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Brainrush

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Publishers Weekly heralded this first book in Richard Bard's Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling." It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal's #1 Action/Adventure slot in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers. Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an Publishers Weekly heralded this first book in Richard Bard's Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling." It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal's #1 Action/Adventure slot in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers. Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an earthquake hits during the procedure, Jake staggers from the wreckage a profoundly changed man, now endowed with uncanny mental abilities. An ocean away, Luciano Battista wants a piece of Jake's talent. Posing as a pioneering scientist, the terrorist leader has been conducting cerebral-implant experiments in a sinister quest to create a breed of super jihadist agents...and Jake's altered brain may be the key to his success. But Jake refuses to play the pawn in an unholy war--and when an innocent woman and autistic child are taken hostage to force his cooperation, he embarks on a jihad of his own. Jake and his band of loyal friends are thrust into a deadly chase that leads from the canals of Venice through Monte Carlo and finally to an ancient cavern in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan--where Jake discovers that his newfound talents carry a hidden price that threatens the entire human race.


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Publishers Weekly heralded this first book in Richard Bard's Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling." It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal's #1 Action/Adventure slot in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers. Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an Publishers Weekly heralded this first book in Richard Bard's Brainrush thriller series as "terrifically entertaining" and "inventive and compelling." It went on to earn The Wall Street Journal's #1 Action/Adventure slot in their Guide to Self-Published Big Sellers. Before he slid into the MRI machine, Jake Bronson was just an ordinary guy with terminal cancer. But when an earthquake hits during the procedure, Jake staggers from the wreckage a profoundly changed man, now endowed with uncanny mental abilities. An ocean away, Luciano Battista wants a piece of Jake's talent. Posing as a pioneering scientist, the terrorist leader has been conducting cerebral-implant experiments in a sinister quest to create a breed of super jihadist agents...and Jake's altered brain may be the key to his success. But Jake refuses to play the pawn in an unholy war--and when an innocent woman and autistic child are taken hostage to force his cooperation, he embarks on a jihad of his own. Jake and his band of loyal friends are thrust into a deadly chase that leads from the canals of Venice through Monte Carlo and finally to an ancient cavern in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan--where Jake discovers that his newfound talents carry a hidden price that threatens the entire human race.

30 review for Brainrush

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    This book hovers between 3.75 and 4 stars for me. Some parts I really liked. I liked Jake a lot. He was a very good guy and some awful stuff had happened to him. I liked the different acts of the book. The author kept the story moving and incorporated lots of twists and turns so that the reader would not have time to get bored. I feel that the writing was a bit amateurish at times. The author was clearly excited about this story, and that's great. However, I think the plotting suffered at times. This book hovers between 3.75 and 4 stars for me. Some parts I really liked. I liked Jake a lot. He was a very good guy and some awful stuff had happened to him. I liked the different acts of the book. The author kept the story moving and incorporated lots of twists and turns so that the reader would not have time to get bored. I feel that the writing was a bit amateurish at times. The author was clearly excited about this story, and that's great. However, I think the plotting suffered at times. I am a science-oriented person, and so I wanted a specific scientific explanation for why the MRI machine rewired Jake's brain in such a fundamental way. I can buy and believe in "gift from God" scenarios, but if you make something scientific in origin, I want a little more explanation. Jake's abilities were pretty darn cool. I love when someone has enhanced mental abilities and I can't read enough of that. It was well-done how Jake's powers develop with practice, and as he pulls away the layers of his abilities. The romance didn't really hook me, if I'm honest. I felt that the connection between Jake and his love interest, whose name I can't remember right now, was a bit thin. I think that Bard wanted us to buy into a soulmate/love at first sight connection, but I didn't really feel that. I can appreciate if they had chemistry and were willing to see where that went. One thing I loved was the kiddos that Jake bonds with, especially in light of the tragedy of his past. The terrorist angle, I have not decided about. Some parts of that were very suspenseful and Bard gives a unique twist. It was a bird's eye view into extremism and what motivates people to become terrorists, although I still don't and probably never will understand it. On the other hand, I feel that the villain Battista, was a bit too much on the melodramatic side, especially with his sadistic henchman. I think there is a lot to like about this book, but I feel that it does also have "First Book Syndrome." But we all have to start somewhere, and I'm definitely interested in continuing this series. I like Jake a lot, and I can't help rooting for him to save the day yet again. Now I'm a big fan of the ragtag team-up, and I loved that aspect. If we get to see more of them working together in future books, I'm all for it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    D.G.

