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Book Review – The Ares Weapon by D.M. Pruden

The Ares WeaponThe Ares Weapon by D.M. Pruden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Ares Weapon by D.M. Pruden is a novella sized, Indie Sci-Fi/thriller. Dr Melanie Destin has a dream to start a new life on Mars. She is unwittingly coaxed into taking on a new job and soon finds out that not all is what it’s meant to be.

The Bad Stuff: Let me start by saying that I was conflicted with this book, so please don’t stop reading at the bad stuff, there are good things to say too. This book had a lot of issues for me. The content could do with a copy edit/proof read as there are several missing conjunctive words, double conjunctive words (ie. the the) and at least one spelling mistake throughout the book. There are also quite a few Latin words used in the story, and while I understand what the author was trying to achieve, I found this distracting. A bigger issue in my opinion, is that chapters jump from third person to first person narrative and back. I am not a fan of first person and in one particular paragraph it seemed like every sentence started with ‘I’. There was also some head hopping, thoughts shown in italics in some places, yet plain text in others, and a mirror scene used to describe the protagonist. I found some issues with the logic in the story too – The whole squatter thing didn’t make sense to me. Squatters rarely look after a squat house and it is even rarer that they leave of their own accord. Besides, it would make more sense to rent your apartment out if you knew you would be away for an extended period, especially if you are saving for your dream. As a reader I would also have been more sympathetic to the protagonist if she had not so easily (and so willingly) reverted to her old life, but rather had been set up to make it look like she had done so.

The Good Stuff: Okay, I’ve had a little rant above about the bad stuff, now let’s look at the positives of this book. Putting aside all the issues above, I actually enjoyed the story and found it easy to read. I think the author has a good concept of sentence and paragraph length. There are well constructed sentences (outside of those that have lost a word or have repeated the same word twice) and the prose runs smoothly. There is a good balance of description, narrative and dialogue and there’s also some good lines in the story, like ‘The smell of unwashed bodies hung in the poor airflow of the hundred-year-old tram car.’ There were little touches in this story that brought it to life for me, things like water rations running out in the shower and having to pay a premium for five more minutes. There has also been a lot of work put into the plot, and while I questioned some of the turns, I accepted them freely enough because I was enjoying the story and wanted to see how things worked out. The characters are well formed and there is both a strong protagonist and a ruthless antagonist, who both play key parts in the story and help to develop the plot. Another thing to note is that while I’m not a fan of first person, apart from the one paragraph that annoyed me, it was done very well.

I don’t normally read Sci-Fi or Thrillers, but on the whole this is a good, enjoyable read. I feel that if the author spends a little time fixing up some of the issues and releasing a version 2, it could end up as a great book. I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 golden bookmarks.

View all my reviews

An Interview With Nik Krasno


An Interview with Nik Krasno.

Nik Krasno is a fiction writer, writing in the genre of Crime/thriller. He is also a moderator for the growing Goodreads group ‘Wealth, Writing, World’. But don’t let me tell you about Nik, let’s find out more from the man himself.

Allan: Hi Nik, thanks for taking the time to be interviewed for my blog. Why don’t you start by telling us a little about yourself?

Nik: Hi Allan, thanks for hosting me in the DownUnder and your virtual space -:)

Born in Kiev (Ukraine, then- USSR) in the seventies I immigrated to Israel when the enormous Soviet Empire opened its borders and started crumbling only to return there for business 8 years later.

By the time I had accomplished my law degree, Ukraine came out independent from the Big Bang of the USSR and offered endless business opportunities. I established (with partners) an international law firm and managed it during its first years. I counselled a wide range of multinational sovereign, corporate and individual clients, engaged in diverse areas and industries. Simultaneously with promoting the law office, I worked for an international business group and took part in different projects primarily in real estate as well as in privatization, defence, medicine and telecommunication in Ukraine and some other countries, sharing time between family in Israel and work and business mostly in former USSR countries.

