” that can give the owner huge benefits if used correctly. Unfortunately that isn’t what he has done. He must now try to set things straight by teaming up with an unlikely ally while trying to escape the clutches of every government agency in the country and beyond.

The only other issue is the fact Polanksi would like his pen back.

Thrillers can be hard to write. At least I imagine they can be. I’ve never written one but have read hundreds. A lot of them have been absolute tripe (that’s rubbish for you American sorts). A lot of them have been mediocre at best. I generally know by about fifty pages if I will enjoy one. I finished Outsourced in a day and a bit. That should tell you something.

This is a thriller with a bit of a difference. It has all the thrills and spills that you should expect but it also has a touch of the mysterious about it. The pen in question is made up of all the things you would expect in a pen. It has a little extra though. A piece of an ancient stone said to bestow the current owner with the ability to alter destiny or fate. If used correctly, it can be a useful tool. If used incorrectly it can be a tool of disaster as Nic Stiles finds out to his cost.

Characters wise in this tale, they are well written and do fit perfectly into their individual roles. Stiles is a man on the edge. When things start to happen, he doesn’t really have much faith in them until he meets up with his ally (can’t tell you who this is or it would be a major spoiler). Polanksi is brilliant. He shouldn’t be, given what he has done throughout his life, but I had a soft spot for him. He was very clinical. Very precise. He knew what he was doing. This gave him a certain air of arrogance and it was superb to read. On the Government side of things we have Major Mason. She doesn’t have a lot of luck on her side. Things always seem to go wrong for her and her hardnosed attitude only seems to get her more and more grief from her bosses. There are a host of other characters that gel into the story very well.

This is quite a high tech story. The accessories used by the military sound a bit farfetched at times and it makes you think you are reading a Mission Impossible story. I did, a couple of times have to remind myself that it is make believe and to enjoy the story instead of thinking “that’s impossible”. On the other hand when you read Mr Gates CV (he has taught cyberwarfare and worked with the Military and Intelligence departments) he should know what he is talking about. Maybe some of the things we think are farfetched are actually real? Only Mr Gates could tell us but I suspect he won’t.

This is a very fast paced book. Even in the slow scenes there is a lot going on to keep your mind active. You will, on occasions have to think hard to remember stuff and try and help the characters sort things out in your own head. Other than that I thought it was a nice easy read. I don’t think it’s one of the greatest thrillers I have ever read but it is fun. It certainly kept my adrenalin levels at a high and made me not want to put it down.

To summarise: a high tech thriller with a bit of ancient mystery thrown in. Good characters that all fit together well to give a smooth flowing story that is hard to put down. A villain that will have you rooting for him, even though he is a shit. All in all, this is one I would recommend if you want to lose yourself in a book that is easy to read and will keep your heart rate at a higher than normal level.

General rating:

★★★★ Really good read. Just needed a little more to stand out.

Horror rating:

★★★★ Plenty of thrills and spills.

You can buy Outsourced here:

Book Synopsis:

What's the most dangerous gift a fan could send to an author?

And if that fan was a professional assassin?

New York-based writer Nic Stiles receives a strange package in the mail. It's not long before he realises what it represents will change his life... with deadly consequences. Others want the package's contents too, including a high-tech Intelligence agency who will stop at nothing to obtain it.

...and the sender wants it back!

Eric J. Gates has had a curious life filled with the stuff of thriller novels. Writing Operating Systems for Supercomputers, cracking cryptographic codes under extreme pressure using only paper and pen and teaching Cyberwarfare to spies are just a few of the moments he's willing to recall. He is an ex-International Consultant who has travelled extensively worldwide, speaks several languages. His specialty, Information Technology Security, has brought him into contact with the Military and Intelligence communities on numerous occasions. He is also an expert martial artist, holding 14 black belt degrees in distinct disciplines. He has taught his skills to Police and Military personnel, as well as to the public.

He now writes thriller novels, drawing on his experiences with the confidential and secret worlds that surround us. Visit his website at for extracts, inside secrets, and a competition where you could be a character in his next book.

You can see more of Eric at his website.

Eric’s author’s page is here.

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