    A Terminal Illness. Psychic Powers. Terrorists. Human Experiments. High Stakes Gambling. Mercenaries. And...Aliens? Yes, you read that right. Brainrush had ALL of the above. It's definitely made my top 10 of the craziest books I've read, EVER. Jake Bronson is terminally ill but he comes out of an MRI with brain powers. Instead of keeping it to himself, Jake foolishly brags about the whole thing in public and before you know it, everybody wants a piece of him, including Battista, a mastermind who's A Terminal Illness. Psychic Powers. Terrorists. Human Experiments. High Stakes Gambling. Mercenaries. And...Aliens? Yes, you read that right. Brainrush had ALL of the above. It's definitely made my top 10 of the craziest books I've read, EVER. Jake Bronson is terminally ill but he comes out of an MRI with brain powers. Instead of keeping it to himself, Jake foolishly brags about the whole thing in public and before you know it, everybody wants a piece of him, including Battista, a mastermind who's doing human experiments to create the perfect terrorist. The plot was full of action and very exciting, even if things were crazy improbable. Not only did Jake seem to develop new powers just as he needed them but all his friends happenned to have all sorts of different skillz that allowed them to help him out. The plans were so ridiculous that there was almost no chance that they would work out but of course, they did. And the writing was so over the top that I kept laughing hysterically. You usually don't see purple prose in thrillers. The characterization was not one-dimensional but it was very black and white. The good guys were good and the villains were eeevil! But unlike evil villains world over, Battista didn't kill Jake when he had the chance. Instead we were treated to that most stupid of plot devices in which the evil villain decides to spare the hero so he can kill him in a slower, more elaborate, painful way that gives the hero time to escape. A few times I was yelling at Battista...just kill him now! R.C. Bray did a decent job with the narration. His New York accent was really good (amazing how many narrators get that wrong) and the rest were good to passable (except his British one...that was bad.) He had a range of voices and his pacing was good. If only the plot wasn't so ludicrous, I would have enjoyed his narration more. Even though the sequel promises more wackiness (with the aliens and all), the book ended in a way that I want to know what happens next. I won't buy it at full price but if I come across the audio on sale, I will definitely grab it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I went into this book knowing it was not going to be very realistic fiction. The publisher's synopsis was- "When terminally ill combat pilot Jake Bronson emerges from an MRI with extraordinary cognitive powers, everyone wants a piece of his talent". So, when the 'extraordinary cognitive powers' turned into telekinesis, I accepted it. When the love interest turned out to be an empath (who could read the feelings, emotions and intentions of 99% of people. Her boss was in the 1%), I accepted it. I I went into this book knowing it was not going to be very realistic fiction. The publisher's synopsis was- "When terminally ill combat pilot Jake Bronson emerges from an MRI with extraordinary cognitive powers, everyone wants a piece of his talent". So, when the 'extraordinary cognitive powers' turned into telekinesis, I accepted it. When the love interest turned out to be an empath (who could read the feelings, emotions and intentions of 99% of people. Her boss was in the 1%), I accepted it. I thought I knew what I was getting into... The best friend who is a world-class hacker (hacked into the FAA's database in about 2 minutes) and the other best friend was Special Forces in the Marines (hoooorah) and the INCREDIBLY gorgeous waitress at the neighborhood bar were interesting side characters. Winning over 9 million Euros from a casino, hiring mercenaries to retrieve hostages from an army of terrorists and the Ramboesque scenes of the rescue, gondoliers who were more like teamsters than oarsmen and the Jason Bourne-like fighting talents the main character developed also as a side effect of the MRI were all a bit harder to swallow. However, then the author introduces the fact that aliens were here over 25,000 years ago and left a puzzle for humans to solve and once the puzzle is solved a way to contact aforementioned aliens.SIGH.... It seems to me the author had ideas for about 4 different books. But instead of writing 4 different books, he put all the ideas into one. Seeing how this is the first in a series, he obviously wasn't even able to accomplish that task. Needless to say, I will not read the next book(s) in the series. I guess I'll just have to live without knowing how the humans will fare against the aliens.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I got this on a recommendation here and it's a good book. This is a thriller and it's pretty well put together. There's a lot to say here and the book crosses a few genres. This would have worked as a comic book...pardon me, a graphic novel. Our hero here is not in a good way. he's dying from cancer. Being a noble hero he's not told anyone that the cancer he thought he'd beaten before had returned. Tough dude huh? Then a nasty accident happens...and he begins to develop, "super powers"...no the ac I got this on a recommendation here and it's a good book. This is a thriller and it's pretty well put together. There's a lot to say here and the book crosses a few genres. This would have worked as a comic book...pardon me, a graphic novel. Our hero here is not in a good way. he's dying from cancer. Being a noble hero he's not told anyone that the cancer he thought he'd beaten before had returned. Tough dude huh? Then a nasty accident happens...and he begins to develop, "super powers"...no the accident isn't being bitten by a radioactive bug or falling into a vat of toxic waste. I'll let you read the book to see what it actually is. There is a love story here and lots of cliches, including comic book...errrr, graphic novel cliches (view spoiler)[ like the one where the hero suddenly has his powers neutralized just when he needs them (hide spoiler)] . But all that being said, it's a good book. Oh you'll probably have moments of, "oh yeah" or been there done that, but that's not bad really as it's all handled so well. The book does end in cliffhanger...and I've already downloaded the next...but these days that's not all that unusual. At least I don't have a 1 to 10 year wait for the next book. Look, it's a fun, exciting, well written book with some serious moments and some lighter moments. Recommended, enjoy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dannye

