Friday, July 24, 2015

Doorway to Your Dreams by John P. Goetz

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 Author: John P. Goetz
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
Age Rating: Adult - violence, language
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publicist in exchange for an honest review

Doorway to Your Dreams by John P. Goetz is a science fiction thriller about Oban DeCarlo's master plan to use humans with supernatural powers to create remote weapons of mass destruction. His program, Operation Traumland, is a fully funded Black Ops program located in an abandoned lab on Plum Island, New York. DeCarlo has created a laboratory where human ethics have been consciously abandoned, and the success of the mission is more important than any human life. When the novel begins, DeCarlo has already disposed of dozens in preliminary tests and is now ready for subjects with superhuman powers to finalize his first version of the eagerly anticipated U.S. weapon system. DeCarlo identifies and captures a US Army Helicopter Pilot serving in Vinh Long, South Vietnam in July 1967, by organizing a covert operation using North Vietnamese soldiers to kidnap the American they have nicknamed, “Demon” for his uncanny ability to easily find and kill their comrades. “Demon,” known as “Spooncake” by his fellow US Army colleagues, can hear the thought-noise from those around him, and sees spikes of color emanating from people many miles away. The spears of color in the sky depict the emotions of those below. Red, yellow, pink, black, white, turquoise, orange, and green indicate the collective feelings of calm, commotion, intensity, confidence, confusion, and death. His abilities make finding enemy troops easy; he needs only to fly toward the color red signifying anger and let his gunner, Baxter Hammond, take care of the rest. Their hit ratio is legendary. DeCarlo has also identified Linda Fisher, a beautiful card shark living in Las Vegas with a psychic ability to know how the cards will play before they are dealt, making her excessive winning streak a target for the Vegas casino bosses. DeCarlo’s men kidnap her and take her to his laboratory to be another specimen in Operation Traumland. “Spooncake” and Linda are to be used as Operation Traumland’s Adam and Eve. On the island, their supernatural and psychic abilities are channeled and amplified to build an undetectable human war machine. Ultimately, Linda becomes the only person able to bring the tragic, almost dead war hero, “Spooncake,” back to life and plots their escape. Their story follows a perilous journey to freedom, while maintaining honor, seeking revenge, and escaping the horrors of a fanatical sadist focused on doing anything to complete his dream of creating an unimaginable army of unseen killers.
Tim "Spooncake" McAllister is not your typical protagonist. On one hand, he seems like a down-to-earth guy who just so happens to have some pretty unique talents. On the other hand, those talents are responsible for the deaths of many men in the Vietnam War. In the end he was doing his job as a soldier, fighting the enemy and using his gifts to his advantage and I couldn't help but really like him. His ability to hear other people's thoughts without even trying and being unable to touch anyone for fear of seeing their futures undoubtedly made life extremely difficult, but he still acted with kindness toward his fellow soldiers and civilians. On the other side of the coin is Oban DeCarlo, a complete psychopath who is determined to make Operation Traumland a reality. In essence, he wants to make assassins who can travel through a different plane of existence and murder without being detected. It's the perfect crime really, because the physical body is miles away and no one would ever suspect. The author did reveal some details about DeCarlo's childhood that made me feel bad for him; these feelings didn't last long, however. He needed Spooncake for his plans because of his gifts, but he also abducts a young woman named Linda who has a useful ability of her own. She's integral to how the story plays out and I wish we got to know her a little better, maybe see more of how her relationship with Spooncake evolved in the beginning.

The storyline itself was interesting, suspenseful, tragic, and, at times, hopeful. It spans from 1967 to 1997, with a few brief flashbacks to childhood, so you basically get to follow Spooncake through his whole life which is fascinating. The novel painted a pretty terrifying picture of the lengths madmen will go to in order to accomplish their goals; while Operation Traumland is a thing of science fiction, and Oban DeCarlo is fictional, the reality of people using others against their will is real. It's frightening to think that there are human beings out there like him right now, with no regard for the lives of others.

Doorway to Your Dreams was very well written, and even though it occasionally jumped forward or back in years, the whole story moved along at a nice pace. The author did a great job describing the world without overloading us with visuals. I don't want to give away too much about the end, but I will say that it was a very satisfying conclusion.

If you're looking for a compelling science fiction novel with a unique setting, then I recommend you check out Doorway to Your Dreams.

To learn more about the author, John P. Goetz, and his other works, please visit the following links:
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