Witnessing the meteoric rise under new capitalist rules of a small number of individuals from modest Soviet citizens to mighty billionaires, who often neglected any rules or laws, I felt compelled to expose to the world the unique phenomenon taking place in this less familiar part of the globe. The fictional plot of my series combines real and imaginary events with some lawyers’ “folklore”, known corruption and criminal schemes customary for Ukraine and other former USSR republics. I offer some insight and interpretation into the glorious and simultaneously tragic events of the 2013 uprising, ensuing Russian aggression in Crimea and tensions and war in the Eastern regions of Ukraine.

Moneymaking always has an audience. Inspired by the popularity of movies about Zuckerberg, Gates and Jobs, I thought some Eastern European billionaires had ‘spicier’ career paths and tried to offer a fictional insight into making billions of dollars in once socialistic country.

I currently live in Israel and work as an independent legal practitioner and an author.

Allan: As an author you have already released a few books, including: Be First or Be dead, Mortal Showdown and Rise of an Oligarch. Which of these did you most enjoy writing and why?

Nik: Probably – Mortal Showdown. After ending the first book (Rise of an Oligarch) with a cliff-hanger, I was very anxious myself to find out how Michael (the protagonist) proceeds and whether he survives, so I just helped him… by writing the 2nd instalment and thus solving the riddle for myself and hopefully – the readers -:)

Allan: For your fans and to satisfy my own curiosity, what are you working on now or what will be your next project?

Nik: After releasing the 3rd instalment and placing a short in an anthology, I’m hesitating where to head: whether to finish the series or try other projects. So I’m toying with a few ideas and not writing anything at the moment.

Allan: When you’re not writing, what authors do you like to read, and which writers have inspired you?

Nik: I like diverse stuff, including sci-fi/fantasy, thrillers, contemporary, classic adventures and so on. Not sure I can pinpoint inspiration, but certainly there was some influence of Mario Puzo – for Oligarch is a Godfather in a sense – a Ukrainian mafia billionaire, of Irvine Welsh – for encouraging literary mischief and of Tarantino – for cool and raw action and grotesque.

Allan: Is there any advice you would give a newbie author, just trying to get started as a writer?

Nik: To first make money elsewhere and then just enjoy being an author -:) When sales aren’t a concern, it’s fun, but if you count on a career, be prepared for long years of obscurity which may result in some glory in the end, but equally, even most likely, – may not.

Allan: Well that just about wraps things up, thanks again for contributing to my blog Nik and good luck with your writing.

You can find out more about Nik and his books by clicking here

Just A Quick Update.

darkness-in-shadows-cover-large-title-for-ebook      Low Life eCover-72dpi-1500x2000

 Darkness In Shadows and Low Life are now available from iBooks, kobo, Page Foundry, Scribd and tolino.

Interested in a free e-copy of “Darkness in Shadows”?


If you are interested in getting a free copy of “Darkness In Shadows” head over to Sci-Fi and Scary. This blog enables readers to review books with the comfort of knowing the author will not be advised who completed the review.

This short story will be available on Sci-Fi and Scary for 1 month only. So if you’re interested, get in while the offer stands.


Downtime – What do you do when you’re not reading or writing?

I have just had 2 weeks off my day job and took the time to relax and have some fun. I figured if I’m going to take a break, I may as well put down my pen and take a break from my writing too. So, here is what I got up to over the last 2 weeks.

I took a trip to Toowoomba and visited the Cobb and Co. museum. Here is one of their Royal Mail coaches, some good old fashioned wind pumps outside and me having a bit of a laugh.

I visited an old church to admire the architecture. Here are a few pictures of the church and one of the old church buildings beside it.


And here I am enjoying a ‘Schooner’ of beer at the pub.

After Toowoomba it was back home for a few nights before heading to Surfers Paradise.


The beach here is truly beautiful and the surf life saver huts reminded me of Baywatch.

There is so much to do at surfers. I even did a few things I never thought to put on my bucket list, but really enjoyed, like virtual golf and shooting a hand gun.

Keeping in theme with my blog (and for all you book lovers out there), I also came across what I believe is an old printing press and this bookcase at the shooting range (the last place I thought I would see something like this).

Well, that’s pretty much it for my update. What do you do when you’re not reading or writing?