I started Outsourced with mixed feelings: impressed by the high star ratings given by other reviewers but dismayed by the off-putting front cover. I was immediately buoyed by the first few, rapid-fire chapters: the writing was slick, the opening intriguing and I was sensing a page-turner. However, my optimism turned to skepticism as I realised the author was attempting to incorporate a supernatural twist to his thriller.
You sense that Eric J. Gates, via one the main protagonists, Nic, is a little uneasy about his plot line too as he strives to explain the existence of a pen that turns written desires into reality. Nic discovers that the pen is partly fashioned from a unique element from a meteorite. Quantum mechanics are used to explain that this element can be harnessed to written intentions (hence the pen) and directly influence future events. The ‘many worlds theory’ is a familiar and intriguing one, but I couldn’t help feeling that this tale had lapsed into the implausible.
The story opens with the villain being acquitted of multiple murder charges; everyone knows he is guilty but he always has an alibi. We learn that he has used the power of the pen to manipulate events to his hideous advantage but now he has decided to dispense with its power and send it to his favourite author. This author, however, soon learns that the power of the pen is a corrupting force and needs to be handled with the utmost care, so he decides to send it to another, rival author. Unfortunately, he opts not to include any clear warning about the potential dangers of using the pen – an oversight that has disastrous consequences.
Despite there being some weakness in the plot line, Eric shows that he can write high-quality scenes; he sets up the tension well and has the ability to keep his audience gripped and guessing – no mean feat.