Review of “Amortals” by Matt Forbeck

AmortalsDRAFT-front-72dpi-186x300Full disclosure: I’ve had a couple of drinks with Matt in the past. However, I paid for my own copy of this book.

(Yes, another review. What can I say? I had some time to get some reading done over vacation. And I picked up Amortals about the same time as In Hero Years…I’m Dead. So, naturally, I had to read them one right after the other as well.)

Amortals is about a Secret Service agent who is part of the Amortals Program. When he dies, his clone is activated with his last backed-up memories. This time, he’s sent to investigate his own murder, which is particularly gruesome and shocking. I found the premise similar to how clones work in the fiction of EVE Online, which is what initially interested me in the book, but I quickly got swept up in the action movie premise. Over time, the book throws you a few curves, and near the end there’s some good digging into the moral implications and concerns of a society that clones the rich and powerful on a regular basis.

Like In Hero Years, there’s an afterword in which Matt talks about the process of writing the novel. He says he’s shopped around a draft of this in various forms for fifteen years, and I think that shows in the book. Whereas Mike’s book was a fountain of exploratory writing that focused on character emotion, this is a manuscript that has been revised and polished and tweaked for maximum effect, and the plot is highly tuned as a result. I don’t think one style is better than the other, but reading them back to back did give me an appreciation of how each approach creates a different style of narrative.

Matt is at the top of his game in creating a fun and engaging story. If you like action thrillers, this is a good book to pick up.

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