Book Review – THE FURNACE by Timothy S Johnston

The Furnace Final Cover Low ResThe Furnace Synopsis


As a Homicide Investigator working the solar system’s most remote outposts, Lieutenant Kyle Tanner has been involved in more criminal investigations and captures than any other in Security Division. He hunts his prey stealthily, tracking them through the trail of victims cast behind, and makes difficult captures when no one else can. He has seen the twisted remains, things that used to be human but are now barely meat. And he’s executed those who have done such horrible deeds.

His most recent case takes him to SOLEX One, a power-generating station that orbits precariously near the Sun. Among the fifteen inhabitants is a killer, a disturbed crewman who for some reason has mutilated his victim. But when Tanner arrives and begins the investigation, he’s shocked to learn that this is no ordinary murder. There appears to be no motive for the crime, and no reason for the mutilation after death. But what Tanner doesn’t realize is that something terrifying is amplifying among the station’s personnel … and if he doesn’t solve the mystery, the result could be the extinction of the human race.

THE FURNACE is a locked-room murder mystery, part techno-thriller, part horror, part detective story. (Amazon)


Johnston had me hooked with the opening lines of The Furnace:

Certain death approached. It had stalked me for days, always a step behind, but I had thwarted its every attempt.

The 2401 AD future depicted by Johnston was enough of a stretch from current day to be intriguing while retaining sufficient plausibility for me to find it compelling. The references to ‘historical’ scientific achievement were also a great touch. Homicide Investigator Lieutenant Kyle Tanner is a well developed hero with an endearing never say die attitude with all the odds stacked against him.

In The Furnace Timothy S Johnston has developed a compelling plot merging science and sleuthing that is accessible to non traditional sci-fi readers.

Although I was thoroughly entertained by this novel, I was at times frustrated by Johnston being too helpful to his audience and over-explaining things via his character dialogue. An instance which springs to mind was a particularly laboured explanation of the concept of exponential growth. Now don’t get me wrong, the concept was important to the story and it was explained well… its just that in this case less would have definitely been more. A tougher edit of this novel overall would have let what is a very intelligent storyline shine much brighter.

Timothy S Johnston describes The Furnace as “a work of passion for him, for the stories that have inspired it are thematically, psychologically, and visually epic’. That passion and ambition for storytelling is readily apparent.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 2.5 / 5

BOOK DETAILS: The Furnace (Amazon); The Furnace (B&N)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Crime-Detective, Thriller, Science Fiction

Author Information: Checkout Timothy S Johnston’s official website.

– Read another great teaser from The Furnace.

Other reviews of The Furnace: DeFlip Side Book Reviews, Dreamworld Book Reviews, Kaye Trout’s Book Reviews

* My receiving this book for free from the author did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions having read the novel.