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The Terminus List

Mark Schultz Interview/Review Click Here

Mandatory population control has been turned into halftime entertainment. This dystopian-themed story introduces some new twists to the genre with multiple universes, talented robots and democratic elections.
I enjoyed this story, there was a lot of action and the dialogue kept the story moving at a good pace. Some of the technology was a lot of fun.
We finally get our flying cars! Set in the year 3000, flying vehicles are the primary mode of transportation for the populous. I hope I don’t have to wait that long.
I award 3.8 stars to “The Terminus List”, the score would have been higher except for a lot of spelling errors. These errors have been corrected according to the author. Your reading pleasure will be improved.

Amazon Reviewer: Mr. Straub and his wild imagination have done it again. What begins as a grassroots struggle against a list with a bad outcome takes a strange and swift turn toward a much larger foe. Fighting on two fronts and maneuvering with the skill of a seasoned politician our heroin, Judy steers her subjects toward safety and security.
The novel is safe for all ages and entertaining for those who like a little fantasy mixed in with their sci-fi. The book is a smooth ride told by someone with the skill of a good storyteller—anyone who wants to read something non-offensive and have an escape in these troubled times – The Terminus List is an excellent choice.
(Richard DeVall, Amazon Review)

Amazon Reviewer: I was thrilled to see Stanley Straub had released a new book. While keeping with the scientific thriller genre I’ve come to enjoy from him, ‘The Terminus List’ is also political fiction. Much like social fiction, I love this genre, most specifically when it is done in a science fiction or fantasy atmosphere. This book in particular makes me think ‘Dean Koontz’ meets ‘George Orwell.’

There is a LOT to unpack here, so bear with me. And please remember that this is my personal interpretation.

The story begins with wife Judy and husband Bill as they view the annual extermination of randomly selected individuals whose name were placed on ‘The Terminus List,’ a legal procedure passed to help control not only the population count, but those citizens still living. The high-tech television, known as a visi-screen is an amazing piece of technology that allows the broadcaster to connect to its audience, quite literally. Bill fears that this connection (meant to allow for voting via fingerprints and read viewer satisfaction) is capable of much more, like getting inside his head to read his thoughts and sense his emotions.

There starts the stark difference between the two. Both are strong, dedicated people loyal to their loved ones, but while Bill is more the follower solely focused on the happiness of those around him, Judy is a definite leader with a tenacious tendency that borders on terrifying. After their daughter and her boyfriend are placed on The Terminus List, the couple decide it’s time for action. Judy accepts the situation as an invitation to overthrow the current government while Bill’s prim focus is simply keeping his family safe.

They manage to escape into new identities with the help of Mark, an incredibly gifted scientist of sorts. Even though it was already tense, this is where things get really interesting. Judy, having the full support of her husband and the other fugitives living under new identities, begins holding rallies to run for public office. The author brings in aspects of past/current political issues, including ‘The Silent Majority’ concept introduced and used by various conservative politicians. I found myself comparing Judy’s campaign to Trump’s in many ways.

The sentiment that ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ is very well acknowledged in this book. Starting with the best of intentions, along with the continued pure intentions of her followers, Judy’s desire for power and to run the world as she sees fit gradually grows to where it seems she has become a different person, not unlike those she had previously deemed evil or unfit. Everyone involved in her administration is faced with having to do things that they’d before seen as nothing less of evil and manipulative. ‘The greater good’ is another concept that comes to mind here. Even through this, Judy can be seen genuinely trying in to be a good person and leader, such as her wish to help the homeless instead of demonizing them.

However, she keeps having issues with reigning her emotions in to make sure her actions are noble instead of becoming as bad as what she sought to destroy, as she has found a love for the power and fame she has procured. In several ways it makes her blinded. For instance, there are times she comments on her opposition stooping so low as to do illegal things to get the advantage, while forgetting it was her own illegal activity that saved their family and how The Terminus List was a completely legal procedure. To me, this points out how the law should not be used as a definitive moral highground and how easy it is to become hypocritical if we’re lost (however good our intention is) in a single mindset or scheme.

