|Photo courtesy of BN.com|
The Furnace - a "locked-room" sci-fi murder mystery - is Timothy S. Johnston's debut novel.
Set far in the future in the year 2401, homicide investigator Lt. Kyle Tanner commutes from planet to planet in our solar system tracking down the universe's most pretentious killers. His latest assignment is to investigate a perplexing murder and post-death mutilation on SOLEX One, a remote space station that orbits only kilometers away from the Sun.
Upon boarding SOLEX One, Tanner begins to investigate and interview the space station's 15 inhabitants, a crew comprised of military personnel and scientists. Tanner soon learns that not only may he be hunting down a killer, but also a scientific anomaly that will endanger the entire human race.
As a reader who is typically bored and impatient with science-fiction, I was absolutely blown away by The Furnace.
The novel opens on our hero and protagonist, Kyle Tanner, floating around solo in space with only a few hours of oxygen remaining in his space suit. Giving us a short glimpse of Tanner's dangerous situation, author Johnston then takes us back in time to the beginning of the story, when Tanner is initially called upon to investigate the murder on SOLEX One.
The first portion of The Furnace is written in pure, detective, Sherlock-Holmes style, with Tanner investigating the murder and speaking with everyone on the entire space station regarding the crime. Near the second half of the book, The Furnace dramatically picks up in action, resulting in non-stop suspense until the novel's end.
The Furnace had me officially hooked after reading a scene near the beginning, in which Tanner meets with a scientist named Reggie Hamatsui, who begins to ramble and lecture Tanner about the structure of the Sun. Here's why I was hooked from that point forward:
Readers who are unfamiliar with general science-fiction often become lost among the unexplained terminology within the first few pages of a sci-fi novel. The example above is exactly the type of sci-fi "lesson" and explanation needed to make readers of any kind feel right at home with The Furnace and enjoy it fully, regardless of their usual reading preferences.
This factor alone is what makes Johnston stand out as an exemplary novelist - because he can indirectly pull in readers who favor any genre - not just fans of sci-fi.
As for the mystery itself, Tanner's investigation is very intricate, and is difficult to solve given the large cast of characters. Seasoned mystery readers will be pleased with and challenged by The Furnace.
It excites me to be part of the discovery process in regards to finding new and talented self-publishing authors. I'm very proud and excited that authors such as Johnston can participate in this rapid, digital-publishing revolution.
If you enjoy the science-fiction genre, then definitely read The Furnace, especially if you enjoy reading about the solar system, planets, and outer space.
If you're a fan of suspense and detective novels, you may also enjoy The Furnace - I bet you won't figure out the mystery.
Best of all, if you are a person who typically dislikes or hates sci-fi, or is extremely wary of the genre, give it another try with The Furnace! Johnston writes in a way that will make you feel familiar and right at home with science-fiction.
To get this novel from iTunes, click on The Furnace.
You can also link to the author's website and Facebook pages at Timothy S. Johnston's Facebook and http://timothysjohnston.com.
If you liked The Furnace, you may also enjoy Mars by Ben Bova, The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, Gateway by Frederick Pohl, and perhaps any murder mystery by Agatha Christie featuring detective Hercule Poirot, such as Poirot Investigates.
Click on any of the images of the books below to review them in more detail on Amazon.com.
What are your favorite science-fiction novels? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.