My recreational reading habits involve reading quite a bit of science fiction. The genre is extremely deep. There are plenty of well known, popular authors and books to choose from, but I love discovering the lesser known, sometimes self-published ones. The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd is one such example. I’m not sure how it ended up on my reading list, but my best guess would be that I found it through the Amazon recommendation engine. Either way, it was in my preferred genre, and the description and reviews made it sound like an interesting read.
The premise of the book doesn’t sound all that compelling on the surface. A down-on-his-luck reporter gets a chance at the story of a lifetime when a large stone man shows up at the center of his town. At first, I was wondering how this was considered science fiction and what I got myself into. However, when the stone man starts moving, all hell breaks loose. At that point I was hooked. While some parts of the plot are predictable, there are plenty of twists to make the book interesting and engaging to the point of being hard to put down. I’m not going to go any deeper into the story than that to avoid revealing any spoilers.
Besides the story, there were a couple of things about the book that I particularly liked. First, it’s written primarily from the first person point of view. Some may not like this, but I like it a lot when it’s done well, as it is here. I find it draws me into the story deeper. The second thing I liked is that the book is written by an English author and set in the UK. Since the majority of the books I read are by American authors, and centered in the US, it’s always interesting to read a book from a bit of a different perspective. It stretches the mind a bit.
Bottom line, I like The Stone Man, a lot. I would put it in my Fun Read category of books. It definitely makes me want to consider another book by Smitherd in the future. Speaking of which, Smitherd provides a very helpful afterword to the book in which he tells you which of his books would make the most sense to read next. Not only is it a genius marketing move, it is also extremely helpful, which I appreciated. More authors would be well served to copy his approach. I bet they would both sell more books and create more fans that way.