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Reviews

2014
Reviewed by Reader from Amazon.com

'9 Incarnate' - Very original story line, I loved it

‘Very original story line, I loved it! Caitlin Diggs is a preternatural investigator. She is investigating a murder and hears a voice in her head. She finds that she is one with the Goddess Isis. With the help of her friend Briana they set out to solve the crime and the mystery the Egyptian pyramids hold. A fun read. I loved the blend of Egyptian Gods/Goddesses with the mortal world. Also the mystery and the
originality of the story line. Caitlin was very likable, the situation she was put in, and the way she handled it was fascinating to watch unfold. A well written story I find all will enjoy.’

2009
Reviewed by G.L. Giles for Target Audience Magazine

'Extreme Liquidation'

I haven’t read Blood Web, the first installment in the Caitlin Diggs series, but that didn’t keep me from following the plot of Extreme Liquidation with no problem.  Although Starta alludes to Book One at times, often to demonstrate more of FBI Agent Caitlin Diggs’ psychic gifts from the past, you won’t be lost, for it’s to embellish the storyline in Book Two.  Therefore, it’s easy to catch the gist of what happened before and to understand Book Two more thoroughly.  I won’t go into precisely what they are or how items like a crystal and a robe can both aid and mislead federal agent Caitlin Diggs, but suffice it to say, that their roles, as McGuffins of sorts, are well thought out and believable in a willing suspension of disbelief/belief kind of way.  The meaning of the title, Extreme Liquidation, is fully revealed on p. 112, but to avoid a spoiler alert, I’ll just say that it refers to the evil plot of Aleister Crowley, reincarnated into another male character, to exterminate all humankind for his own selfish gain.  Furthermore, reincarnation also plays a part in one of the female character’s lives, as she was also a former deity in the past; in fact, that revelation caused me to gasp out loud while reading.  Yes, it’s that goodJ. 

The character development is great.  And, I particularly enjoy a novel with a strong female protagonist; in this case, Caitlin Diggs.  Plus, another female character is played by a cat named Celeste.  She’s no ordinary cat; she actually aids Caitlin and her sister throughout the novel in various ways.  In addition, the relationship between Caitlin and her sister, Tara, is well-developed, and the blossoming romantic relationship between Caitlin and Ross Fisher is believable. 

There are a lot of cutting edge scientific facts mixed with fiction in this novel of 204 pages, but Starta does a great job of keeping even former English majors like myself, who steered clear of science as much as was possible, up to speed with easy-to-understand explanations.  Moreover, his use of cutting-edge scientific facts, blended with his fiction so seamlessly, makes this supernatural/psychological thriller very believable.  I could easily see this novel being adapted for a screen of some kind, perhaps in a television format like Fringe.  For example, a couple of the topics covered are psychotropic drug development and schizaphysiology.  Best of all, there’s a sense of continuity by connecting the past to the present and future through sacred geometry.

In closing, I highly recommend this novel.

 

March, 2008
Reviewed by Stephen Woodworth, author of Through Violet Eyes and with Red Hands

'Blood Web'

"Gary Starta spins a tale sure to catch readers in his BLOOD WEB! Fans who have been jonesing for a new X File will enjoy the novel's combination of paranormal creepiness and governmental skullduggery, as well as its formidable FBI agent protagonist, Caitlin Diggs, who blends the best of Scully and Mulder in one memorable heroine. I look forward to following Caitlin's--and Starta's--future adventures."

 

February 7, 2008
Reviewed by Toni Kelley
Round Table Reviews
'Blood Web'

Detective Stanford Carter is the supervisor of the CSI team in Boston, which is also the best in the nation. When a serial killer dubbed “The Plunger” reeks havoc on his city Detective Carter wastes no time in collecting evidence to get this killer of his city streets. With an enormous amount of pressure coming down on Carter from Mayor Art Schroeder, it seems Carter may have to step up the pace or lose his job. CSI trainee, Jill Seacrest has been a model employee. From the moment Seacrest and Carter met, they both new there was an underlying chemistry brewing between them. Will Jill and Carter find the killer before one or both of their lives are endangered?
 
