If you were given the power to turn your innermost thoughts into reality by simply writing them down…what would you do?  The temptation to make all your hopes and dreams come true with the mere stroke of a pen could be exceptionally difficult to resist.  However, nothing is ever quite so easy in life.  There is always a catch!  What if your penned thoughts were interpreted in a way which you really did not intend?  Indeed, turning those wonderful hopes and dreams into a miserable and chaotic reality.  Temptation can be a dangerous business!  If we take all of these concepts and add a cruel assassin, determined intelligence agents, and two bestselling authors, you have Outsourced by Eric J. Gates.  For those readers who enjoy intelligent and fast-moving thrillers, this book is a top pick!

Essentially, Outsourced revolves around a famous thriller writer by the name of Nic Stiles.  As the story begins, Stiles is in a rut and has clearly lost his writing edge.  However, when he receives a mysterious package in the mail his life is about to drastically change!  The parcel contains a pen within a wooden box.  On its own that would be a pretty dull and mundane gift for anyone.  Nevertheless, this is no ordinary pen.  It also comes with a note attached which reveals the pen’s extraordinary powers.  Whatever is written down will become reality!  Stiles soon finds out that while this may be true, there are different versions of reality depending upon how they are interpreted- and they are ultimately intertwined with fate and destiny.

The power of this object is immense and it can be easily miscalculated and abused.  In fact, Stiles soon finds this to be very true as he discovers the pen was previously owned by a serial killer and assassin by the name of Polanski…and he wants it back!  To further complicate matters, this object is also being hunted by a team of crack intelligence agents. Nik is soon teamed up with a very unlikely ally as the pair race to outwit and evade their pursuers.  Will they succeed?  Or are they just destined to become two more casualties who, unbeknownst to themselves, already had their respective fate and destiny predetermined with the stroke of a pen.

Perhaps what struck me the most about this novel is the complex plot which is developed in the midst of non-stop action.  Not only do key elements of thriller writing such as suspense, anticipation and excitement permeate throughout the story, but it has the unique aspects of mystery and the paranormal as well.  The pace of the plot is rabid and full of intrigue with twists and turns virtually around every corner.  There is also a very healthy dose of quantum mechanics which provides credibility to the plot.  There can be little doubt that the author spent significant time and effort researching his subject matter before writing this novel.  The result is a top-notch, believable and thrilling story.

While the plot of this novel is impressive and engaging, so are the many characters.  Their development throughout the story is thorough and meticulous.  For instance, we have the disillusioned writer Nic Stiles who steadily transforms into a whole different version of himself.  We also have the paranoid and skulking Beasley who develops increasingly heroic qualities with each passing page.  Major Mason is presented as a well-meaning player who can never actually seem to get things right and takes multiple hits on a continual basis.  All that being said, perhaps the best developed character is Polanski himself.  He is brilliant, cunning and pure evil.  I would have to say that he is the perfect villain for this thriller!

All in all I found this to be an absolutely engrossing thriller.  It is one of those books which is near impossible to put down.  Eric Gates achieves this by weaving various themes and complex concepts into his writing which have an entirely exciting and convincing flow.  I would highly recommend this book to an adult audience.  As is the case with most thrillers, there are some violent scenes so be forewarned.

5 out of 5 Fateful Stars for this one!