Book Snob – A HUMAN ELEMENT by Donna Galanti – Review, Excerpt and Giveaway!
A Human Element by Donna Galanti
One by one, Laura Armstrong’s friends and adoptive family members are being murdered, and despite her unique healing powers, she can do nothing to stop it. The savage killer haunts her dreams, tormenting her with the promise that she is next. Determined to find the killer, she follows her visions to the site of a crashed meteorite–her hometown. There, she meets Ben Fieldstone, who seeks answers about his parents’ death the night the meteorite struck. In a race to stop a mad man, they unravel a frightening secret that binds them together. But the killer’s desire to destroy Laura face-to-face leads to a showdown that puts Laura and Ben’s emotional relationship and Laura’s pure spirit to the test. With the killer closing in, Laura discovers her destiny is linked to his and she has two choices–redeem him or kill him.
Reviewers are saying…
“A HUMAN ELEMENT is an elegant and haunting first novel. Unrelenting, devious but full of heart. Highly recommended.” –Jonathan Maberry, New York Times best-selling author of DEAD OF NIGHT
“A thrilling ride full of believable characters, a terrifying villain, an epic battle for survival, and a love worth killing for. A page-turner filled with fascinating twists and turns!” – Marie Lamba, author of WHAT I MEANT
Donna will be awarding a $50 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning: http://goddessfishpromotions.
In a few swift movements he slit the ropes binding Ben, who staggered back. The man caught him and held him up, then ripped off the duct tape.
“Who are you?” Ben’s body trembled from the rush of fear and a fierce headache pounded in his temple.
The man didn’t answer. He bent over one of the dead Samoans and pulled out a wallet. He looked inside and threw it at Ben. “It’s yours.” Then the man led him by the arm down the overgrown road where he handed Ben his clothes from the brush.
“Come on,” the man said. Ben looked back at the dead men sprawled face down. They oozed like two fat walruses sunning themselves in the moonlight. “Don’t worry about them. I’ll dump them later, somewhere they’ll never be found.”
In a daze, Ben followed his savior up the rough road, stumbling behind him in the dim moonlight.
“I’ll take you back to base and you’re on your own,” the man said once they reached his car, parked off the main road. “Don’t speak of this to anyone. Understand?”
Ben nodded and climbed in the car. He looked over at the stranger in black who had saved him. His mammoth biceps flexed as he drove, hunched over the wheel. Ben stared at him, and then a memory flickered. “Why are you following me? Why save me?”
“I’m an interested party. Leave it at that.”
“I can’t. I would have died up there for sure.”
The man didn’t respond.
The man looked at Ben. His green eyes glowed in the moonlight that filtered into the car.
“Someday you might not thank me. Someday you might not survive.”
The Human Element is beyond all else a good story. It’s original in concept and approach and had me invested in the story from the very beginning. I love the way the back stories were fleshed out and developed, creating a long timeline of suspense. Galanti has done a great job weaving together lit fic/horror/romance/suspense and fantasy. I read it in two days, unable to stop until I saw it through to the conclusion.
That being said, I’m finding this to be a hard review to write! I really liked The Human Element and from a pure reading perspective was mostly able to loose myself, but there were some things that bugged me and I’m finding that the more I like a book the harder I am on it. I find it easier to write a 2 or 5 star review than one like this, where I fall somewhere around a 4. So quickly, before I get lost in the muddle of trying to make a point, I’m going to list the issues I had and then get back to telling you why this is a great book and you should give it a try regardless of my complaints:
- The first two chapters have a date. After that all chapters are dateless, even though there is significant time jumping. This made it hard to read. Sometimes you didn’t get what age the characters were until a full page into the chapter, which for me meant having to go back and reread now that I knew where I was situated in time. An easy fix would be to at least year date all chapters. This was frustrating enough to make me stop reading for a while after chapter 4 or 5. When I came back to it I loved the story, but if I wasn’t reviewing I may have just walked away.
- Characterization was consistent – mostly. I had a hard time jumping from Laura the girl who just lost her parents to Laura the party drinkers hungover in college 4 years later. I’m not saying it wouldn’t happen, it probably would, and I’m not saying the characterization was off. The problem was that we made the time jump with no warning and it felt like a whiplash.
- Formal speech patterns were used for the dialogue. It was easy to see which scenes the author either wasn’t interested in or struggled with. Its interesting because for the most part Galanti’s use of language is beautiful. It flows easily and naturally from description to dialogue, except every now and because it’s usually so lovely, the hilted conversations really stand out. People, when speaking, usually don’t use the word “as” in a sentence. The scene in the coffee shop was particularly jarring.
- There was a niggling amount of “damsel in distress”, but I’ll forgive it mostly. I think Laura is supposed to be the “heart” kind of like LeLu in 5th element, and needs to be loved to fulfill her destiny. However, the number of times she’s carried through the woods, cradled against Ben’s chest got annoying. Hubby and I tried this, it really doesn’t work. Granted, we’re both pretty out of shape, but we came to the conclusion that in an emergency (like someone passing out in the woods or a cave collapsing on top of you) you would carry someone fireman style and there would be no cradling.
Despite these things, which could be more me as a reader than huge issues with the book, The Human Element is a fun read. It’s deep enough to make you think, possible enough to make you question and human enough to make you feel. *Edited to add – it’s now two weeks after I read this and I’m still thinking about the plot.*
I thoroughly enjoyed Ben’s story, which is probably some of the best written work in the book. It’s dynamic, violent and graphic. Just the way I like it. I was thoroughly impressed with Galanti’s characterization, world building and vivid descriptions. My favorite character though had to be Felix. His role was on the periphery from the beginning, creating mystery and suspense around him. The need to know more about him drove me to read faster and when his story was revealed I wasn’t disappointed. I won’t ruin the adventure for those of you out there, but his use of language, his appearance and his watchful presence all work together perfectly to create a really empathetic character.
I’m thrilled I got to read The Human Element and hope that some of you out there will give it a try, there’s a great old school horror feel to the beginning and scenes with X-10 as well as some excellent contemporary romance. Well done Miss Galanti, can’t wait to hear what you’re working on next.
Donna Galanti Bio:
Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense novel A HUMAN ELEMENT (Echelon Press). Donna has a B.A. in English and a background in marketing. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, The Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, and Pennwriters. She lives with her family in an old farmhouse in PA with lots of nooks, fireplaces, and stinkbugs but sadly, no ghosts. Visit her at: http://blog.donnagalanti.com/wp/