Monday, October 08, 2012

Book Review: Primal by D. A. Serra

by D. A. Serra
Publisher: Perry Street Pictures, Inc., May 13, 2012
Category: Crime Thriller
pages 250

This story got in the driver's seat on page one and sped around the twists and turns of a plot as convoluted as a pretzel.  Every time you start to think you know where it is going it takes another turn on two wheels.

Alison is a gentle 30 something suburban Mom, wife, elementary school teacher with the soul of a poet.  She knows she is going to be out of her element on this family vacation to a rustic fishing lodge with her husband and nine year old son whose birthday present had been the right to choose their destination.  But she is determined to defy their expectations.  She will not be categorized.  Especially as the wimpy, whiny, woman.  She will show them she can adapt.

But she has no idea how far out of her element she is about to be thrust nor how profoundly she will be required to adapt.

Ben B. has just been sprung from prison a month or so ahead of his date with the electric chair by his three brothers and they are fleeing to Canada when their boat breaks down near the island where the fishing lodge is and they take the dozen or so vacationers hostage.  Except Alison who had been busy vomiting her sea sickness into the toilet behind the kitchen when they arrived.

Having managed to slither out the bathroom window just ahead of one of the brother's inspection of the room she finds herself alone in the dark in the woods in a raging thunderstorm realizing that with no land line nor cell phone service she is on her own and the only hope for her son and husband and the other vacationers inside the lodge.

What will she be required to do to insure their survival?

Short answer: use her wits and her primal instincts and the element of surprise to lure the brother's out of the lodge one by one...

The breaking dawn finds her deep in the woods where she has led Ben, far from the lodge and far from her son when the sound of helicopters intrudes and the realization that help is arriving from the mainland interrupts the dance of predator and prey.  "This isn't over."  Ben mouths as he melts into the woods.

That is just the first third of the story.  Then it returns us to suburbia where Allison succumbs to PTSD, maintaining the same level of vigilance as on the island, refusing to be reassured even by the evidence Ben has died in an explosion during a shootout with the Canadian police.  Family and friends urge her to move on, remind her of her duties as a mother and wife, imply she is being irrational.

Their happy little family is falling apart.  After all she did to save them that night on the island is she going to loose all that was the core of who they were now?  Is this how Ben will win finally?

From the Publishers:

PRIMAL by D.A. Serra (screenplay originally purchased by James Cameron)
With everything at stake - what are you capable of? What if the worst happens and you're not a policeman, a soldier, or a spy with weapons training and an iron heart? What if you're a schoolteacher - a mom? In this gritty crime thriller a family vacation takes a vicious turn when a fishing camp is invaded by four armed men. With nothing except her brains, her will, and the element of surprise on her side, Alison must learn to kill or watch her family die.
And then, things get worse.

What they are saying: 

"To some, Minnesota's North Woods are a soothing antidote to the stresses of civilization. But to others, all that unpaved, unpeopled wilderness is just plain unnerving. And therein lies the seed of some very spooky storytelling."- Amy Goetzman, MinnPost

""Primal" the new book by D.A. Serra is a page turner. The story line and the characters engage you, and once you start you won't put it down until you are finished. The story reminds us that no matter how carefully we craft the "bubble" around our every day existence, no matter how safe and secure we make our environment and our lives, a chance encounter with evil can shatter that bubble and change our very persona forever. This is a great read."- Michael C Bertin, Amazon Reviewer

"Better than PD James. An astonishingly gripping tale, but more than that, it is full of insights, and wonderfully well written. The voice is unique, but it has that PD James quality."- Patricia S. Churchland "Neurophilosopher", Amazon Reviewer

"Mary Higgins Clark, watch out! I downloaded Primal and the new Mary Higgins Clark at the same time, and of the two, to my surprise, although I am a big MHC fan, I really enjoyed Primal best. If you love a good thriller, like I do, this is the book to read! A real page turner, riveting suspense, - well conceived and beautifully written - this author should to be on every thriller lover's 'to read' list!"- Lora, Amazon Reviewer

""Wow." It might be an hour or two before my breathing slows down and my stomach unwinds itself from a tight knot. I only put the book down twice since I started reading it. The book was so vivid. With confidence I can say Primal has brought out the most emotion of any book I have ever read. I have never been so consumed by a book before. The book is honestly one of the best I have ever read."- Laura, Amazon Reviewer

"I love a great story, one that is packed with explosive action. Primal is right on top when it comes to a suspenseful thriller. I was always anxious to get to the next chapter. I wanted to read fast, but the dialog was so good I didn't want to miss any of it. I was sad when I realized that I was coming to the end of the story. The characters in this thriller came to life for me. I couldn't help but put myself into the plot and to wonder what I would do if put into their same situation. If you love nail biting, explosive action that will not disappoint, Primal is it." Max- Amazon Reviewer

About D. A. Serra:

Deborah Serra was a screenwriter for twenty years and recognized by the Writer's Guild for her long term continuous employment. She has written ten TV movies, four feature films, and numerous TV episodes including two years as a staff writer for NBC. She worked for top producers, directors, and actors. She has taught writing at the University of California, San Diego, Wofford College and at writers' conferences nationwide. Serra has now turned her attention to novels, and she was honored as a recent recipient of the prestigious Hawthornden Literary Fellowship, and as a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.

Deborah's Website.

Follow the blog tour to see more reviews, guest posts by the author and giveaways:

2 tell me a story:

Teddy Rose 10/08/2012 10:28 AM  

Thanks for taking part in the tour. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book!

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