Title: The Punch Escrow | Author: Tal M. Klein | Publisher: Geek & Sundry | Pub. Date: 2017-7-25 | Pages: 319 | ASIN: B073PBBL7C | Genre: Science Fiction Thriller | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration.
The Punch Escrow
It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!
Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.
Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.
The Punch Escrow Review
The Punch Escrow took me forever to read, and to be completely honest – I’m not sure why! I never at any point disliked the story. In fact, The Punch Escrow is right up my alley of types of books I do like. Now, I’ve encountered this situation before, as happened with my trying to reading David L. Golemon’s Supernaturals. The difference there was that almost from the beginning I could pinpoint the biggest problem (complete and utter lack of atmosphere). With The Punch Escrow, though, I was left wondering at several points why I had to force myself to read this book.
I think part of it might be that I have an aversion to footnotes. While they do give a bit of good information about the story that helps flesh it out, they always distract me. I have the attention span the size of a gnat. The fact that I can sit down and read a book from cover the amount of times I do is amazing. So when you ask me to take a break from the story to read the footnote, you’ve just distracted me from the story. And once I’m gone – I’m gone. Punch Escrow has a fair amount of footnotes.
Also, while I liked Joel well enough, his character was never enough to actually make me want to root for him. It was interesting watching him going through everything, and trying to puzzle everything out along with him but he just wasn’t an interesting character himself. I have to say, my favorite character in The Punch Escrow was probably the ambulance. I loved that ambulance. And the peeing mosquitos. Those things will stay with you for a while.
I think that The Punch Escrow would make an awesome sci-fi thriller film. In fact, I had a much easier time staying engaged with the book when I started thinking of it in terms of a movie. This was aided by the fact that around the 70% point, the action in the book picks up noticeably. Prior to that, it mires down a bit so that it’s easy to not realize that a good bit of stuff is actually happening.
Overall, I liked Tal M. Klein’s world. I think he does an excellent job of building off our now to make a believable future. There were portions of the book that had me laughing. Other sections that had me sitting back, nodding, and realizing that – yeah – if certain things do develop, it would probably start with something like what he posited. I think he has a solid imagination, and, all things considered, I did enjoy the novel. Just not as much as I should have.
Buy Link: Amazon