Mayor Schroeder is not about to let some deranged murderer prevent his loyal residents from celebrating the city’s Anniversary. Unfortunately, that is not all Mayor Schroeder has on his plate. A secret affair with famous movie actress Eva Davies has been discovered and now the Mayor must keep Carter at bay while conceding to the blackmailer’s demands.
 
As Detective Stanford Carter produces a suspect and quenches the Mayor’s thirst for justice, the celebration is short lived as another copycat “Plunger” is now on the loose. Will Carter be able to solve this second spree of murders before anyone else dies or will the next victim be someone Detective Carter has secret feelings for?
 
When the second spree is revealed to be cultivated by the CSI teams own Medical Examiner, Carter and the rest of the crew are more than a little shocked. But, once again the murder sprees start and Carter is left to wonder if he is capable of solving another copycat. Upon the Mayor’s request, FBI Agent Caitlin Diggs and Geoffrey McAllister are called in to take over the investigation. With Caitlin’s high arrest record mostly accomplished through non-conformative methods, Diggs and Carter quickly hit it off. Diggs, Carter and McAllister all work together to discover that they don’t have another serial on their hands, but a possible connection to the mob.
 
Will this trio of investigator’s find the person responsible for the murders before it is too late or will Caitlin’s defiance of rules put her life in danger?
 

January 5 , 2007
Reviewed by Christina Francine
'Blood Web'

Searching for a novel to read that addresses the evil of humankind today and its problems? Certainly the domination of Americans is a topic of concern; has before. The horrifying fact is that technology will make domination easier. One only needs to stumble upon that last link; a way to control every man, woman, and child.

Agent Caitlin Diggs had every reason not to go back to her job. After losing, Geoffrey, the man she loved to an undercover assignment gone bad, she did not feel stable. Work would help however, even though her parents insisted she finally retire from police work. When FBI Assistant Director, Andrew Dudek phoned her, Caitlin purchased an airline ticket right away. She could get lost in her work and possibly catch a lead on Geoffrey’s killers. What she did not know was that she was about to embark on one of the most challenging and dangerous cases of her career. Caitlin knew her assignment involved capturing the nation’s latest serial killer, but not one that would decide the fate of the nation.

When the young blond drifter placed the arrowhead pendant against his chest, the crystal liked itself to him; sealing his fate and possibly the nation’s as well. Not only did a change come over the teenager named Shenk, but also over the crystal too. Shenk’s less than positive qualities, along with societies, affected the crystal tainting and turning it evil.

Starta did his homework. With each chapter his research showed depth. Add to this a powerful imagination and the result is a heart-pounding mystery. BloodWeb is the first of a series, Starta claims, that will feature the FBI Special Agent Diggs.

This book is enticing and a gripping tale that reflects a possible reality with a paranormal aspect intertwined. Starta’s story lures readers into an Internet that transcends fiction and enters a resemblance to actuality. Timely.

 

December 17, 2007
Reviewed by Shawnee Goodnight
'Blood Web'

FBI Agent Caitlin Diggs is called back to work after facing a devastating tragedy. With her own focus on avenging the death of her partner, she must first track down a killer possessed by an ancient crystal that has a vendetta of its own.

The crystal has been waiting for over a hundred years to find someone to control and in the Colorado wilderness, teenage runaway Shenk is just the mentally troubled person the crystal need to unleash its supernatural powers.

However, Agent Diggs is not the only one after the killer. Hidden within her midst is a devious organization called the "Right Hand" that have been looking for a way to control the will of all civilization and the crystal is just what they need to complete their goal. And Agent Diggs is in their way.

With a sentient crystal that feeds on the darkest bloody desires of its hosts, Agent Diggs must stop the killer and destroy the crystal without falling prey to its desire for vengeance herself.

In Blood Web , Gary Starta has written a supernatural thriller with a charismatic leading character and some of the most despicable villains I have encountered in my reading in a while.

Questions for the author:

I noticed Blood Web is the first of a series of books about Caitlin Diggs. Have you finished writing any others in the series?  

Yes, the next in the series is definitely in the works, just a question of when it will publish. I am even playing around with ideas for book three.

And can you give us a sneak peek into what happens next with Caitlin?

Caitlin now empowered with nocturnal visions becomes targeted by a secret organization run by a rogue member of a government agency. Eventually she will learn her current murder investigation is linked with the organization which just may have definitive answers about Geoffrey McAllister's (her former partner and lover) death. She will also learn she has a role in the fate of humankind.

