The Amateur Reviewer

I started my indie book reviewing career recently and here we are at book two already. This time we move from memoire to futurism and sci-fi – at least that is how I would categorise this excellent debut.

dylan cover 2


Second Chance by Dylan Hearn

This novel is set in the not so distant future after a major catastrophe has changed the world’s governance and the balances of power.

This is what the blurb tells us:

 Four lives become linked by a student’s disappearance: a politician looking to put integrity back into politics, an investigator hoping to atone for past mistakes, a data cleanser searching for a better life while haunted by his past and a re-life technician creating new lives for old souls.

But it soon becomes clear this is no ordinary case, and in the pursuit of the truth, long-held secrets risk being revealed.

Set in the near future where everybody is connected and death isn’t final, this is the story of how far those in power will go to retain control, and the true price to pay for a Second Chance. 

Data Cleanser? Re-Life Technician? These are but some of the imagined changes wrought between now and this future world. At first blush it seems order is being restored after the awful catastrophe but that is a veneer. Dylan’s skill is to embed us with his main characters in this new world, revealing these changes organically and imaginatively without the clunkiness one sometimes finds when the author has to explain what their new world looks like.

You see the thing about Second Chance that I loved, and I’ll be honest and say I don’t buy sci-fi as a rule, is it is about character. We care about these people for all their flaws and vanities. We want to know where they go and why and what happens when they get there.

And along the way we dip into Dylan’s imagination. What would happen if the climate changed so much? How would we get our power? How would we survive? What rights that we take for granted today would we give up for the chance of a future and a peaceful existence? How would the world order shift and politics change? Would big business collapse and some sort of anarcho-collective take over or would it actually thrive and become even more powerful and influential than it is today? Dylan has posed these what ifs and come up with a compelling set of answers that he drip feeds into the narrative while never losing sight of the people and their stories.

At times I’m reminded of JG Ballard at his dystopian best; at times the neatness of an Asimov. But mostly I applaud Dylan on being the first Hearn. He has a world here, ripe for future exploration. Second Chance merely scratches that surface and leaves us wanting to know more as we stay gripped to the real life problems of the characters. What has happened to religion, for instance? It isn’t core to this story – it doesn’t need to be – but it is hard to believe it hasn’t changed and is there influencing events. Dylan has already launched book two – Absent Souls – you never know what layers of this fascinating onion he will strip back next.

Whether you go for sci-fi or futuristic novels or not doesn’t really matter. If you like a good story, a thriller with its heroes and villains and many who flit between then this is for you.

Dylan can be found on his blog here – his writing and indie publishing tips are worth the visit alone.

You can by Second chance here from And here from

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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12 Responses to The Amateur Reviewer

  1. Dylan Hearn says:

    Reblogged this on Suffolk Scribblings and commented:
    What a wonderful way to start the weekend! I’m truly touched by this thoughtful review. Thank you, Geoff 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. jenanita01 says:

    Reblogged this on Anita & Jaye Dawes and commented:
    great start!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ellenbest24 says:

    Hi, I read this last year and haven’t stopped singing it’s praises. Dylan Hearn has released the second book and I for one will not be missing out. Fab post , good review and even better read. That’s from someone who used to shudder at scifi or dystopian genres.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I’ve just finished Absent Souls (but want to review separately.) You’re in for a treat. It’s better than Second Chance!

      Liked by 1 person

      • ellenbest24 says:

        Seriously? I am behind with several books to review, but it is on my list.


      • TanGental says:

        Absolutely. There’s a little piece where I might quibble with the plotting ! But the characters have more depth and by bringing in the king of the Scrambles it adds some delicious twists. Best of all it is satisfying in its own right but leave the door open for some serious stuff in book three!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Great premise for a book or nightmare: everybody is connected and death isn’t final! and I agree, if a novel had good characters as it can thrive in any setting. Good to see your reviewing career is taking shape.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      thanks Anne; I’ve quite enjoyed it and now I’ve a book out there I’d like to promote a few other indie authors. I’ve set myself the task of only reviewing those I’ve enjoyed; no sense in giving any sort of kicking to those striking out on their own it seems to me.


  5. Nice! Will check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Charli Mills says:

    Congratulations on launching into your review career! And with a terrific review.

    Liked by 1 person

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