    I read Brainrush in one session. Were the characters likable? Yes. Did the story line have a paranormal twist? Yes. Did the author provide a believable backdrop for the story? Yes. Was the writing smooth? Yes. Did I not want to put it down? Yes. Was it well-edited? Yes. I couldn't ask for anything else. I read Brainrush in one session. Were the characters likable? Yes. Did the story line have a paranormal twist? Yes. Did the author provide a believable backdrop for the story? Yes. Was the writing smooth? Yes. Did I not want to put it down? Yes. Was it well-edited? Yes. I couldn't ask for anything else.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wild

    Clearly, this is one exhausting slam-o-rama of an action thriller! I couldn't decide if Bard was trying to be Clive Cussler, or Steven Spielberg, or perhaps a little of both? When you combine a plot involving brain alteration (via Michael Crichton's "The Terminal Man") and save-the-world from fanatic Muslim jihadists (pick a movie...any movie), throw in a twist of Venetian romance, and mix in a LOT of combat scenes (think, "Hacksaw Ridge"), you're getting a pretty close idea as what to expect in Clearly, this is one exhausting slam-o-rama of an action thriller! I couldn't decide if Bard was trying to be Clive Cussler, or Steven Spielberg, or perhaps a little of both? When you combine a plot involving brain alteration (via Michael Crichton's "The Terminal Man") and save-the-world from fanatic Muslim jihadists (pick a movie...any movie), throw in a twist of Venetian romance, and mix in a LOT of combat scenes (think, "Hacksaw Ridge"), you're getting a pretty close idea as what to expect in about 357 pages of this "nail-biter" novel. Wait, I haven't even got to the piece de resistance... there's even an allusion to "Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull" in this amazing story! I admit, I enjoyed the ride, but I think there was just a LITTLE too much crammed into this story without suspending any belief for more than one minute or two. Then again, maybe that's what Mr. Bard had in mind when he wrote this. Hollywood should sign him up for a summer blockbuster movie deal using this novel. I'm sure it'll be a success!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    What A Rush. This was a very good book, even if I did have a few quibbles with it as an Autistic. The action is among the craziest I've seen in novel form, in all the best ways. And the pacing of the abilities and how they are discovered is slow enough to seem "plausible" and yet quick enough to keep the action going well. Excellent work, looking forward to the rest of the series. What A Rush. This was a very good book, even if I did have a few quibbles with it as an Autistic. The action is among the craziest I've seen in novel form, in all the best ways. And the pacing of the abilities and how they are discovered is slow enough to seem "plausible" and yet quick enough to keep the action going well. Excellent work, looking forward to the rest of the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lisa P

    I really enjoyed Brainrush…fast paced, lots of action, never a dull moment! I love stories that have me racing around the world, and this one didn’t disappoint. Books that include special ops are also some of my favorites (probably because they usually contain a lot of action, and are full of cool weapons and gadgets). This book had both(especially in the second half of the book)…just a little overkill on the descriptions of said weapons and gadgets though. I like a little explanation, but when I really enjoyed Brainrush…fast paced, lots of action, never a dull moment! I love stories that have me racing around the world, and this one didn’t disappoint. Books that include special ops are also some of my favorites (probably because they usually contain a lot of action, and are full of cool weapons and gadgets). This book had both(especially in the second half of the book)…just a little overkill on the descriptions of said weapons and gadgets though. I like a little explanation, but when it starts taking me out of the story, then it’s too much! If I had to find a negative to this story, I would have to say it had to do with the ending. First of all, not everything was wrapped up in a nice neat package... There is still much more of this story to be told. Also, something was revealed in the end (don’t want to spoil anything) that came out of nowhere, and didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story. Hopefully all will be revealed in the next installment…which of course I am going to read soon. Overall an enjoyable read, that I would recommend to any action enthusiast like myself!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wanda Hartzenberg

    I bought my copy of this via audible! I knew nothing of the story going in. This is what I found. Story/plot! Extreme -- you have mad scientists. Terrorists. Hero's. One with real super powers, and yes! ALIENS! That is alotta stuff in one book. If I read the blurb and it mentioned all this then I would have bought another in its stead. I mean seriously...I would have made a big mistake. The author pulled it off brilliantly! Theme Hard to pin point within all these plot lines but I think it is the p I bought my copy of this via audible! I knew nothing of the story going in. This is what I found. Story/plot! Extreme -- you have mad scientists. Terrorists. Hero's. One with real super powers, and yes! ALIENS! That is alotta stuff in one book. If I read the blurb and it mentioned all this then I would have bought another in its stead. I mean seriously...I would have made a big mistake. The author pulled it off brilliantly! Theme Hard to pin point within all these plot lines but I think it is the plight of autistic chldren and how they are being marginalized within "mainstream" life in general. Well, that is what I took from it. Writing style Amazing. Really and at this price, try it, you might not like it, you might love it as much as me. Editing and formatting Not applicable since I listened to it on audible Narrator I absolutely adored this narrator. His pacing, calm and soothing voice added so much to te characters that I know I am rating this book higher due to the narrator than I would have if I read it. The narrator is absolutely a master at his craft Over all Get the book....it even has a bit of romance...... Trust me. It is worth the read. WaAr

