A Select Group

Fiction - Thriller - General
244 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Entertaining and inspiring, A Select Group by Blaine C. Readler explores what is intrinsically embedded in human nature, the sentiment most of us wish we never had, but which we must live with and learn to face every day. Caleb isn’t just a divorced man, he is jobless and living off the streets ... until a rare opportunity comes in the form of an ad that he answers, an ad that calls for volunteers in an extended university study. Soon, he is wearing a uniform and joining a dozen others in a bus destined for an unknown location. The fear sets in when this group begins to realise that the ride taking them higher and higher up the deserted California Mountains could bring them face-to-face with unknown dangers that lurk in the desert. And they are not wrong because they are objects of an experiment designed to prove the effects of dangers on a group of humans. The adventure is just beginning and readers are set up for unforeseen surprises and jolts they never anticipated.

A Select Group took me by surprise, plunging me headlong into an adventure that I never expected, a story that explores human nature and what it takes to transcend it. The reader is introduced to a cast of compelling and interesting characters from the very beginning of the story, and thanks to the author’s gift for character and his great storytelling skills, the reader will be immediately interested in finding out what will become of the characters. The conflict is strong enough to keep the reader completely absorbed by the story, but what captivated me most was the exploration of the characters and the masterful development of themes, especially teamwork. This is a thriller that entertains and educates.

Bruce Arrington

A Select Group by Blaine Readler is a more or less New Adult version of a Lord of the Flies type of story, where unsuspecting volunteers sign up for an unknown adventure to see where life takes them. They sign contracts most lawyers would laugh at, but I guess a lot of people these days don’t read the fine print. So the takeaway lesson is: be careful what you sign. The adventure takes place high in the forested woods of California, away from any town or essence of modern civilization. There, they undergo a type of social experiment that unfolds with each passing day.

A Select Group is a slow burner, which builds to the end. The middle part lagged for me, causing me to wonder if it was going to actually develop, but it does. It was worth sticking with it. There is soon a swift change of pace that puts the story into full gear, making it hard for me to put down. I had questions coming out of my ears about things I was worried about, but they were put to rest by the end of the book. With seventeen different volunteer characters, sometimes it was hard to remember who was who, and I would like to have seen more character development throughout. However, the main heroes were well developed and I liked them. And I definitely rooted for them, sometimes from the edge of my seat. The story was well edited and flowed easily. It showed the polished professionalism of an experienced writer. I consider myself a picky reader and a story has to have a lot going for it to keep my attention. Readler’s book certainly does that and I recommend this for readers who enjoy adventure stories wrapped in a thriller context.

Jane Finch

A Select Group by Blaine C. Readler tells the story of a group of people who, for one reason or another, find themselves without direction and end up signing up for an undefined and somewhat secretive project in the wilds of California. Lured by the promise of food, accommodation, and even a financial reward, albeit small, they set off on an unknown journey. Alarm bells start to ring when all their possessions are taken away and replaced with uniforms. They are then divided into two groups, green and blue, and given a series of tasks to complete. Take two leaders who are not quite what they seem, and throw in the directors of the study, Plath and Burrows, who appear to have conflicting goals, and life soon descends into anarchy. Can the voice of reason be heard, or will the survival instinct prevail?

This is a captivating story reminiscent of Lord of the Flies by William Golding, albeit an adult version. What purported to be a study is really an experiment in human behaviour and, given a certain set of circumstances, the reader is led down a path that is both chilling yet justified. The author, Blaine C. Readler, has crafted a story that reaches into the heart of everyone who has always harboured a longing to try something different, perhaps a new, simpler lifestyle. This story puts everything into perspective as man’s overwhelming desire to survive crushes the values of relationships, friendship, teamwork and consideration for others. A visual story ideal for further discussion and with the potential for becoming a memorable classic.