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  • The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller, Book 1

  • By: Luke Smitherd
  • Narrated by: Matt Addis
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (4,080 ratings)

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The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller, Book 1 cover art

The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller, Book 1

By: Luke Smitherd
Narrated by: Matt Addis
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Summary

The #1 Amazon and Audible best seller, shortlisted for Audible UK's Audiobook of the Year Award 2015

Nobody knew where it came from.

Nobody knew why it came.

When an eight-foot-tall man made of stone appears in the middle of a busy city center one July afternoon, two-bit (and antisocial) reporter Andy Pointer assumes it's just a publicity stunt.

Indeed, so does everyone else...until the Stone Man begins to walk, heading silently through the wall of the nearest building, flattening it, and killing several people inside as a result.

As efforts by the local police - and soon the government - to halt the Stone Man's inexorable progress prove futile, only three questions are on the watching world's lips:

Where has it come from, where is it going, and what does it want?

Andy is determined to be the first person to answer those questions; after all, he was there when it arrived. Surely the headaches and visions he's experiencing are proof of a mental connection to the Stone Man. Clearly his dreams of champagne and notoriety are all about to be fulfilled once he uncovers the truth...and the scoop of a lifetime.

In a pursuit that carries him the length of the country and the breadth of the Atlantic, Andy uncovers the jagged pieces of an increasingly terrifying puzzle. As the number of lives lost in the wake of the Stone Man reaches grim figures, the terrible results of Andy's blind determination force him to confront the savagery of human nature.

When irresistible forces aren't met by immovable objects, how far is too far? Andy must discover the answer - and find out who he really is - in the shadow of the Stone Man.

©2012 Luke Smitherd (P)2015 Luke Smitherd

Critic reviews

" The Stone Man is a novel that intrigues, enthralls, horrifies, thrills, and hits the reader with an emotional resonance as only the best stories can." ( Ain't It Cool News)

What listeners say about The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller, Book 1

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    5 out of 5 stars

I Hate Luke Smitherd!

Okay so I once again followed my normal process with a Luke Smitherd novel. It goes like this: Read the premise. Think to myself “there is no way he can make a compelling story out of that, at least I can finally write a bad review on him this time”. Then pontificate about this for some time and spectacularly fail to imagine how it could possibly be any good. Eventually read it anyway, struggle to put it down. Love it!

All I can say is that it really is a good thing for all of us that the grey matter between Mr Smitherd’s ears works rather better than the obviously second rate gloop that occupies the space between my personal wax deposits!

In my defence . . . that premise is . . . some bloke made of stone just up and appears in the middle of Coventry and starts walking in a straight line smashing stuff up. I mean, come on! Even as a five year old if good old Bernard Cribbins had started an episode of Jackanory like that I would have switched the TV off in disgust at being taken for such a fool. It’s just not acceptable for authors to ambush me with an excellent book when the blurb just sounds so flaming daft! Despite all the other positive reviews I still felt sure that I’d got him this time.

Of course that’s the problem with our Luke. You can’t trust him as far as you can bloody well throw him! Somehow, some way this is the best of his books that I have read yet. The sheer ordinariness of the setting, the basic humanity of the characters and the slowly revealed plot blew me away. This is an author that doesn’t need grand scenery, outlandish rogues for characters or to lay waste to one of the world’s best known capital cities to grab your attention. He does it with the sheer quality of his story-telling.

The narration by Matt Addis is first class. He conveys emotion and the tension of the situation in compelling tones and does almost sound like he’s going to crack up himself at some points. It is a very convincing performance. The book’s highlight for me was when our two main protagonists meet the Sargent, I don’t do spoilers so won’t go into more detail. However, the beautiful story-telling of the author and the fine performance of the narrator make this one of the most powerful scenes I have ever listened to.

So, Mr Smitherd, I am going to find a book of yours that I can read, feel able to criticise and write a bad review of it kills me.

This, quite simply, was never going to be it though. It just should have been given that awful premise, stone men rising up in Coventry . . . mutter, mutter, Bernard would never have done that to me. He cared for my sanity!

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50 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Original British SF...absolutely loved it!!

Would you consider the audio edition of The Stone Man to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the paper copy but always prefer audio if the narration is good...and Matt Addis was perfect.

What did you like best about this story?

The mystery...I was hooked within the first 5 minutes and then couldn't stop listening to it. I wanted to make it last but ended up ripping through it in 2 days. If I was listening to it whilst driving I'd take the longer way home so I could 'just finish this chapter'. Now I'm annoyed that I've finished it too fast...but this is one that I will listen to many more times in the future. I also loved the fact that it's written by a British author and is set mostly in England and Scotland...I even found myself looking on googlemaps to see whether the transport museum exists and how far Coventry is from Sheffield!

Have you listened to any of Matt Addis’s other performances? How does this one compare?