Many male authors tend to write their leading character as males but you have chosen a female lead. What inspired you to create Caitlin (as opposed to a Carl)?

I simply feel it was high time a female took the lead role. I even gave her a female partner. Dana Scully was such a strong character in The X-files proving a female lead can captivate an audience.

In Blood Web you provided a lot of information on organic chemistry and geology. How much research did this novel entail for you?

I did a lot of reading via the greatest tool authors have nowadays - the Internet! I try to base my ideas upon scientific basis, hopefully leaving the reader wondering if such things could ever happen and making the story a bit more credible hopefully.

As a fan of science fiction and horror novels, what would you say scares you the most?

I would say the scariest monster of all is the human one. The wickedest or most devious thoughts are often borne from the human brain, and because of that I tend to believe humans are sometimes more frightening than the supernatural creatures which hide in the shadows. The most despicable humans walk among us in the light.

 

November 24, 2007
Reviewed by
Toni Kelley
Roundtable Reviews
'Blood Web'

Lukas Shenker a troubled teen, known by everyone as Shenk, has spent most of his life residing in a Corpus Christi Center for Wayward Teens. It was a dismal existence clouded by a polluted haze of constant medications and counseling from his Social Worker Alice. When a hurricane descends upon Texas, Shenk sees this as an opportunity to disappear. With the massive flood waters claiming any records of his existence, Shenk can start a new life with a new identity.

As Shenk finds refuge in a cave, waiting out the storm, he happens upon a brilliant rose quartz necklace. Could this be a sign that his life is headed in a better and brighter direction? Or, will the crystal connect to Shrenk through his blood and mind in order to carry out its own long awaited vendetta?

The ancient Indian artifact has been merely a myth to most historians, including the famous and well respected historical speaker Eugene "Bull Tongue" Campbell. Eugene has spent his life pursuing his calling to inform interested students on the facts regarding the way things really were between the Americans and the Indians. However, Eugene's father, Jake Campbell or "Lone Coyote" as he is also called knows quite well the power of the crystal for good as well as its ability to wreak havoc on the world if connected to a mind filled with evil. After hearing about the Arrowhead Murders, Jake decides he can no longer keep quiet about the crystal's existence. In order to protect the world from the crystal's power and warn the public of his long suspected conspiracy theory regarding the military's quest to gain control of the crystal and rule the world, he takes to the airwaves. Suzie Chang, the host of the show American Murders, allows Jake Campbell to spin his tale of nonsense in order to boost her ratings. Will Jake Campbell's life now be thrown into the depths of murder by those he sought to expose?

FBI Special Agent Caitlin Diggs is well known for her impressive arrest record as well as her ability to work on her gut instincts. After witnessing the horrific beating death of her partner and lover Geoffrey McAllister, she finds for the very first time that she needs a leave of absence from her beloved job. Faced with doubt about her career and an overwhelming sense of sadness at the loss of her future husband, Caitlin is once again called upon to investigate the recent "Arrowhead" killings.

Will Caitlin Diggs be able to track down the Arrowhead Killer in time? Will she be able to finally regain her confidence as a highly successful agent? In addition, will her wounds regarding the loss of her partner and lover finally begin to heal? Or, after realizing the only way to stop the body count from rising is to obtain possession of the crystal; will Diggs become swayed by the crystal's persuasive powers and begin her own journey to carry out its evil wishes?

Blood Web is by far the most AMAZING novel this reader/writer has had the privilege to read in a long time. This edge of your seat thrill ride is filled with something for everyone from suspense, paranormal, thrill, murder, mystery and even a touch of romance. Any genre aficionado will find this novel to be one of pure pleasure. First in the FBI Special Agent Caitlin Diggs series, Starta does an excellent job portraying the perfect setting while creating characters that are not only believable, but connect to your emotions as well. Each page is another twist and unexpected turn, keeping the reader glued to their seat and eager to reveal the next shocking revelation waiting in the prose of the following pages. Gary Starta is a prolific writer, who I believe is way ahead of his time in this particular genre. I anxiously await the next installment of the infamous Caitlin Diggs adventures. Kudos!


 
 
   

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