Death Message

Fiction - Science Fiction
95 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am the enormously proud Father of three amazing daughters: Kimberly Ann, Jennifer Elizabeth, and Shannon Marie, my English Channel swimmer. They have gifted me with seven grandchildren, four boys, and three girls.

I am the former Information Technology executive for three very successful Fortune firms engaged in both national and regional over-the-road commerce. For over 25 years, my visions for the application of computer technology afforded me a platform for my writing, lectures, and the design of high-tech system solutions for the business community. Over time, key elements of my technical work have been published in nationally recognized journals oriented to the use of computers and real-time networks within the transportation industry. Retired now, I have the time to pursue my lifelong interest in writing. To date, I have completed, several articles, poems, and four novels; ABSOLUTION: THE TED ROTH STORY, DEATH MESSAGE, ANOMALY, and ABRIANA and JOSEPHINE: A LOVE STORY.

I plan on completing at least one novel every few years, interspersed with a sprinkling of poetry, novelettes, and short stories. The commitment to my readers is simple; provide a quilt-work of quality fiction, rich with imaginative nutriment for reflective intellectual stimulation on challenging thought-provoking subjects.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite

Death Message is a disturbingly realistic novel by Edmund Hulton. While on vacation, struggling associate professors Maggie and Brad Montana find a strange pyramid-shaped object covered in hieroglyphs on a beach in Vanua Levu, Fiji. Brad immediately feels extremely ominous about it. They report the item to the local police before shipping it to their home in the United States. With the assistance of their associates, Brad and Maggie do all they can to open it. When it starts to change, both become scared. Brad spends more and more time with the object while significantly shortening many of the classes he teaches. Soon he is obsessed and rarely comes home. Maggie intervenes in an attempt to save their marriage and they eventually mutually decide to both work on it together. With each clue found, Brad and Maggie decide it is a map and pinpoint the exact spot in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory in Australia. They travel with tour guide, Bill Morgan, who takes them to the location before leaving them to their own devices. What they discover dooms us all.

I read Edmund Hulton's book, Death Message, with a pinch of salt attitude to prove to myself that no book under one hundred pages could ever pack a punch. How very wrong I was. The realism in Death Message is incredible. Intricate details left me doubting my own beliefs in so many different ways. While not a denier that there may be other life forms out there in space, I have to say that The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock himself had nothing on Edmund Hulton's intricately detailed story. The item discovered by the main characters on the beach is most certainly not something you ever hope to find during your lifetime, especially if you have a curious mind and feel compelled to learn all the answers in life. As simple as the main structure of the story is, it does not even begin to prepare you for what is to come. Death Message is a must-read for all, regardless of their genre preferences.

Stefan Vucak

Maggie and Brad Montana found a strange conical object on a remote Fijian island. The tip of the cone contained unusual markings and, for its size, it was remarkably light. Returning to the States, they tried everything to open the enigmatic object. In frustration, Brad hit it with a hammer and scratched it with Maggie’s diamond ring, but to no avail. As Maggie was running her fingers over the markings, the cone suddenly lifted itself on three little legs. After several weeks, they manage to open it. Inside was a disk with symbols and blue buttons on it, and a strange scroll. As soon as Brad removed the disk, the cone closed and disappeared. They deciphered the symbols, which pointed to a location in Australia. Taking time off work, they traveled to Northern Territory where, to their horror, they finally learned the secret of the cone.

With Death Message, Edmund Hulton takes readers on a haunting journey of self-discovery, obsession, and terror at the realization that life beyond the stars is indifferent to humanity. I enjoyed the struggle Brad and Maggie experienced in their attempt to solve the mystery of the cone. Had this aspect been developed further, this story would have made a fascinating psychological drama. The novella explores an intriguing concept of an alien test for anyone who finds the cone, but passing that test is not exactly what one wants. I enjoyed the story, finding it unusual and interesting. Readers will find this a stimulating tale.

Miche Arendse

Death Message by Edmund Hulton takes readers on a thrilling and perilous journey as Maggie and Brad Montana, unsuspecting vacationers and budding academics, stumble upon a mysterious alien artifact. Taking the strange conical object back to the States with them, they attempt to open it using various methods. Almost at the point of giving up, they manage to open the strange object. Once they finally discover the secrets of the artifact, they must embark on a global odyssey that culminates in Australia's Northern Territory; however, some secrets are best left in the dark.

