A Crime Thriller Novel with a mind-blowing twist

Fiction - Crime
390 Pages
Reviewed on 10/01/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Diane May is a crime thriller writer and she lives in Verona, Italy, with her husband. When she's not in her office writing, she can usually be found curled up on the sofa with a good book in her lap and a cup of green tea next to her.

The only daughter of an army colonel, she grew up on military bases where she learnt about weapons, discipline and the sacrifices of military life. She also worked for many years as a translator and interpreter for the Court of Law on mostly criminal cases.

EVO is her debut novel and she is currently working on her second crime thriller, Till Death Do Us Part, scheduled to be released in 2020.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

Marchiori had seen more than his fair share of murders; in his job it was to be expected. But never before had he seen anything like this. With all the markings of a rapidly escalating serial killer, time is of the essence. And with the latest turn, the killer himself has given them a deadline with a very clear threat against one of their own. The problem is, he never touches his victims; he leaves no evidence, except for the pen drive showing him killing in the most terrifying way: hypnosis. There is more to this than meets the eye, an entire thread of things way beyond his pay grade - secret experiments, dastardly research, and the most terrifying threat humanity has to face. Luckily Marchiori is not alone, but every second is one more closer to the final toll for all but a few.

Diane May's EVO possesses some amazingly developed, realistic, and deep characters enhancing the plot of this engrossing murder mystery. But this is not your simple whodunit; an intricate web of lies, secrets, and experiments give this fascinating tale a supercharge. With a serial killer at large, mass genocide on the cards, and the CIA's experimental children, danger emanates from every page and I was hooked from the beginning. The vivid descriptions and the portrayal of emotions are well crafted and flow seamlessly, feeding and stimulating the reader's imagination. Filled with complex relationships, doubts, secrets, agendas, lies, and dangerous revelations, this book is guaranteed not to leave you wanting in any area. A must-read for lovers of the crime and thriller genres or those seeking something with a little more to offer.

Joel R. Dennstedt

To say EVO by Diane May is a contemporary crime thriller is to understate a popular category to which this multi-plotted novel refuses to conform. The basics may be there: a serial killer killing, a police detective detecting, an imminent disaster waiting in the bushes. Simply identifying these basics, however, will limit your expectations about how these killings happen, who else happens to be detecting, and how futuristically and globally that imminent disaster looms. And if you limit your expectations, believing this will be your typical street-savvy re-telling of crimes and misadventure, your credibility will suffer. This book does not fit a box. Its serial killer has abnormal, almost supernatural abilities; its detectives operate openly, clandestinely, and conspiratorially; and the imminent disaster goes way beyond any super-human hypnosis that internally melts its victims.

Diane May has taken on quite a challenge by including so many incredible – incredulity producing – plot elements in her high-energy, fast-moving crime thriller with a twist. But the author manages these elements well. Her writing is compact and suitable to the genre – relating her intriguing matrix of events with a straightforward, assertive, and down-to-earth style most comfortable for fans familiar with the genre. In addition, May inserts many minor but realistic details to add further credibility, as well as highly human subplots (mostly of a romantic nature) to temper her courageous flights of fancy. In the end, EVO comes together well, and after enjoying a rather wild literary ride, the reader remains convinced the author stretched the limits of his expectations but did not disappoint them.

Viga Boland

What an amazing mix of the believable and unbelievable, the possible and impossible Diane May has blended into this, her debut novel, Evo. This crime fiction story is an impressive beginning to May’s writing career. Evo offer readers pages of suspenseful reading which might just keep you up late if you read at bedtime. Picture, if you dare, a dark figure who has an augmented ability to hypnotize people to death…their own. Is he real? Yes…and he’s also angry, full of revenge and he has several doctors on his hit list for their participation in turning him into that real life monster.

