Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review: 'Ripples' by Ricky Dragoni

Ripples by Ricky Dragoni
‘I had him hooked. Now I had to let him simmer and become obsessed.’

Puerto Rican born Ricky Dragoni moved to Iowa and writes form there at present. He has been writing poetry and short stories since his youthful days and has published four novels to date – PRIME INFINITY, RIPPLES, THE SWIFT, and THE ANGEL OF A MADMAN. As he states, ‘’My books are born out of the nightmares of my mind and are then melded with my life experiences. I would describe my books as reality sprinkled with a good magical dose of faerie dust, written Surrealism in other words.’
Science fiction in the realm of Isaac Asimov, Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein and Ray Bradbury is being expanded to include the growing importance of Ricky Dragoni. His imagination is limitless and his stories never fail to challenge the reader’s curiosity and shuddering. Gear up your imagination and enter the first page of this all-too-possible time travel tale – ‘My boots clicked on the pavement as the gentle midnight drizzle fell on my leather jacket. My hips swayed in my tight black jeans and my Ramones t-shirt covered my chest. My long dark hair gave me a little shelter and warmth from the cold rain. I was heading to the same dive bar I had visited for the past 12 nights. The Sea Urchin, they never closed, but don’t be surprised if your server is a [jerk]. The building stood by itself. It looked like it had once been a house, fell on hard times, and ended up being gutted and made into a bar. The illuminated sign upfront was an undistinguishable black sea urchin with a light blue background. No one could ever tell what it was. Everyone made the same mistake of asking the bartender about the sign, who happened to be the owner as well. Mike, the owner, would berate them, insult them, and point out how uncultured and stupid they were for asking. After he was done with his rant and the customers sat there with a wide-eyed look, he would give them a free shot of whiskey and all was forgiven. Unlike those na├»ve patrons, I had found my way here on purpose. I had sat and used every ounce of charm and flirtatiousness I had to lure him in. I wasn’t here to get yelled at by Mike, I was here for a much bigger fish. I think tonight’s get up and pouty lips might finally get him to make his approach. I sat at the end of the bar sipping on my rum and coke. He was at his usual table carefully scoping his possible victims. I knew how dangerous he really was and I should have felt afraid. I didn’t. This wasn’t my first rodeo and I had bagged creeps way more dangerous than him. He wore what was left of his suit. His tie and jacket were gone and the neck of his fancy dress shirt was opened down a couple of buttons. He drank his usual water with lemon, the only reason Mike served it to him was because he would leave a $ 100 dollar tip for him. He was perfectly shaven with all too perfect skin. His hair was trimmed short on the sides and long on top. It was combed and held immobile with some expensive product. I watched him through the mirror behind the bottles behind the bar. He didn’t seem to fit in amongst the shady cast of The Sea Urchin, but not even the bearded bikers playing pool seemed to want any piece of him. He sat there sipping on his water and oozed a dark energy which seemed to keep all the tables around him empty. His name was Patrick Michelson, no one knew about him yet, but when his exploits were finally exposed he would end up with 26 kills to his name. By my estimations he was just getting started, with maybe 2 or 3 victims so far. I needed to make sure he picked me next. I needed to erase him from the record.‘

Glance at the synopsis for a roadmap to this arena – ‘In the year 6,749, humanity has evolved to the point that the term "human" can only be applied loosely. The world has become homogeneous and perfect, except for the Randoms that choose to live outside civilization. Living and working in this new world as a time scout, Jordan is perfect and beautiful on the outside but her internal curiosity leads to horrific experiences with the Randoms. These experiences, along with Jordan's manufactured, unique composition, trigger the need for change. Using her time scout position to alter timelines, and driven by curiosity, bloody memories and an undying love for Lumi, Jordan begins to create gentle havoc by targeting serial sexual predators and carefully erasing them. After The Auditor is dispatched, turning Jordan's life from one of action to one of pure survival, she seeks refuge with the Randoms as they pursue their own revolutionary agenda. Jordan becomes the catalyst that ignites a war between Civilization and the Randoms, not only in the present but across time. Jordan's good intentions have left the world in chaos. Will she survive one last meeting with The Auditor?’

Polished to a fare-thee-well, this chunk of terror could only have come from the mind of the ever-growing Ricky Dragoni. 

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.

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