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anastasiya

    The only reason I finished this book is because I love RC Bray, who was the audiobook narrator. It certainly wasn't because I was hoping that at some point all the terribly-written action scenes would redeem themselves - I knew that wasn't going to happen fairly early on. This is not a one-star book because it does have a good premise and a solid beginning. It just unravels really fast into a hot mess of paranormal activities, action, gun fights, terrorists, telepathy, riddles, high-powered explo The only reason I finished this book is because I love RC Bray, who was the audiobook narrator. It certainly wasn't because I was hoping that at some point all the terribly-written action scenes would redeem themselves - I knew that wasn't going to happen fairly early on. This is not a one-star book because it does have a good premise and a solid beginning. It just unravels really fast into a hot mess of paranormal activities, action, gun fights, terrorists, telepathy, riddles, high-powered explosions, and the most ridiculous romantic subplots known to men. I will be reading the second and third books in the series. I don't recommend the same for any of you.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This was my favorite book of all time until I read the 2nd book: Brain Rush, Enemy of my enemy and now book 2 is my favorite.. But you have to read them both to really appreciate what a great author Mr Bard is. Both books are wonderful and will keep you interested and they are hard to put down. I can't wait for the 3rd one to come out this fall. I wish it would be here sooner. I need to read more of the Jake Bronson series and find out what is next for them all.. Wonderful reading and a great wr This was my favorite book of all time until I read the 2nd book: Brain Rush, Enemy of my enemy and now book 2 is my favorite.. But you have to read them both to really appreciate what a great author Mr Bard is. Both books are wonderful and will keep you interested and they are hard to put down. I can't wait for the 3rd one to come out this fall. I wish it would be here sooner. I need to read more of the Jake Bronson series and find out what is next for them all.. Wonderful reading and a great writer.. Thank you Richard Bard for these books.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    In reading the quick synopsis of Brainrush, you're made aware that you're in for a different kind of thriller novel. Indeed, the story is an international, millitary-esque thriller but it expands into other genres as well ranging from sci-fi to paranormal and filled with bits of romantic and buddy comedy. To a large extent, this is a cinematic novel filled with lots of action and quick takes but it also slows down and plods through a lot of detail and information. The premise involves a terminall In reading the quick synopsis of Brainrush, you're made aware that you're in for a different kind of thriller novel. Indeed, the story is an international, millitary-esque thriller but it expands into other genres as well ranging from sci-fi to paranormal and filled with bits of romantic and buddy comedy. To a large extent, this is a cinematic novel filled with lots of action and quick takes but it also slows down and plods through a lot of detail and information. The premise involves a terminally ill man named Jake. During an MRI, an earthquake shakes the machine and rattles his body and mind and apparently unlocks some amazing mental and physical abilities. Before long, these abilities get Jake caught up in a global adventure with high stakes. The story continues to get more and more intricate with new threats and revelations showing up every few chapters. Many sections read like something caught between James Bond and Jason Bourne. As you reach the climax of the book and work through the final few chapters, you get a bit of X-files or Indiana Jones (and the Crystal Skull). In terms of believability, the story stretches things as paper thin as many adventure movies. As such, the general character and plot development is a little weak, but an entertained reader can employ their suspension of disbelief to ride alongside Jake and his friends. As more and more outrageous plot elements showed up, I found my willing to suspend disbelief to be waning but I continued on and generally enjoyed the story. More than the plausibility of the story, the thing I had the most trouble with was some of the writing. I felt that many stretches of the book suffered from the "tell don't show" mistake of storytelling. Descriptions were often ponderously heavy handed. And while they really made a scene vibrant, it absolutely slowed down the pacing of an action scene to have lengthy sentences going into significant detail of the weapons or the scenery. I also felt like the writing spent too much time trying to tell me how I should react or interpret a scene rather than presenting me actions or conversation and letting me shape my own logical conclusions. A lot of these flaws would likely be covered up in a movie since large descriptions or narrative statements would be removed. They might even disappear in an abridged audiobook reading. But in the print book, I feel like you could probably trim 50-100 pages worth of content (my copy clocked in at just over 400 pages) and not only maintain the story but improve the pacing and readability. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy "long books" with detailed description and narrative. But I don't feel that lengthy diatribes need this much play in an otherwise fast-paced adventure story. Overall this is a fun thriller. It's a novel of escapism that's so outrageously over the top that you can (mostly) cruise through it without having to give it much thought. This is both a plus and a minus. It follows many stereotypical tropes of the thriller. With all of these common concepts, the story is almost predictable in spots. Fortunately, the author keeps the reader on their toes by twisting the tropes in new ways and adding wholly unexpected elements to an otherwise standard adventure. If you're in the mood for something light and adventurous, give it a try. There is some gunplay and romance but I suspect it would pull off a PG-13 rating. The action and story are fun and keep you jumping. And if you want to keep going, Jake and friends have continued their adventures through another 6 books so you'll have plenty to keep you occupied for a while. *** 2.5 out of 5 stars

