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[Halverstadt Book Review] The Echo Watch by Steve Rzasa

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

[This book review is presented here on FlyingFaith in proud partnership with H. Halverstadt Books {}]

This book is 1st in a series.

Dominic Zein is a career-focused architect who never seems to have enough time. He lives by his appointments, his existence dictated by a calendar that’s always demanding more. All he wants is room to breathe. Room to live.

Then someone offers it to him.

The stranger is his exact duplicate in every way. The same face. The same voice. The same name. He’s here to help. He can reduce the burden by taking over all the tasks that are too much. Dominic will finally have all the time he needs for both his work and his challenged marriage. At long last, he can live his life again.

But whose life has it become?

You know you’ve found a gem of a book when it has you hooked before the action even starts. I finished The Echo Watch in three days and could barely put it down the entire time. It was so intense it almost caused me literal stress—I was desperately hoping for the outcome I wanted, and this book did not disappoint. The story ended on a satisfying note that seamlessly segued into a continuing series.

The lead character, Dominic Zein, was someone I found eminently relatable. Which one of us hasn’t wished for more hours in the day to handle the often conflicting demands of work and life? What if we suddenly had a double to cut our workload in half? The story explores this fantastical premise in such a logical, realistic manner that at times it felt genuinely plausible.

This made for a thought-provoking theme: how do we prioritize the time given to us and set boundaries in our lives? When we first meet Dominic, he’s clearly having trouble with both. As a result, he’s severely overburdened. I also saw a parallel to what happens when we allow dark spiritual forces to enter our lives. The story hinges on what is effectively a Faustian bargain. The “double” character gave off a quasi-Luciferian presence as he offered Dominic the false promise of a life without trade offs.

The narrative has a slow build of suspense that never lets up. There’s plenty of action supported by phenomenal storytelling in a crisp, readable style. I had a sense of things steadily spiraling out of control as Dominic surrendered (and lost) more and more areas of his life to the double. The plot is also filled with twists, turns, and mystery—I wondered at several points whether it would take a supernatural fantasy or science fiction turn. Even when the main mystery was revealed, the suspense maintained intensity. Without giving anything away, it did so by introducing an exciting new angle to the story. The hook effectively shifts from “who (and what) is the double” to “how can he be stopped?”

My Recommendation:

In addition to a well-crafted thriller, The Echo Watch is also a masterpiece of speculative worldbuilding. The story brings in a number of common tropes only to reverse or explore them in new ways. I would recommend it to both adult and young adults who enjoy science fiction or fantasy in the style of a pulse-pounding suspense thriller. I look forward to seeing its setting fleshed out in further installments.

Content Ratings:

Heat: There is no sexual content, though there is a strong element of husband-and-wife romance and mention of an extramarital affair.

Profanity: None.

Violence: Some action-oriented violence.

Genre: Adult Science Fiction

Age Recommendation: 11 and up.

Availability: This book is available on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Heather Halverstadt: H. Halverstadt is a Christian science fiction writer. Her site, H. Halverstadt Books, has reviews of clean secular and clean Christian books for the whole family. The site leans toward action and adventure books, so men and boys will be sure to find something they like. Her first novel, Gemini's Key, will be debuting next year.

{Link to H. Halverstadt Books:}

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