Monday, October 7, 2013


Author: A. J. Simon
Released Date: July 19, 2013
Publisher: iUniverse
Edition: paperback, 379 pages
Genre: mystery, thriller, sci-fi
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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" will marvel at Mr. Simon's imagination and superb storytelling prowess. Kudos!" - Mark Rubinstein, author of Mad Dog House and Love Gone Mad 

Blurb - "The problem with Alex Nicholas is that he won't stay dead. Alex Nicholas was the consummate Queens bookie: fast cars and even faster women, and friends in all the wrong places. As an illegal sports betting and loan shark king in New York City, Alex was fearless - until the night his luck ran out and someone leveled the silver barrel of an automatic on him and pulled the trigger. Michael Nicholas was everything his brother Alex was not: a powerful, married straight-arrow corporate CEO living the American Dream. Their two worlds collide when Michael discovers his brother's secret laptop. As Michael crosses the globe to find his brother's murder, can he avoid his brother's fate? And can the information contained in the laptop help Alex reach out to help Michael - from beyond the grave."

My review - Can a bunch of highly sophisticated softwares capture the human essence and perpetuate life? Can technology defeat death and open the doors to immortality? E.J. Simon's thriller Death Never Sleeps flirts with the futuristic idea that a sophisticated computer software could not only replicate our mind's abstract logic (reasoning, judgement, decision making), but even predict our emotional state. An advanced 3D imaging program, voice replication and visual recognition technology would complete the Artificial Intelligence masterpiece, elevating us to the rank of demigods able to cheat death and simulate life.

According to theoretical physicist Stephen Awking, we are not far from implementing such an ambitious project. As he claims in his article recently published on the Huffington Post (Brains Could Be Copied To Computers To Allow Life After Death), somebody is actively working on developing a technology that would permit the migration of brain functions into a computer. We are definitely abandoning the speculative area of theoretical research and entering the realm of a ground-shifting factuality.

Alex lives a life of self-indulgent pleasures - beautiful women, double scotches, gourmet cuisine - but with a dangerous gambling and loan-sharking business in New York City, millions of dollars stashed away, and ex-wives who have more reasons to hate him than love him, an early death is written in the stars. 

"...when you're looking to solve a crime, when you can't find the money, look for the dame."

The problem with Alex is that he cannot stay dead: for a man who used to enjoy life with such  hedonistic enthusiasm, R.I.P. is not in his books and life after death is a bet he can easily win with the aid of an intuitive system of artificial intelligence able to replicate, on a computer screen, his logic and emotional patterns, voice and physical image. Sending text messages, emails, 9-1-1 calls from the grave is as easy as placing a sport bet on line, even reconnecting and bonding with that estranged brother who has always kept him and his shady world at a distance. 

Michael Nicholas, a high finance corporate man, is Alex's biological brother - same parents, same childhood, same background - but with opposite views in matter of women, marriage, money, and career. They couldn't be more different, or could they? While helping Alex's wife and son clear his brother's unfinished businesses and investigate the mystery of his death, Michael will start an ambivalent existence between unlawful activities and corporate pressures. Alex's 'un-death' leads Michael on a path of self-discovery: entering his brother's social habitat made of mobsters and illicit profit  will trigger a personal  'awakening', a renewed understanding of his lost brother's life, in  addition to a reconsideration of his own corporate culture.

Through carefully choreographed scenes, colorful characterizations, and gritty dialogues, Simon's debut novel comes across as a brilliant concoction of sci-fi, dark comedy, and family drama. With a strong flavor of mobster blockbuster series The Sopranos, witty humor and an original take on the Artificial Intelligence myth, Death Never Sleeps is a refreshing and engrossing read. Simon, an up and coming author who writes with the prowess of a veteran, pulled it off with a clever coup de maƮtre that will satisfy the readers while leaving a door slightly open for a sequel. Hopefully soon to come.

***Review copy graciously offered by the publicist in return of an unbiased  and honest opinion


  1. Science Fiction bordering on a future reality? This might just be terrifying! What a fabulous review!

    1. Thank you, Maryellen! The great thing about this novel is that Simon injected so many comedic and family drama highlights it's impossible not to enjoy it, even if you are not a sci-to fan.

  2. It's kinda scary when you realise how advanced technology is already. Half of these 'futuristic' theories are probably true and already exist. I love a bit of humor in a good book :) Great review Mina :)

    1. Thank you, Chene! You're right...this breakthrough technology may be already in place and we ignore it. I am not a huge consumer of sci-fi, but the way Simon crosses different genres makes the book so appealing.