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marva

    Started with some potential. Turned into a mushy love story in the middle. At 62%, I was totally bored with paragraphs full of loving descriptions of weapons. Not even fun weapons like swords, but various projectile killing machines. Come on! You could have been a contender, but blew it. I did give it 2 stars because the writing is fairly solid. Some (maybe most) people will think it's just fine. Started with some potential. Turned into a mushy love story in the middle. At 62%, I was totally bored with paragraphs full of loving descriptions of weapons. Not even fun weapons like swords, but various projectile killing machines. Come on! You could have been a contender, but blew it. I did give it 2 stars because the writing is fairly solid. Some (maybe most) people will think it's just fine.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ramona

    Interesting The Premise was daring. It was exciting to see the transformation Jake experienced after the event in the MRI unit. It kept me reading, though apparently I didn't get what I was expecting. The story became difficult to follow at times (mostly military speak). I doubt I will read more of this series. Interesting The Premise was daring. It was exciting to see the transformation Jake experienced after the event in the MRI unit. It kept me reading, though apparently I didn't get what I was expecting. The story became difficult to follow at times (mostly military speak). I doubt I will read more of this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    BRAINRUSH (Pub. 2011) by Richard Bard is an intriguing read, with a couple twists that keep it from feeling like the standard formula-driven thriller/AA read. It held my interest all the way through with a unique physical aspect that comes into play for Jake Bronson, following an earthquake striking while he's in an MRI machine. And the author doesn't waste a minute getting us there. Jake's newfound skills lend the story a contemporary SF/paranormal vibe without crossing too far over the line in BRAINRUSH (Pub. 2011) by Richard Bard is an intriguing read, with a couple twists that keep it from feeling like the standard formula-driven thriller/AA read. It held my interest all the way through with a unique physical aspect that comes into play for Jake Bronson, following an earthquake striking while he's in an MRI machine. And the author doesn't waste a minute getting us there. Jake's newfound skills lend the story a contemporary SF/paranormal vibe without crossing too far over the line into 'no way' territory. Jake comes out with greatly enhanced mental capabilities that happen to parallel the results a madman is trying to achieve through experimental brain surgeries. The madman has a master plan behind his drive to achieve those results, and real trouble starts when he sees Jake inadvertently show off his newfound skills on national TV. He sends a beautiful woman to lure Jake to Venice but things don't go as planned for either side. The author has every reason and more to be proud of this debut novel. Not only is it a well-written, well-paced, strongly plotted and perfectly edited thriller, BRAINRUSH also brings interesting and lovable characters that we quickly come to care about. Bard pulls off quickly introducing a seriously troubled MC in Jake Bronson, a man with a good heart but bad luck and bad health. Then blesses him with zany skills we'd all love to have, and manages to do it in a way that breaths life into the character in a new and fresh way, both for the story and the thriller genre. I also like the way Bard brings a strong whiff of romance-to-come in the beautiful assistant that's unknowingly sent to lure him into the doctor's clutches. It adds to the story and the character, without distracting from the main story event in play. Bard doesn't waste a lot of time on heavy description, but manages to make us first question then like Jake's new heartthrob, while bringing a special link between them related to Jake's new skills. You just can't help rooting for him when Jake puts his life on the line to rescue a small captive girl and his newfound love. The story rips along at a relentless pace, with not a hint of a sagging middle in sight. It has everything thriller readers love: action, high stakes, big guns, big plans, and a brave MC with friends and a well-skilled team behind him. It also has an unexpected scoop of sci-fi in a second and surprising way in the climatic scene, when Jake comes across an ancient artifact that plays a big role in the bang-up finale. In spite of being the first book in a trilogy, the story ends on a well-rounded note, without feeling like a cliffhanger. All the important questions and issues are answered, resolute comeuppance served, along with a peek at Jake's future. BRAINRUSH easily gets 4.5 stars from me, and the only thing that keeps it from a full five stars is a wish the author had placed a bit more focus and detail on the science behind Jake's new skills. It would serve to make that aspect of the story feel more grounded in reality. There are a couple spots which feel a bit rushed (no pun intended) and would benefit from some embellishment, but those small things by no means put a dent in my pleasure from reading the story. I look forward to getting my hands and eyes on the next two stories in the trilogy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Stiles

    Every now and then, a book comes along that you just can’t put down. I tell my students that if they find a book that takes them on a visual trip as well as an emotional rollercoaster, then they have truly found an awesome book. That pretty much describes this book. This is one of those books that once you start reading you can forget about obligations to your family because you won’t be able to put it down. It has a bit of science fiction tied into a military thriller, along with just a touch o Every now and then, a book comes along that you just can’t put down. I tell my students that if they find a book that takes them on a visual trip as well as an emotional rollercoaster, then they have truly found an awesome book. That pretty much describes this book. This is one of those books that once you start reading you can forget about obligations to your family because you won’t be able to put it down. It has a bit of science fiction tied into a military thriller, along with just a touch of romance to make this a well-rounded book. Jake Bronson only has a few weeks to live. He is having an MRI done when an earthquake happens. To me this was terrifying. The last MRI that I had needed to be done in two stages. After the first stage, they went looking for me afraid I had left. I have claustrophobia and felt as if I could not breathe. I was able to relate to this character a little too much in this instance. When they are finally able to get Jake out of the machine he discovers he has enhanced powers. He is determined to use these powers; in whatever time he has left to stop a terrorist attack. Throw into all of this the rescue of Francesca, a psychologist who works with autistic children and to whom Jake is romantically attached and you can see the plot thickening. The characters are very believable. The descriptions as you travel with Jack from California to Italy and other destinations are so vivid that you feel as if you are right there with him. I’ve not traveled out of the country yet I feel I have traveled to these destinations. It is obvious that the author has done major research on weaponry, maybe drawing on his own background experiences. I didn’t feel like I was in over my head in that area. I actually enjoyed it. For me if you are going to have a wonderfully fleshed out protagonist then you must have an equally wonderful antagonist. Luciano Battista is that person. To me his name even made me feel like he was evil. His character was a great opposite to Jake’s character. It kept the pace going. There were areas where the imagination had to be stretched a little. I am one of those rare people that says bring it on. I grew up stretching my imagination, as a child so there is no reason not to continue that. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone I know. I believe it has something for everyone. This is an author to watch for. His second book in the series comes out in December so just take a deep breath and tell yourself that you can wait for it, because after all you don’t really have a choice.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meenaz Lodhi

