First Cause review by Daniel Cann!

Cover of First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

Cover of First Cause

Another review, this time in the UK! Reviewer Daniel Cann calls it “thoughtful and intelligent…excellent”. Read the review!

First Cause PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Cann
Wednesday, 07 March 2012
First Cause’ finds the world in chaos from a two-day battery of explosions in many of its major cities.A week after the explosions, journalist Adam Grey wakes up in hospital. He pieces together the events leading to his injury, involving a woman named Angela.Senator Cyrus Reardon has been appointed the new President of the United States’ decimated government. A politician who isn’t generally fond of his peers, he’s faced with leading a discordant provisional Cabinet, addressing the nation’s growing panic, and trying to separate fact from fiction.Confronted with the truth behind the attacks, they–along with the world at large–are forced to reconsider conventional assumptions about human nature and possibility.Everything we know is until we find out otherwise…This is an interesting début novel that was originally conceived by its author Paul West as a screenplay in the 1990s then shelved until 1999. Clearly this has been in development for quite some time, so does it succeed in hitting the mark?Well, West has written a political conspiracy thriller with an unexpected science fiction twist and it reminded me of the films of director M Night Shyamalan and also the television series ‘The Event.’

The Post 911 story says a lot about our fears, paranoia’s and prejudices. Despite the global plot the focus is mainly on ordinary people caught up in the events, thrusting them and the reader into the ensuing chaos. The reader is kept on their toes early on as they, like the characters, attempt to get to the bottom of what is going on.

This ‘world in crisis’ novel sees martial law declared, a curfew imposed and the continuing chilling attacks coming from an unknown and unseen enemy. I found ‘First Cause’ compulsive, gripping and intriguing. It is well-plotted with decent central characters in Adam, Angela and Gabe.

It does tend to meander at times, particularly when it offers unnecessary exposition and back-story. Not a major problem but I felt this could have benefited from tightening up in places.

The ending is unexpected and abrupt leaving things wide open for a sequel and I understand this is the first in a proposed trilogy. ‘First Cause’ is a cracking start thanks to its ideas and the themes it explores. This is a thoughtful and intelligent science fiction thriller and an excellent first effort. I eagerly await its sequel.

First Cause: A Novel About Human Possibility

By Paul West


About Paul West

Paul West offers thoughtful analysis of on-field and off-field sports topics via PDub's sports Hub, and for years was a core staff writer for Through The Fence Baseball. A recurrent guest on Fox Sports Radio New Mexico, Paul is available for radio and other media appearances. To follow Paul on @firstcausenyc on Twitter, visit View all posts by Paul West

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