Deadly Serious

Fiction - Thriller - General
294 Pages
Reviewed on 06/08/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A. J. Thibault is an award-winning author, novelist & screenwriter. He has written numerous screenplays, two novels, a blog, numerous articles and made a few short student films. His paranormal novel “Ghost Town” won the best fiction award in the American book fest in 2021 He is the author of the thriller “Deadly Serious,” “Sway,” “Keeping Score,” and the #1 international best seller “How to Change a Law,” a 2017 Reader's Favorite Gold Medal Winner, a Finalist in the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Book Awards and a Runner Up in the 2017 San Francisco Book Festival.

As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, he is the founder and CEO of iLobby and through his foundation has donated to causes focused on children’s health, education and financial literacy. He has worked in entertainment, software and the Internet including MCA/Universal, eBay, Financial Engines and iLobby.

He received his bachelors degree from Ryerson University and earned his MFA from UCLA’s film school. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Northern California.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Deadly Serious: Terror is no Laughing Matter by A.J. Thibault is a dark comedy that follows “poor little rich boy”Jon Goodis as he tries to come to terms with what his role in life should be. With his father being a wealthy and successful CEO of an oil company, Jon knows one day the wealth will be his, but what is life about? What is it that he’s continually searching for? Fired from his job as a teacher, Jon tries his hand at the thing he’s always wanted to do; stand-up comedy. When Jon stumbles across a murder and gains some information that makes him a marked man, his life is changed forever. He doesn’t know what he has in his possession, but he knows plenty seem to want to kill for it, or scare him senseless. Wracked with loneliness, Jon embraces a new relationship with the beautiful Lauren, but all may not be as it seems.

Deadly Serious is one of those stories that straddles genres. It’s more than just a simple “spy” thriller, with much of the emphasis on the relationship between Jon and the love of his life, Lauren. This allows the author to ask and attempt to answer some of life’s big questions, such as what is our purpose in life, what are we trying to achieve, and what makes a relationship work? Whether the author achieves this through his characters will be up to each individual reader to decide. I found Jon to be a fascinating character torn between his desire to do what was right, to be alone, strong and independent and his deep-seated need to love, be loved and to trust and be trusted. In summary, this is more than just another thriller; it definitely has more going for it than that.

Marta Tandori

No man is an island and yet you have to be in order to survive in A.J. Thibault’s ambitious thriller, Deadly Serious. For most people, chance encounters rarely leave a lasting impression but for twenty-nine-year-old former teacher and comedian wannabe, Dan Goodis, his encounter with a hermit while jogging in Malibu Canyon changes the course of his life forever when he hands Dan a manila envelope. But Aleksandr Vasinoff isn’t your typical hermit. An Eastern Bloc scientist and a seed planted 30 years ago by the CIA, he’s gone AWOL and the CIA wants him back – but not if the Cubans have anything to say about the matter. After witnessing the hermit’s brutal murder during a return visit to the hermit’s shack, Dan realizes with horror that there are people willing to kill for what the hermit gave him and it’s scaring him to death.

A.J. Thibault’s prose is taut with underlying suspense as his protagonist’s life unravels, fueled by both paranoia and fear. The shining point of Dan’s life is his relationship with Lauren Bateman, a young woman working for his father’s petroleum company. Despite Lauren’s initial unwavering devotion and support, Dan is unable to tell Lauren about the hermit and the envelope in his possession. His secrecy and growing paranoia soon create constant friction in their relationship to the point where the two lash out at one another and their relationship suffers dramatically. The complex vulnerability of the author’s protagonist adds another layer of authenticity to the story.

Dan is a study of contrasts in that he appears uncaring of the unpaid bills that clutter his living space yet, with no visible means of employment, he refuses to take on his role as heir apparent in his father’s petroleum company, despite entreaties from his mother to do so. He’s kind to animals yet is sometimes ruthless in his relationship with Lauren. All of these paradoxical character traits keep the reader artfully engaged. Suspense, love, murder, and retaliation make for interesting bedfellows and Deadly Serious certainly has its fair share, making it an irresistible read.

Susan Sewell

A witness to a man's murder becomes the target in a suspenseful game of cat and mouse in the psychological thriller Deadly Serious by A. J. Thibault. Dan went to the best schools and has led a carefree life since the day he was born, and his greatest desire is to be a comic. While out for his morning run, Dan encounters an aged recluse near the running path and later witnesses two men killing him. Dan is unaware the stranger is a physicist and transferred encoded files and the decryption code to him during their bizarre exchange. Observing Dan with the physicist and unsure of his part in the man's demise, undercover CIA agents infiltrate every portion of Dan's life. In the meantime, Dan meets Lauren in his father's office and is instantly attracted to her. However, falling in love with Lauren has its downside. Lauren's attitude and behavior run hot and cold, leaving Dan unsure about himself and insecure in their relationship. With Lauren driving him out of his mind and evil clones stalking him, Dan must decide whether to end it all or take a stand.

Set at the close of the Cold War, Deadly Serious by A. J. Thibault is an unforgettable novel filled with betrayal, deceit, and intrigue. With intense scenes containing action and violence, the storyline has a psychological thriller aspect. An uneasy atmosphere permeated the plot, holding me breathless as I waited for the ax to drop. What Dan goes through with Lauren is heartrending, and it was hard to discern if there were any good guys in the story besides Dan. Superbly written, this story will entertain everyone who enjoys murder mysteries with troubled heroes and sleuthing off the cuff. Amidst all the drama and conflict, the author has interspersed the plot with some entertaining comedy club scenes that are the perfect contrast and relief for the building tension. Due to violence and graphic sex scenes, this book is more suitable for a mature reader.

Ruffina Oserio

In Deadly Serious by A.J. Thibault, a comedian witnesses the murder of a solitary physicist. Before dying, the physicist accidentally gives a secret code to Dan Goodis and thus begin his troubles. Before he could even understand what the puzzle means, he is already being hunted by powerful men belonging to a cabal and they will stop at nothing to hinder him from sharing what he knows. Soon, Dan will regret that he left teaching, bought a dog, went jogging, and met Lauren. A series of unplanned events are about to lead not only him but those closest to him into grave danger. Can he unravel the mystery before it is too late? As the circle closes tighter around him, he must make bold and desperate choices!

A.J. Thibault has crafted a fascinating crime thriller with a protagonist that I adored. A comedian, a man who is deeply flawed, getting involved with members of a cabal, including Russians and the Cubans. He is genuinely flawed because he suddenly finds himself in a world in which he doesn’t belong yet he is threatened. Normally, a reader would expect a protagonist in this kind of narrative to be an ex-cop, a military man, or a skilled fighter. But not Dan, and that is what makes him compelling. The sense of urgency and suspense grows through every page as those closest to Dan, including his new lover, Lauren, and family members are exposed to the danger. Apart from Dan, other characters like Suvorov and George Arkin are well-written and their role in the story is expertly developed. Deadly Serious is a captivating story with huge potential to entertain fans of general thrillers. It is boldly plotted, deft, and balanced.