    Wow! A great thriller, full of action, moving around different countries, mental abilities and great adventures! Will continue with the series, for sure!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tony Parsons

    VA Medical Center Santa Monica, CA. Uncle Doc & Jake Bronson were in the basement admiring the Advanced Prosthetics Technology Center. Physical therapists were working with those in need. Alex was helping Mississippi Mike (PTSD, US Army vet) take his 1st. steps with his new prosthetics. A IED had taken care of both his human legs. Fujian Province, South China. Uncle Timmy had made sure Sarafina (13, sister), & Ahmed (brother) were on a plane. The plane was descending at a very fast rate & the 3 wou VA Medical Center Santa Monica, CA. Uncle Doc & Jake Bronson were in the basement admiring the Advanced Prosthetics Technology Center. Physical therapists were working with those in need. Alex was helping Mississippi Mike (PTSD, US Army vet) take his 1st. steps with his new prosthetics. A IED had taken care of both his human legs. Fujian Province, South China. Uncle Timmy had made sure Sarafina (13, sister), & Ahmed (brother) were on a plane. The plane was descending at a very fast rate & the 3 would have to bail out. Some where their dad, mom & Uncle Tony were being held. There were plenty of supplies, guns & ammo on the plane. As the 3 watched from a distance plenty of others were scouring the plane wreck also. This makes no sense. “Ahmed & Timmy were dead.” & “Of course, I knew it wasn’t Ahmed’s fault that Timmy was dead (pg. 81).” I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review, only an honest one. All thoughts & opinions are entirely my own. A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A fairly well written paranormal (novella) book. It wasn’t very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish, but never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a great set of unique characters to keep track of. You are a fabulous writer I know, but this 1 I have no clue what it is about. That said the least I can give you is 2/5 stars. Thank you for the free Smashwords; Manybooks; PDF book Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mike Nemeth

    Writer Richard Bard successfully combines the power of a thriller with the twist of science-fiction in "Brainrush," the first in his well received series. The combination is a well-executed and fast-moving novel that takes Jake Bronson (a former military pilot with a dose of darkness and anti-hero legacy) from a near-death bout with an MRI to a battle with terrorists that starts in Italy and concludes in Afghanistan. Along the way, Bronson, who believes he's got just months to live, learns that Writer Richard Bard successfully combines the power of a thriller with the twist of science-fiction in "Brainrush," the first in his well received series. The combination is a well-executed and fast-moving novel that takes Jake Bronson (a former military pilot with a dose of darkness and anti-hero legacy) from a near-death bout with an MRI to a battle with terrorists that starts in Italy and concludes in Afghanistan. Along the way, Bronson, who believes he's got just months to live, learns that his brain's been given him super smarts and super-fast physical abilities. He also runs into Luciano Battista, a true believer in the fact that all infidels must die. Battista is cut from the supreme evil cloth that wrapped every James Bond villain. He's smart, rich and nasty. He wants to eliminate all non-believers, and he's not to be underestimated. Bronson would rather not have anything to do with the guy, but he's honorable and was a badass before Battista went after him. Battista's interest in Bronson began when a YouTube video showed everybody how smart he was and how he could seemingly pluck a beer mug from the air as it hurtled toward his head. Battista had been conducting experiments to make an army of super-smart soldiers of Allah. He believes Bronson could supply the missing piece of information that would enable his neuro implants to succeed. Bronson, whose life has been marked with continued tragedy, finds romance, teams with some very tough special-operations soldiers and has some of the best friends a guy could ever need especially if he's thrown into a Bond-like adventure.