This book also introduces a few different factions which outline the perception of good and evil as well as the various forms of collected thoughts in political or social parties. You have Judy and her family who are the rebels wanting to change the world for the better, only to realize in a world of politics, things aren’t always simple. Then there is Sara and her people who run the current government who are for the majority of the story seen as the corrupt leaders who don’t truly care for the people. However, it turns out they are not so completely different from Judy’s group. Both place high emphasis on the law, despite failing to be consistent about it, and struggle with keeping an innocent sense of morale versus the tough decisions their careers need to make. It’s also shown that the current regime is not near as evil as once thought, after new adversaries are discovered.

In addition, we’re shown two alien groups: one comprised of beings who wish nothing more to rape, torture, and murder and the other whose game isn’t entirely clear due to the mysteries surrounding them. Here, beliefs regarding immigration, including deportation versus legal sentencing (such as capital punishment and less-than-humane detainment) are brought up. In the story, the one race is provably inherently malicious while the other’s morality is more akin to real-life in that it can’t be definitively said all of them are bad. Just a reminder that this is my personal interpretation; I cannot claim to know anything of the author’s intended message or even if there was one. But what I took from it is a debate on whether or not IF evil (namely inherent evil) can be proven, how that changes the acceptable treatments of said persons in said situations from any/all political viewpoints. If everyone would end up agreeing or not on what the consequences would be.

All these groups share the common desire for power, to be able to run the world as they see fit, to help and destroy as they deem acceptable, and each sees the other as untrustworthy or even evil. The use of such an array of opposing mindsets further outlines the reality of how gray political, social, and even moral issues can be. It shows how in the end, how strong the majority wish is to see a change, even if that change comes with flaws or ends up being more devious or atrocious than where we currently stand, is what drives the mostly arbitrary shifts in the world and its leaders as we know it. It makes it difficult to see through everything to get to the truth, especially when you’ve become dedicated to something and someone else disagrees with you. Nobody wants to be wrong and most often, we all think we’re right and are willing to fight to the death about it.

I felt that Straub created an atmosphere that really made the reader think about politics from conservative and liberal standpoints as well as those in between, which is something I adore. The story was much more than just political intrigue. The scifi elements of the story (which include artificial intelligence, alien races, and awesome technology) kept it unique and entertaining throughout. Much as Straub has become known for, he has found a way to turn things on their heads in unsuspected ways. At the conclusion of the book, I literally told my phone, “Are you kidding me?” because there had already been a lot of curious revelations, yet the ending left us with one more: a big one too that drove home all the political/moral debates that I’ve commented on.

I’ll leave with a warning that if politics and the uncertainty of the world’s future in this aspect are touchy subjects, ‘The Terminus List’ could very well be too much for you. Go into it with a level head, and a mind that’s willing to be open.

POLITICAL FICTION DISCLAIMER: This book is a work of fiction meant for entertainment purposes. Any implication of political or social alignment of the characters or themes with real life politicians, parties, or political/social groups does not necessarily reflect the ideals of real persons, including the reviewer. This review is a nonbias reception of the content contained therein, not admission to association with or approval of any real-life entities or legalities. This review is a comment on the book for what it is: a work of fiction. (Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden, Amazon Review

Wally and the Fisherman

Amazon Reviewer:

I loved the humor and hubris of Wally. He was almost his own undoing! With a happy ending, depending on your point of view.  (Mark Schultz)

The Killer Within

Amazon Reviewer:  I found this book a very enjoyable read. Such a thrilling and unique mystery. I would definitely recommend reading it!  (Cmbjrb)

Amazon Reviewer:  Very good. Kept my interest.  (Eileen)

Amazon Reviewer:  While I kept turning the pages on this first novel by Stanley Straub, it did show his lack of professional writing experience. I’ll look forward to further novels by this gifted man, knowing that his skill will grow with his body of work.  (Barbara G. Lake)

Amazon Reviewer:  What I love most about this book is how the author uses the character relationships to accurately portray the horror of the mystery rather than leaving it all to gore, death, and the struggle of figuring out the cure for this strange new disease alone. Instead of the usual focus of such stories (oh crap, we can’t figure this out. this is bad), the audience is drawn into how the characters are coming to care for and know one another with the epidemic looming in the back of everyone’s mind. Fear of losing a loved one, especially when there is no way of knowing who will start to suffer and die (and when) and there is no clear hope of survival, is much more terrifying than simple violence. Kudos to Stanley Straub for another excellent tale! (Sahreth ‘Baphy’ Bowden)

