It Gives You Strength


Fiction - Science Fiction
312 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Stories about aliens and how they are secretly walking among us continue to hold a special place in our imagination. It Gives You Strength by Philip Raymond Brown is one such story, and it offers more. Welcome to the 1920s, where hooliganism is rife along with turf wars, speakeasies, and battles for black market businesses, most notably bootlegging. Ryan Costello is an alcoholic bootlegger and a former veteran of World War 1. A near decade of alcohol abuse has made his body emaciated and much older than what a twenty-six-year-old physique should be. The bottle had taken his life, and moments before he received his last rites in preparation for his passage to the great beyond, he now sits up straight in bed, with his eyes open, apparently staring up to heaven. But Costello is no longer what he used to be. He has been re-animated and his corporeal self is being used as a vessel by an alien anthropologist named Tashan Zho, who is on a mission to rescue the crown princess of their surviving race. But the life that Costello had once lived will put Zho in harm’s way.

The Day the Earth Stood Still meets The Untouchables in this searing sci-fi tale against the backdrop of one of the most turbulent periods in American history. Tashan Zho may be an alien in disguise, but the human skin he occupies overrides his alien nature and he becomes relatable and perfectly fits into the time where he has been transported. Philip Raymond Brown touches more on the human aspect of the plot rather than depending on the elements of high-tech gadgetry and jargon to elevate the conflict. The socio-political condition of the 20s is captured well, and it adds a strong sense of realism to the narrative. The writing craftsmanship here is top-notch. Brown’s skill at showing and not telling adds further dimension in ways that will astound you. It Gives You Strength is definitely a reading experience worth the journey.