  20. 4 out of 5

    puppitypup

    Action/Suspense Well named What an enjoyable read! The characters are likeable, the writing engaging and the plot fast-paced. Usually with male authors writing male protagonists, I have a hard time connecting, but that wasn't an issue at all here. In fact, I really like the main character, and even the secondary characters have enough depth to inch their way into your heart. I was able to follow along effortlessly with the action scenes, and found them both thrilling and believable. Really superb Action/Suspense Well named What an enjoyable read! The characters are likeable, the writing engaging and the plot fast-paced. Usually with male authors writing male protagonists, I have a hard time connecting, but that wasn't an issue at all here. In fact, I really like the main character, and even the secondary characters have enough depth to inch their way into your heart. I was able to follow along effortlessly with the action scenes, and found them both thrilling and believable. Really superb writing there, because action scenes aren't normally my forte. If you're a hard-core romantic, like me, there is just enough romance here to keep you hooked, plus a couple of kids to lose your heart over. I love the last line! If you're an Amazon Prime member, this one and the sequel are free for Kindle. I lucked out and borrowed the first one on the last day of the month, so I can jump right into the sequel tomorrow. I see that the third novel in the trilogy is set for release this week. The novel has just a few bad words and no intimate scenes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary Cantrell

    Initially, this looked like it might be OK - a man with a tumor that was not treatable. Then there is an accident in the MRI during an earthquake and suddenly things start to go weird. The special ops aspects of the story had potential, but it was carried too far and I found myself skimming through some of the descriptions. I thought the characters were shallow and not well developed. In fact, my initial feel for the main character that he was a weakling and it turned out he was some well-experi Initially, this looked like it might be OK - a man with a tumor that was not treatable. Then there is an accident in the MRI during an earthquake and suddenly things start to go weird. The special ops aspects of the story had potential, but it was carried too far and I found myself skimming through some of the descriptions. I thought the characters were shallow and not well developed. In fact, my initial feel for the main character that he was a weakling and it turned out he was some well-experienced special ops guy who knew all the best operatives in the world. Not very believable. I especially did not like the supernatural elements that appeared as the story developed. The space alien angle that showed up at the end was the last straw. I did not really like this book and will certainly not be reading the rest of the series. I really hate series books that end on a "suspense" note. Even in a good series, there should be a believable ending to each book. Not recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    karl

    I was hesitant on reading this book and on giving it a good grade. But, when I got into it, I found this book a never ending, thrill packed, hard-to-believe read. I had to come up for breath. I sometimes shook my head thinking, "how could the author keep coming up with these?" The essence is our normal guy hero has an MRI during a California earthquake. The result is he can envision things and react to things before anyone else. As word gets out (e.g., that he could catch a knife by the handle as I was hesitant on reading this book and on giving it a good grade. But, when I got into it, I found this book a never ending, thrill packed, hard-to-believe read. I had to come up for breath. I sometimes shook my head thinking, "how could the author keep coming up with these?" The essence is our normal guy hero has an MRI during a California earthquake. The result is he can envision things and react to things before anyone else. As word gets out (e.g., that he could catch a knife by the handle as it is thrown trying to kill him), a bad guy medical researcher on brains (who all think is a good guy) in Europe decides he just has to analyze the now abnormal man. He is kidnapped. He is operated on, and so it goes. Just a lot of "yee gads" moments. I like that the title calls it "a thriller". It was. I am not proud to have read it, but I sure as heck was entertained. Sometimes you gotta drop the "5" on something you inhaled!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Brun

    2/5 stars: This book was ok. I choose this book based upon excellent reviews on Amazon. What a disappointment. I suppose that this book might appeal more to the male population than the females due to the load of descriptions about guns, ammunition, terrorists, and combat. In the beginning I thought this book had potential. It read as an action/mystery - with the plot centered around scientifically possible geniuses. So perhaps the reason I hated this book so much was because the ending placed t 2/5 stars: This book was ok. I choose this book based upon excellent reviews on Amazon. What a disappointment. I suppose that this book might appeal more to the male population than the females due to the load of descriptions about guns, ammunition, terrorists, and combat. In the beginning I thought this book had potential. It read as an action/mystery - with the plot centered around scientifically possible geniuses. So perhaps the reason I hated this book so much was because the ending placed this book into a completely different, unnecessary, (and seemingly out of no where) category: fantasy. Honestly, he could have ended the book at the half way point and I would have given it a better rating.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I have very mixed feelings about this novel. First and foremost this was pure brain candy, which is not always a bad thing. I'm all about reading things I like for the fun of it! The problems start with the formulaic manner in which the plot was laid out and the characters inserted and developed. And the lucky breaks that fall Jake's way, omg I'd like to have a fraction of the good luck he has! After a time I had to completely suspend belief and go with the flow through to the end. The pace of t I have very mixed feelings about this novel. First and foremost this was pure brain candy, which is not always a bad thing. I'm all about reading things I like for the fun of it! The problems start with the formulaic manner in which the plot was laid out and the characters inserted and developed. And the lucky breaks that fall Jake's way, omg I'd like to have a fraction of the good luck he has! After a time I had to completely suspend belief and go with the flow through to the end. The pace of the story was entertaining and sustained throughout but I'm not sure I'll read the sequel unless it pops up at a discount.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Walkden