Death Message by Edmund Hulton is a short but impactful story that not only serves as a gripping science fiction thriller but also delves into the consequences of humanity's insatiable curiosity and the price paid for unlocking ancient mysteries. The story raises thought-provoking questions about the ethical implications of probing the unknown and the unforeseen ripple effects that may shape the future. Hulton has crafted a tale that challenges readers to contemplate the price of unlocking ancient mysteries and the resilience required to navigate the unpredictable events of the future. The author does so by way of vivid descriptions of every scene and an entertaining host of characters whose lives become a crucible of survival as the couple grapples with the consequences of their inadvertent actions. This short story will have a great appeal to fans of science fiction especially those with a darker undertone overall as the plot unravels into something much more sinister.

Essien Asian

Brad Montana and his wife Peggy are on vacation in the islands of Fiji when they stumble upon an unusual object that looks like it does not belong on the beach. Being active academics, they are interested in discovering what this object may be so they ship it back home, intending to investigate it further. What they are blissfully unaware of is that the object of their attention is not of this world. Their desire to solve a seemingly insurmountable puzzle will put them in the unique position of asking if the answer to all their questions is worth risking their lives in Edmund Hulton's Death Message.

Edmund Hulton creates a very believable version of a first contact experience with an alien life form in the plot of Death Message. The story is direct and deceptively simple at first with its innocent beginning but, as you delve deeper, Hulton’s use of a questioning tone in every aspect about this unusual object creates a creeping sensation of impending dread that immerses the reader and makes the novel impossible to put down. There may be very few characters in this story but they are utilized impressively with the couple trying to solve this mystery scientifically by using step-by-step experimentation. This complements Hulton’s incorporation of a human angle which the reader can relate to when Brad has to choose between his curiosity and the importance of his marriage. Death Message is dark yet thought-provoking in an intelligent way that will appeal to readers who are willing to think outside the box.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

Death Message is a science fiction novella by Edmund Hulton in which Brad and Maggie Montana find a strange object during their vacation in Fiji. Claiming that the item was a carved coconut shell, the couple sends it in a package to their home. Once back in Iowa, they resume their lives, but the package arrives, and opening the object becomes a priority, especially for Brad. His obsession almost ruins their marriage, but the couple resolves to work on solving its puzzle together within time constraints. Finally, the object opens and reveals contents that will set in motion an elaborate trap unlike anything imaginable for the pair who wants to solve its mystery.

Edmund Hulton has mastered tension and irony in less than half the pages of a full-length novel. Told in vivid detail and intensely described, readers feel as though they are with the Montanas as they discover each clue. The concept of the story attests to the author's brilliance, and his vocabulary is rich and flawless. Hulton builds the characters without leaving the focus of the story and alludes to their destiny without damaging the disquieting end to his tale. Many times, the Montanas ignore their intuitions, moving the story forward quickly but creating a gnawing sense of dread in the reader. Readers can see they are unwitting pawns in a test that uses their intelligence against them in a deplorable way. Death Message is a great selection for readers who enjoy shocking conclusions with an edge of sci-fi and suspense.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Death Message by Edmund Hulton is a short sci-fi story. The Fiji Islands are experiencing an EL Nino winter, and during a vicious storm, an ancient vessel washes up on the shore of an uninhabited island. Brad and Maggie Montana find the vessel while on vacation and discover some weird instruments that send them on a quest across the world. That quest ends in Australia on the Devil’s Marbles, a strange landscape in the Northern Territory. An ancient alien trap is set as the vessel’s secrets begin to unravel. As they work to decode a death message, they trigger the end of the world as a time-delayed sequence begins that will destroy the planet. Now they are against the clock, but when they manage to escape from their prison, they discover that more time has passed than they realized. Can they stop the planet's destruction in time, or is it the end for everyone?

Death Message by Edmund Hulton is a fascinating tale of how working together can get you out of many situations. It may be a short story, but it packs a lot in, and every page is full of action and adventure. The two main characters are well-developed, and you get to know them very well by the end of the story. It’s a kind of sci-fi story mixed with a bit of horror, but it’s perfectly well written for its audience. The author has a real way with words, drawing you in with every sentence and keeping you enthralled until the end. This is compelling reading, and I look forward to reading more of his work.