This was the first Matt Addis audio I've listened to and I thought he did a brilliant job...I couldn't fault it. I loved his portrayal of the main characters, and he even did a decent female voice. He also sounded like he actually enjoyed reading the book which seems to be missing from a lot of the narrators I've come across on audible. After finishing The Stone Man I immediately looked for other audio titles by Luke Smitherd and on finding none I then went searching through everything Matt Addis has narrated to see what else I could listen to.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

yes... but I won't spoil the story by revealing them here, other than to say that I laughed in some places and was genuinely moved by some passages. I was also surprised in places when something happened that I really didn't expect...at one point I actually clapped my hand to my mouth and said 'oh s**t!'. So yes, I'd say that was an emotional reaction.

Any additional comments?

Make sure you listen to Luke's afterword at the end of the book and write a review. I've never written a review before because I always think nobody is going to be interested in my opinion but Luke's afterword made me realise how important ratings and reviews are, especially for self-published authors. I hope we see his other works available on audible soon.

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45 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Very repetitive

I’m sorry to say that I really didn’t enjoy this one; it’s taken me a long time to finish! I found it to be incredibly repetitive, and the characters / narration very belligerent. The premise is interesting but because so much of the book is spent rephrasing itself the plot doesn’t really go far. Thumbs down I’m afraid.

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25 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

echoes of wyndham

Overall I really enjoyed the book but found the change in narrative style at the end to detract more than it added. Living in the Midlands I really liked the centres of action being ordinary places rather than defaulting to London etc I am a huge fan of John Wyndham and this is the closest I've come in a recent novel to his first person narrative account of ordinary people caught up in amazing and horrible things. Having a journalist at the heart of it increased the similarity to Wyndham. Very well read.

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24 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Thoroughly enjoyed.

Luke, this is the first one of your books I have listened to. I'm usually a B.V. Larson and Patrick Lee kinda guy. But, this book was very addictive. I always know when I book feels right, when I come across a huge tail back on the M25 and just don't care... because a good audible book is with me. Well Luke, I had many a happy hour sitting there! Thank you for helping me with it. John.

webzards@hotmail.co.uk

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Simple, gripping, with minor faults

Luke Smitherd takes a very simple concept and builds a very enjoyable and moreish book around it. Like all the "sci-fi" I really enjoy, this book really isn't about the sci-fi. It's about the characters' journeys and keeping you guessing, while just happening to have some sci-fi elements to the situation.

The two main characters are fairly likeable, and you really end up getting inside their heads. There was one point in the story where I was actually fighting back tears, which is always a sign I'm emotionally invested.

Not much bad stuff to say about the story really. Personally, I tend to like a little more resolution at the end of books, and there are some elements left open in this, but it works well, and I can see why the author chose to do so.

The narration by Matt Addis is also excellent. He characterises well, reads clearly, naturally, and makes it sound real.

However, this leads to the one negative thing I have to say about the book (well, the audio production really).... The majority of the book is written in the first person, as the character "Andy", reading into a dictaphone. This works really well, and you get to feel like Matt Addis IS Andy, that you're actually hearing him speaking on the recording.

Towards the end of the book, it switches to third-person, and suddenly you're hearing Addis as a narrator, not as Andy, which is really jarring. Also the little beeps between chapters, put in earlier to signify Andy stopping an starting the dictaphone are still there in the third-person narrated sections, which doesnt make sense.

It's not a massive problem, but with Addis's success in making you think you're listening to Andy, it would actually have been better if these sections had been read by a different person.

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17 people found this helpful

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Fantastic book !!

This is one of the most original books I've ever read, and now listened too. Fantastic fast paced story and a haunting ending that really stays with you. Well done Luke !!!!!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping story, original idea, well paced

Would you consider the audio edition of The Stone Man to be better than the print version?

Yes, Matt Addis brings real depth to the characters. He also appears to be an adept Sean Bean impersonator if we ever need a spare.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I'd love to say Patrick, but really it has to be Paul or the brigadier. Henry choked me up a little

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Henry's extraction

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was hooked, but I appreciate that is not necessarily an emotional reaction. I did genuinely get choked up by Henry and the respect shown to him.

Any additional comments?

I got this on a whim and I am really pleased I did, I don't usually go in for this genre but its location and original idea enticed me to give it a go. Luke is a great story-teller I am now keen to discover more of his work.

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15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Kept me gripped from beginning to end

I rarely leave reviews but I was so gripped by this story I felt I must! I cared about Paul and Andy and wanted to know what was going to happen to them. The narrator was excellent, really first class and never irritating. Luke Smitherd brings the characters to life and despite the subject matter makes it incredibly believable. I thoroughly recommend this book, even if you are not a fan of sci-fi (I thought I wasn't but I've changed my mind). Atmospheric and unputdownable, I finished this in a few days, listening at every available opportunity.

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Deeply moving and utterly fascinating

An author who's not afraid to label his work as science fiction, which it is but it's so much more. it's a really human piece about how each if us relates to the inevitable, how we face our personal stone man.

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