    I wasn't sure where this story was going to start with, so many facets to it. The story starts with a MRI accident where Jake Bronson, who has been given a few months to live, is suddenly empowered with enhanced brain function. Soon this leads him into a world of kidnap, experiments and murder. His friends Tony, Marshall and Lacey are determined to save him and are drawn into a story that goes from science to mayhem. I loved the endearing storyline of Jake's connection to two children, in partic I wasn't sure where this story was going to start with, so many facets to it. The story starts with a MRI accident where Jake Bronson, who has been given a few months to live, is suddenly empowered with enhanced brain function. Soon this leads him into a world of kidnap, experiments and murder. His friends Tony, Marshall and Lacey are determined to save him and are drawn into a story that goes from science to mayhem. I loved the endearing storyline of Jake's connection to two children, in particular Sarafina and later Tony' s protection of her. I will definitely be reading the next in the series from Richard Bard.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    The book is well-written, and I can definitely see the appeal. The plot was a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, and it definitely took me by surprise. Having said that, I think I might skip the rest of the series as it just didn't grab me like I had hoped it would. The book is well-written, and I can definitely see the appeal. The plot was a mixture of science fiction and fantasy, and it definitely took me by surprise. Having said that, I think I might skip the rest of the series as it just didn't grab me like I had hoped it would.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I loved this book, fast paced, interesting and well written. The characters are believable and it has twists that you just won't see coming, I was shocked and it takes a lot to do that. Go pick this book up for sure, I'm already reading the second book. I loved this book, fast paced, interesting and well written. The characters are believable and it has twists that you just won't see coming, I was shocked and it takes a lot to do that. Go pick this book up for sure, I'm already reading the second book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dee Haddrill

    Originally read 14 July 2014; listened to via Audible 10 Feb 2017 A good action thriller that is fast-paced and leads you places you don't expect. The characters are well written and likeable. I look forward to the next one. Originally read 14 July 2014; listened to via Audible 10 Feb 2017 A good action thriller that is fast-paced and leads you places you don't expect. The characters are well written and likeable. I look forward to the next one.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jim Arona

    I thought that this book had at least two good things going for it. Number 1 is that he doesn't feel the need to have his main character engage in improbably sexual antics. Number 2 is that there is plenty of action and it is well-described. HOWEVER The writer is pretty ignorant. Much is made of the Dari language, the claim being that it is remote and difficult to learn. Dari is, as it happens, a state language of Afghanistan, and being a dialect of Farsi is not particularly difficult to learn. Wh I thought that this book had at least two good things going for it. Number 1 is that he doesn't feel the need to have his main character engage in improbably sexual antics. Number 2 is that there is plenty of action and it is well-described. HOWEVER The writer is pretty ignorant. Much is made of the Dari language, the claim being that it is remote and difficult to learn. Dari is, as it happens, a state language of Afghanistan, and being a dialect of Farsi is not particularly difficult to learn. While the croupiers do seem to call out the results of games, in a casino in Monaco they are likely to do it in French. For all that there are plenty of muslim characters in the book, the ones on the side of the protagonist are pretty two-dimensional, and it seems clear that he has a big hate on Islam. Perhaps worse, his grasp of Middle Eastern politics is infantile, at least as described in his book, is infantile. I do not disagree with him that Richard I was honourless scum as shown by the Sack of Acre, but this is not the reason for abiding hatred of the West, particularly the US, in the modern world. It's things like Operation Ajax/Operation Boot in 1953 or US funding of the regimes in Israel which have caused such a lot of upset in the region. It's important to deal fairly with things like race, politics, gender and the rest of it. Not because it makes for an enlightened writer or reader, because who is informed about these things from reading a thriller. On the other hand, it is jarring to read the redneck fantasies of a 14 year old US survivalist. I, personally, take note of such authors and never spend money on their offerings again. A little research might have made this an interesting book in an under-used genre. Instead, it is

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Walkden-Brown

    Fun, escapist, but a strangely compelling read. Well that was one exhausting read. But a very enjoyable one. A surfeit of action, really interesting characters and some very good twists. Rather had me at the brain morph following the MRI gone awry, thanks to an earthquake, but when the anti-terrorist plot appeared I had my eyes riveted to the page (screen) from then onward. The perennial mad scientists and their brain implants, while not a unique idea was handled deftly. There's a lesson here, i Fun, escapist, but a strangely compelling read. Well that was one exhausting read. But a very enjoyable one. A surfeit of action, really interesting characters and some very good twists. Rather had me at the brain morph following the MRI gone awry, thanks to an earthquake, but when the anti-terrorist plot appeared I had my eyes riveted to the page (screen) from then onward. The perennial mad scientists and their brain implants, while not a unique idea was handled deftly. There's a lesson here, if you suddenly find yourself endowed with superpowers in the form of an eidetic savant memory, don't display it in public when you've had one too many beers. And when an evil nutjob terrorist is likely to see the YouTube video of your performance. That's when the fun really began… A couple of negatives - not sure why, in their supposed HALO they opened their chutes almost immediately at 25,000 feet. The LO stands for Low Opening - that is CLOSE to the ground. Dumb booboo that really irritated me. The other was the main character's leaping to an assumption that was correct - but he did so with no apparent prior knowledge nor enough facts to reach the conclusion he did. Happy to suspend disbelief, but there has to be a consistent thread of reality and/or logic and occasionally the author slips up. Sort of sci-fi, sort of military, hardly very realistic, but that was part of the fun. An excellent escapist read. Definitely a series worth pursuing, despite my small gripes!

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