Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: Kubrick's Game by Derek Taylor Kent

Title:  Kubrick's Game
Author:  Derek Taylor Kent
Genre:  Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Publisher: Evolved Publishing
Release Date:  August 7, 2016

About the Book (from back cover and more):

What if Stanley Kubrick left behind more than just his classic films? What if he also left behind an elaborate puzzle cleverly buried within his films, which would lead the player toward a treasure that could change the course of human history?

"A thrilling page-turner, thrilled with mystery and puzzles designed by a cinematic genius." ~Jennifer Bosworth, Author of "Struck" and "The Killing Jar"

Fifteen years after his death in March 1999, Stanley Kubrick has apparently arranged a hand-selected announcement that his films are far more than they appear to be. As UCLA's resident Kubrick expert, Professor Mascaro was the recipient of Kubrick's package. Inside is a reproduction of the famous photo Kubrick took for the cover of Look Magazine following the death of FDR. The image to the right has become emblazoned in the American zeitgeist.
On the back of the photo is a message written by Kubrick that reads: "Follow me to Q's identity." Mascaro is stumped and asks Shawn Hagan, his brilliant but socially awkward film student, what he thinks that might mean.
Shawn takes the photo and studies it with his only two friends at school-Wilson Devereaux, an infamous former child star bent on becoming a respected director, and Samira "Sami" Singh, a graduate film student with a dark, rebellious past.
The friends initially come up empty, but upon discovering a missing piece of the puzzle Mascaro strangely decided not to reveal at first, Shawn realizes that the answer to Q's identity is hidden within the dialogue and imagery of the first film Kubrick had complete control over-"Lolita."
The clues lead the friends to an old hotel in New York, where a mysterious package has been held by the concierge for twenty years. The package contains the next clue in the puzzle as well as a filmed message from Kubrick himself that confirms the construct of the elaborate game.Unfortunately, the friends also learn that at least two other groups have recently uncovered this first part of the puzzle, which puts them a step behind.
By the end, Kubrick will have proven his genius to be unmatched, when the game takes the player far beyond the boundaries of reality and sends him into the darkest realms of the human mind in order to make it to the final stage. This climactic set piece is surely the most difficult and diabolical puzzle ever created by man.
Shawn will have to face his own demons and reconnect with those who care about him in order to receive the great treasure that is Kubrick's final legacy and gift to humanity.
"Like Kubrick's films, this book dazzles. A fascinating mind-bender that any movie fan will geek out for." ~ EJ Altbacker, Author of "SharkWars" and "Handy Andy Saves the World"
KUBRICK'S GAME by Derek Taylor Kent
Evolved Publishing presents a mind-blowing, often comedic, sometimes tragic, always entertaining look at an extraordinary "What If?" adventure.

Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble Goodreads

My Review:

This is one of those books that you will either love or hate.  For me... I loved it!  And I'm not even a film buff or a fan of Stanley Kubrick!  But I AM a fan of mysteries!  And this book had mystery on every page.

About one third into the story, I didn't think the characters were very well developed, but the more I read, the more I began to "know" them.  They still weren't as developed as I would have liked, but what the author, Derek Taylor Kent, did with the story line made up for that.

There was a touch of young adult, college-type, humor thrown in that made me chuckle and just enough suspense to hold my intrigue.  And there was a touch of romance (but no tingles.. and you know how I love tingles).  But what really fascinated me was the game itself.  This wasn't your typical scavenger hunt.  This game took the type of intelligence that few people... even people in the film industry... would have.

The story starts out with a nerdy, socially awkward college student, Shawn Hagan, attending a film class at UCLA and proceeds to argue with his professor beginning with the professor's pronunciation of Stanley Kubrick's name. The disagreement goes downhill from there, but Shawn is later called into Professor Mascaro's office and is shown a photo with a message written on the back from the famous Stanley Kubrick himself. This was the first in a long line of clues establishing the "game".  Shawn enlists the help of two friends, Sami and Wilson, and the game is on!  But as they proceeded they realized that they were not the only people playing this game.  Students from other universities were also involved... and some real bad guys too!  These were the kind of bad guys with guns.

I was provided the audio version of this book for my review, and although I appreciated that (I love Audible!), I can't help but feel I was a bit cheated when I realized that the book itself contained pictures that enhanced the story.  I may just go buy the book to see more for myself!  As for the audio version, I must say that the narrator was wonderful!  They actually used different actors for some of the different voices.  It was extremely well done.  So, whichever you choose, book or audio, be prepared for an intriguing tale!

*Disclaimer: I received a complimentary Audible copy provided by the Reader's Favorites with the sole purpose of an honest review.  All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

My Rating:

About the Author:

Derek Taylor Kent is an author and screenwriter based out Los Angeles, CA. His first novel thriller novel, KUBRICK'S GAME, was picked up by Evolved Publishing and is due for release, September 26, 2016. His popular book series, SCARY SCHOOL (written under pen name Derek the Ghost), won an award for “Funniest Chapter Book of 2011” by Children’s Literature Network, and has become a favorite for middle-readers. Derek's bilingual picture book EL PERRO CON SOMBRERO was released August, 2015 through Holt/Macmillan and was a #1 best-selling new picture book. It continues to be a beloved and top selling picture book. 

His horror screenplay NAUGHTY is currently in production with Gearshift and Paradox Factory Films, and he is currently working on content for narrative Virtual Reality through his company Wondrous VR. 

Derek started writing children’s books at the age of 15. His other book series include SIMON AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM and RUDY AND THE BEAST. He toured the nation with his one-man children’s show, MICHAEL JORDAN’S MAGIC SHOES, which he wrote and performed while attending UCLA’s School of Theater. 

Kent has also written and produced many children's plays with sold-out runs at the Westside Playhouse and Culver City Public Theatre and has acted in many stage plays, musicals and films. He's been a mentor at summer camps and children’s programs, overseeing creative storytelling and dramatic arts. 

Derek the Ghost ("author" of Scary School) is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School, writing down all the spine-tingling often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninjas. If that doesn't work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on earth. Derek the Ghost communicates through the first-time ghost whisperer Derek Taylor Kent, who is a writer and performer in Los Angeles, California.


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