With bodies piling up in Verona, Italy, the police are going crazy trying to find this deadly hypnotist. But an even more deadly situation is about to be unleashed, not just on Verona but the entire world. A mysterious virologist, known only as “Doc,” has perfected a vaccine that can turn ordinary, healthy human beings into something akin to super-humans, both physically and mentally. Such super-humans will enjoy longer than normal lifespans. Just think for a moment of the ramifications of a world where millions of people live a century or two longer than we do now? How will our already over-populated planet sustain all those lives? The simplest solution, of course, would be to have the same vaccine eliminate unhealthy, undesirable humans. Talk about a sinister plot!

That is a very limited synopsis of what takes place in Evo…but for a simple reason: you just have to read this book! It’s spell-binding! Diane May’s characters are realistic, so much so that we feel every emotion experienced by the lovely and gifted Maya, her ex-boyfriend, Alex, and even the legendary detective, Livio Marchiori, as both Alex and Livio try to find not just the Hypnotist, but the madmen behind the vaccine before they and half the world are possibly wiped out. The tension mounts and runs at an all-time high until almost the last page. Trust me, you won’t be able to put this one down. May’s background working as an interpreter in criminal law cases along with her knowledge of weapons, discipline and military life, coupled with the research she has done for Evo give this novel authenticity. If Evo is any indication, crime fiction fans are about to discover a fresh, very creative and gifted author in Diane May. She is already working on her second book, Till Death Do Us Part. Can’t wait to read it!

Lit Amri

Twenty years ago, a CIA agent discovered that a procreation program that the CIA made available to its employees was a facade for illegal genetic experiments. Fast forward to the present day, the Italian police force is on the hunt for a serial killer they called The Hypnotist. In the meantime, certain individuals are moving forward with a driven plan that they came up with 18 years ago-a plan that will change the evolution of humankind.

I like the way Diane May develops the concept of Evo into a premise. It shows a solid level of complexities that readers will be happy to immerse themselves in. Virginia, London, Rome-different places serve as the story’s background but the historical city of Verona perfectly offers the hidden sinister atmosphere for this crime thriller. The well-paced plot has well-structured narrative threads with subtle and non-subtle hints on how they would connect. I particularly enjoyed chapter five, where the motive and the moral conflicts regarding a different kind of evolution are discussed during a tense argument. However, surprising twists about this grand plan reveal that it doesn’t offer the solution that everyone hopes for.

The characters are deftly individualized and I specifically gravitated towards Captain Livio Marchiori and Alexander O’Neal. Both of them somehow see personal attachments as baggage that compromises their work. Ironically, it fuels them to go to extra lengths to protect the ones they care for. The complex antagonists in Evo, such as the one who called himself Doc and the powerful wealthy Von Eckstein, have plausible motivation for their actions, which adds more depth to the story line. With clear prose and an engaging narrative, Diane May’s Evo is cleverly thought provoking and has more than enough hooks and intrigues to keep many readers interested.

Romuald Dzemo

A very dangerous serial killer is taking lives and sowing terror in the city. Livio Marchiori, the best homicide detective in Verona, Italy, is finding it hard to catch The Hypnotist, with clues that only lead to more questions. The more he digs, the less he finds while the city is on edge with the mayor and the press putting pressure on the police. When The Hypnotist threatens the love of his life, the chief medical examiner, Marchiori knows that he is quickly running out of time. A man from his past, Captain Victor Miller, who has helped in one of his biggest investigations, turns up in town and Marchiori's hopes of finding professional support soar. But is Miller really what he claims to be?

EVO, a crime thriller by Diane May, is a great achievement for a debut novel, a spellbinding story with twists readers won’t see coming. Diane May has a great gift for storytelling — a strong and confident narrative voice, a complex plot structure, and characters that are extraordinary without losing what makes them believable. The prose is beautiful and the author has a great sense of word economy. EVO features a powerful conflict. We encounter a skilled detective who finds himself lost in his area of expertise while pressure from society continues to mount. Marchiori is a sophisticated character and one of those protagonists readers will want to follow in a series. This is a novel that will put readers on the edge of their seats, cunningly plotted and deftly executed. I couldn’t put it down.