Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Question by R. Breuer Stearns (Review and Giveaway!)

Suspenseful, intriguing and though-provoking, The Question explores the human brain and its connection with all living things. I was fascinated by the concepts and the author's imagination. How powerful are our thoughts?

The Question: If You Could Have the Answer to Only One Question What Would You Ask? by R. Breuer Stearns
Published: May 15, 2015
Trade Paperback, 270 pages
Content Rating: PG-13 (The story contains religious expletives, some graphic and gruesome violence and occasional sexual allusions.)

Book Description:

THE QUESTION invites readers to consider this premise: 

If you could have the answer to one question, and only one question, what would you ask... and who would try to stop you from asking it? 

To what extremes would they go?

THE QUESTION is a thriller that explores a new way of thinking, a method powerful enough to answer very complex questions . . . perhaps powerful enough to solve the universe's most fundamental mysteries . . . perhaps powerful enough to resolve religions' most beguiling unknowns. 

THE QUESTION is an adventure story . . . fiction that you may wish, may believe, may know, is true. The narrative occurs in the present, with scenes in California, Washington, D.C., Paris, Shanghai, New York, and Afghanistan.

The story is aimed at high-school and older readers and contains some graphic violence and occasional sexual allusions. The plot is action-oriented with an element of scientific fantasy, similar to Jack Finney's "Time and Again." The prose is crisply written, professionally edited, and organized into movie-scene chapters. 

THE QUESTION is ideal reading for anyone who is curious . . . for those who gaze into the cosmos at night and wonder . . . for those who look into the mirror and imagine . . . for those whose hearts beat faster when confronting the unknown . . . for readers who enjoy a fast paced, contemporary thriller that inspires them to think.

My Review:
Reviewed by Laura Fabiani

The first thing that caught my eye about this novel is the book cover. I love whales. The deep blue of the ocean and the evening starry sky is so beckoning. What great imagery. I thought it perfect for this story as it made me wonder about the connection of the whales to "the question" and to the fact that this book is labelled a thriller.

Nate Heartnell, a Navy-trained man and former football star is now Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies. He has the job of creating and controlling the disaster scenarios aboard a mock submarine. In this way, he and his team could study and assess how humans resolve complex questions. This led him to discover the brain's unique capacity to solve or answer a question when looking into the eyes of another person.

When this UNITY concept is further explored with amazing results, the President of the USA gets involved and so does the world, both in a good and terrible way. There are those who think this is an amazing discovery and those who take an extremist view. When Nate and his team set out to question if God exists, things go wrong. And a terrorist act ensues.  

From the first page onward I was intrigued. I loved Stearns intelligent writing style. Every character was well introduced and developed. Every chapter built on the suspense from the previous one. My mind worked to connect each scene and characters to the overall theme. When the book ended I looked through the book once again to connect the clues as to who murdered one of the characters. So although some readers may think there are superfluous characters, trust me each of the characters plays a role in the plot. If you miss the clues, you may miss who the mystery terrorist accomplice really is!

There is a great cast of characters in this novel and I was entertained throughout. My favorite character was the president. He was a cowboy who used his stories from the ranch as analogies to bring out a point in his discussions with his White House team. Some of his expressions cracked me up. He came across as quite believable in the role of president.

Suspenseful, intriguing and though-provoking, The Question explores the human brain and its connection with all living things. I was fascinated by the concepts and the author's imagination. How powerful are our thoughts? I love the science of neurobiology so this concept used as a topic in a thriller with some fantastical elements made for a very interesting read. This novel reminded me of The Curiosity by Stephan P. Kiernan, which I read last year and also found fascinating.

Although I didn't agree with how divinity was portrayed (you'll understand what I mean when you read the last few pages of the book) I still thought The Question was a unique story. R. Breuer Stearns is an author to watch out for. I can't wait to see what he will come up with next.

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.

To read more reviews, please visit R. Breuer Stearn's page on iRead Book Tours.

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About the Author:

R. Breuer Stearns is an investor and author.

Mr. Stearns graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover (1970), Harvard University (AB, 1974), University of Chicago (MBA, 1977), and DePaul University College of Law (JD, 1979). He rapidly ascended on Wall Street in the 1980’s, serving as Managing Director, Mergers & Acquisitions at Lehman Brothers and Head of Investment Banking (North America) at UBS Securities. While living in New York, he founded “Terrific Teachers, Inc.,” a foundation dedicated to identifying and rewarding the best of the best of the city’s public high school teachers.

Shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mr. Stearns launched a private investment bank in the former Soviet Union. He spent the early 1990’s seeking to marry emerging science, primarily emanating from Russia’s Defense sector, with Western capital. During this period, Mr. Stearns made a small fortune, albeit from a larger one. The venture provided a remarkable lesson in hubris, a tremendous reservoir of internal strength, and first-hand source material for Mr. Stearns’ first book, Winning Smart After Losing Big (Encounter Books, Beijing University Press).

Subsequently, Mr. Stearns served as Chief Financial Officer of The Dial Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of Columbia/HCA Corporation, Chief Financial Officer of PacifiCare, Inc., President and Chief Operating Officer of Vascular Genetics, Inc., and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Quepasa Corporation (QPSA:Amex).

Mr. Stearns is a Founder of VestaPoint Capital LLC, a family of investment funds focused on real estate development. He lives in Arizona with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a horse. He travels extensively and is intensely curious.

Connect with the author: 


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  1. It is a beautiful cover. This does sound like an intriguing book. Thought provoking while at the same time being quite thrilling. Your review caught my attention. I am glad you liked this one, Laura.

  2. I am intrigued by the story. Your review of it Laura really peaked my interest. I am always looking for something new to read something different from the same cookie cutter story line that a lot of books follow these days. So when I read your review I knew I had to read this one that and the cover is magnificent!

    1. Yes, the cover really pulled me in to this book. I agree that it's refreshing to read books that are different. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. Laura, great review! An intriguing cover for what sounds like an intriguing story line. Your review makes me want to read this. Especially your last comments about the portrayal of divinity.

    1. LOL, yes I could see how that phrase would stir your curiosity. :-)


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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