A Red Dog Thriller, The Altered Book 1

Young Adult - Action
272 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Blou Bryant lives in Peterborough, Ontario and has worked on military bases in Alberta and Manitoba, in the deep bush of Canada's north, at Green Gables in Prince Edward Island and at the Fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton. He's been a chef, a sound technician and a stand-up comedian. His career has taken him, his wife and their many animals across Canada.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lorena Sanqui for Readers' Favorite

Wyatt received a text from Jessica, his longtime crush, inviting him to attend a party. What was supposedly a fun party started a series of events that changed Wyatt’s life and someone is behind this elaborate plan. People are dying and he is being pursued by the police for crimes he didn’t commit. Wyatt has to outsmart the person orchestrating this ruse to get back his life. But how will he do it when he is being held at gunpoint by Jessica, who turned out to be a gun wielding, psychopathic, spoiled, rich girl whose daddy has the entire police force at his beck and call? Will Wyatt be able to defeat the guy behind all his deadly problems or will this person get to him first. Read Catalyst: A Red Dog Thriller, the first book in The Altered series by Blou Bryant.

Catalyst by Blou Bryant is an action packed, fast paced, dystopian thriller with quirky and headstrong characters. It is a story full of twists and unexpected developments written in an enjoyable way. I appreciate that the secrets weren’t revealed at once and were presented gradually, like being with Wyatt as he navigates his new life of violence while trying to escape his captors. Another plus is the way the place and scenes were described; they were written well. I found Jessica’s character to be deplorable and Wyatt’s need to explain and try to justify her actions to be also annoying. But it is a great book because it was able to elicit such strong reactions about the characters.

Jack Magnus

Catalyst: A Red Dog Thriller, The Altered, Book 1 is a young adult high-tech action thriller written by Blou Bryant. Wyatt was pretty much astonished when he received a text from Jessica. She was ultra-hot and very popular, and he had had a crush on her for just about forever. He had never dreamed that she would text him, however, as he was light years beneath her level --- socially at least. Her invitation to meet with her at an open house party would mean a night out instead of watching a favorite show with his mom. Wyatt didn’t really do social gatherings, and he called his best friend, Ford, for advice before answering the text. Ford figured that someone had stolen Jessica’s phone and was playing a prank, but he did agree to go with Wyatt, realizing that Wyatt wasn’t really up to handling the situation on his own. When they got to the party, Wyatt felt even more out of place and was more than ready to go back home; however, Ford insisted they continue checking the party out. They finally did find Jessica and her friends in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and Wyatt’s worst fears were instantly confirmed. No, she hadn’t texted him, and she acted as though she hardly even knew who he was. Ford deftly handled his abject and humiliated friend’s exit from the room, and he later examined Wyatt’s phone. Yes, it had been hacked, and the sender seemed quite ready to resume their texted conversation.

Blou Bryant's young adult coming of age novel, Catalyst, catapults an unworldly teen into a nightmarish reality of psychopathic kidnappers, corporation-controlled police, and a vampire cult. Catalyst bristles with energy and non-stop action as Wyatt tries to figure out a way to survive a situation that just keeps on getting worse. Bryant's characters leap off the page; they are that compelling, especially Lewis Stanhope, the volunteer police officer and pro football running back who stands up for Wyatt; and Wilbur, the counter clerk at the diner who so quickly forged a bond with Wyatt as he sought a way out of his desperate circumstances. And Wyatt himself is such a memorable character. I relished the thought of a geeky, chess-playing, math-obsessed loner teen who was also a track and field star and all-round athlete. He was such a sea change from the stereotypical nerd portrayal, and it made his coming of age under the most trying circumstances possible a truly awesome thing to behold. Catalyst: A Red Dog Thriller, The Altered, Book 1 is a high-tech thriller that delivers on so many different levels. I'm glad it's the beginning of a series and will be watching for the next book to come out. Catalyst is most highly recommended.

Rosie Malezer

Catalyst: A Red Dog Thriller is the first book in The Altered series written by Blou Bryant. When a text from high school crush, Jessica Golde, arrives on obsessive compulsive Wyatt Millar’s phone, asking him to a party, he attends with best friend, Ford. On arrival, Wyatt discovers the text had actually been sent from a stranger named Joe. As Wyatt and Ford leave the party, Jessica shoots her boyfriend, Justin, before taking Wyatt and Ford hostage. While driving to Detroit at gunpoint, the boys discover Jessica’s father owns the local police force, all of whom are corrupt. Meanwhile, Hannah (hidden in the trunk of the car) wakes and escapes, with Jessica and Ford in pursuit on foot. Hannah returns to the car, where she and Wyatt try to get help at a roadside diner, but police arrive, killing the owner in cold blood. Hannah and Wyatt track down Jessica to a research facility, where she is holding a gun to the head of Dr Nick Johannes, demanding the V32 virus he had created. Grabbing the vial containing the virus, Wyatt runs for his life and soon realizes that the only way out of this mess is to rely on the man who’d started the insane chain of events. Joe guides them to a seedy bar which is a front for the Red Dogs – humans who have been altered in some way or another. Just when Hannah and Wyatt think they have reached their shock limit, the V32 virus activates.

Blou Bryant has produced one of the most unusual, yet gripping thrillers I have ever read. Each page brings a shocking new discovery, with every piece of the puzzle leaving more questions. I was filled with relief each time I thought I’d finally figured out what was happening, only to have that thought quashed within the next minute of reading. The unexpected introduction of American Sign Language (with a twist) was a real treat, as ASL is my communication language. With the adrenaline-pumping action continuing throughout most of the book, the identity of Joe was a constant question mark. I very much enjoyed Catalyst: A Red Dog Thriller and recommend this book to mature readers who enjoy great stories that leave you on the edge of your seat, delivered at a heart-pumping, fast pace, and which are flavored with a touch of humor, paranormal and sci-fi adventure.