…Warning: possible spoilers for those not previously familiar with Exoskeleton…
William Thompson is a Physics Professor sentenced to 25 years in prison for child rape and attempted murder, but volunteers instead to complete his punishment in an Experimental Corrections Program. Will feels that he has been wrongly convicted due to circumstantial evidence and takes the more welcoming prospect of just one year in the Red Box facility, instead of losing a quarter of his life behind bars.
Meanwhile, Law Professor Jonathan McDougal is using his position as director of the DNA Project to research and expose the secrets behind the relatively unknown Compressed Punishment Program and believing in William’s innocence, uses the court case as an excuse to dig deeper into the corporation.
Unfortunately a number of employees of the Detroit facility have discovered a leak within their organisation and aim to recover the missing files and protect the Compressed Punishment Program by any means necessary. Allowing Dr. McDougal to continue to probe into their test subject, William Thompson’s early release would be disastrous for the future of the project. Can Jonathan piece together the evidence before it’s too late?
William, unaware of Dr. McDougal’s attempts to prove mistrial on his behalf, soon learns the real reality behind the experimental program after being placed in a biomechanical device known as the Exoskeleton, and strange things begin to happen.
“Innocence or guilt is irrelevant.” – opening line.
“He had done things he was sure he’d regret one day, when the ugly head of conscience emerged from the murky waters of circumstance”. – William Thompson’s inner thoughts. (p18)
“Dental pain is the king of all pains”. – Dr Colby. (p98)
Exoskeleton is an engrossing first novel from experimental physicist Shane Stadler. The story begins with a convict entering a research facility to begin a program supposedly designed to punish him for his crimes, but soon fast tracks towards a more science fiction orientated theme that becomes increasingly creepy and disturbing in tone as it continues.
Exoskeleton is an excellent book which grips and enthrals the reader from start to finish, from the very beginning you feel as initially confused as the main character, wondering just exactly what the future has in store for Mr. William Thompson. But the confusion eventually gives way to both shock and empathy as the torture begins and the story ratchets up a gear with every passing page.
A 5 out of 5 stars this is a recommended read for those of unsqueamish disposition who love horror and sci-fi. You can pick up a copy of Exoskeleton from Amazon.co.uk here.
Exoskeleton III: Omniscient (currently expected Sept 2019)