Saturday, February 17, 2018

Book Review: 'Ashes' by Timothy R. Lyon, Jr.

Pennsylvania author Timothy Ray Lyon Jr. earned a degree in Visual Effects and Motion Graphics at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh and studied film, photography, motion graphics and visual effects. Soon the writing bug hit and he decided to step away from the VFX industry and turn his undivided attention to writing. Realizing the potential and low-cost of self-publishing a novel, he began what he believes will be his grand epic. The Contrivance series. Working on the first book of the series, Ashes, he continued writing over the course of the next year. He lives in Pittsburg.

Ashes, A Contrivance Novel begs definition of the theme of the series; contrivance is something that causes things to happen in a story in a way that does not seem natural or believable. Timothy takes this theme and in his first book molds it very well indeed. He is fleet of words, at times spending a bit too long on setting atmosphere, but that will condense with time. For instance within the prologue, before the story begins, he paints - ‘Almost beautiful and elegant, the interior must have been designed by someone with a considerable amount of skill, enough to be one of the greatest architects of their time. It was constructed with purpose, a tone, and a way that could be defined as art. Having the water flow through something so well-designed was a truly breathtaking sight. You would begin looking in awe, but then… awe would thrash to terror. The rust-tinted, silver pipes carried the water to the center of the room, fading from metal corrosion to human skin. The rusty couplings attaching them to
the floor almost looked as if they infused themselves to a young man who sat pinned and connected to the middle of the room. The water pumped into his stripped-down body as he shook and shivered, bound to the chair. His personal prison. His water-logged mouth opened with no words, only the sound of a struggling gurgle. As his breath quivered, his green-lit eyes tensed so tight the human color faded, leaving them white and desolate. His bare feet on the carpet craved to be flat and flush, but contorted sideways as water repeatedly battered him from the inside.’

Committing to the book, we gain only a brief synopsis: ‘At the birth of the Elemental Renaissance, an age in which inventors have learned to harness the four elements, Aleksandar Scott invents the“ Breath of Life." When his invention falls into the hands of a deranged serial killer, the young inventor is pushed against the clock as he tries to outmaneuver the Industrial Revolution in hopes of stopping the inevitable.’ ASHES is a historical thriller about the World’s Fair, and that is only one aspect of this delicious mystery thriller. Timothy debuts with a strong start. The ideas are sound - polish will come. Grady Harp, January 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.