Amazon Reviewer:  In this riveting book the bodies keep piling up and the race against the unknown keeps the reader turning the pages. Toss in an orphan and a nurse that wants kids and a doctor with sexual tension all over the place and you’ve got a romance novel inside a mystery inside a thriller. Stanley Straub books are always easy to follow and always a pleasure to read. They keep you guessing and it seems to be in his DNA to insert a love story buried inside most of his books.  They leave you feeling hopeful and I strongly recommend The Killer Within and all or any of his books. (Richard DeVall)

The Segmented Tail

Mark Schultz Interview/Review Click Here

Syfy enjoyed it. Easy reading and very suspenseful. I liked the ending but didn’t expect that kind of ending in the first part of the book. I recommend it to all my friends. (Amazon customer)

I enjoyed reading this book. It is very easy to read. It keeps your interest going through the whole book.  (Eileen)

This is one of those books that once you start reading it you won’t want to put it down. Stanley did an awesome job. Exciting and thrilling. Just what I needed.  (Jeanne)

This story was fun to read. Stanley did a nice job of creating tension among his characters and the dread regarding the murderous creatures was quite palpable. I kept wondering who was going to be eaten next.
There were quite a few plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. The scene-setting, action, and dialog were good. The town of Bounder felt quite real.
I give The Segmented Tail a score of 4.5 stars! The score would have been higher, but I found quite a few spelling errors. I believe they have been corrected so the reading will be that much smoother. (Mark Schultz Amazon review)

The Trail in the Woods

Professional Reviewer:  The Trail in the Woods review is a professional review done by Pacific Northwest Book Reviews.  The Trail in the Woods review is an unsolicited review written by Mr. Bob Sample.

The Trail in the Woods Review by Bob Sample @Pacific Northwest Book reviews:

“The Trail In The Woods” starts out as a story of a couple of childhood school buddies, one being brave and the other being meek. The friends decide to hike the devil’s trail, it being overgrown for years, they worked together to clear the trail. They encounter a mystical fog and strange apparitions before reaching an opening in the mountain. As the story goes on, their adventure is nothing as they expected. The story follows the couple’s journey, with an unexpected ending of the book. It’s an easy-to-read book with unexpected twists and turns. The writer has done a good job of keeping focused on the story. It’s witty, intense, scary and flows well. It’s one of those books that you shouldn’t look at the last page first. Read up to the ending to get a surprise that isn’t expected. I recommend reading this book.  (Bob Sample Professional reviewer)

Mark Schultz Interview/Review Click Here

I have to say I liked this story quite a bit! Mr. Straub takes us on another crazy ride, where so many things are not what they seem. I will not provide any spoilers here, you will have to read the story for yourself. This I will say, Stanley is good at his scene-setting; action and POV are done well also. Even with a large supporting cast, the protagonists are nicely defined. There are lots of changes in store for the hikers, and their worldview will be shaken, just like yours.
I award The Trail in the Woods a score of 4.3 stars, the score would have been higher except I found quite a few spelling errors.
I understand that the author has since corrected the errors and your reading will be smoother. Thank you, Mr. Straub. (Mark Schultz Amazon review)

Amazon Reviewer:

Imagine being held captive in paradise. Are you really a prisoner when all your needs are met and you’re taken care of by a being that loves you and wants nothing more than for you to be happy?

Cracks in the system begin to appear in the flawed thinking of the benevolent leader as his dreams and wishes become known and analyzed by those taken under his wing.

This suspenseful story is about persistence and fortitude. It’s about friends helping each other and the power of love. It’s also about maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

This novel has many twists and turns and it makes you think about the price of freedom and loyalty. Stanley Straub keeps you turning the pages and wondering how things are going to play out. Are the rebellious few going to be turned into electrical shadows of their former selves? Are they going to accept their fate and vote to raise a family in a safe environment?
It seems all the other choices are filled with danger and there are prying eyes all over the place. We don’t find out until the end and that’s what keeps us glued to the pages. This is a nice book that takes you on a journey to places that only Straub can imagine. (Richard DeVall, Amazon Review)