Last Week on Inked Brownies

Review: Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan


Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published May 23rd, 2016 by DLW Publishing

It was a while ago since I’ve read a thriller and I’m usually happily surprised when I notice I’m turning the pages quickly to find out what happens next. “Why don’t I read more of these?!”, is something I ask myself then. Only to wait another 6-12 months before starting the next one. Ah, the intricate mind of a bookworm!

What if the one thing meant to keep you alive was used to kill you?
Embattled CEO Jack Getty is nervous. This is his final chance to save his company. He is announcing his firm’s breakthrough discovery at the world’s largest annual biotech conference. A discovery that trials show will extend human life by 75%. But as Jack approaches the podium, he suffers a major heart attack and collapses onto the stage, stunning the conference attendees.
Jack is rushed to the emergency room where surgeons implant the latest Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker, saving his life in the process. What Jack doesn’t know, however, is that an underground hacking group has its sights set on manipulating his “secure” pacemaker to get information only he can provide. Despite the hackers unrelenting terror, Jack refuses to give them what they want and soon starts to uncover the true motives of this mysterious and powerful group.

Cardiac2.jpgMy experience with this one started off nicely. I was sucked into the story and totally creeped out about the Wi-Fi enabled pacemaker. Imagine people being able to fiddle around with your heart rate while you’re just totally helpless. It’s almost like magic, where an evil wizard (or a Star Wars Sith Lord) is able to stop your heart by the power of thought/telekinesis. Except, unlike magic, this is an existing piece of technology in the real world and could be a genuine threat to some of us.You can read more about it in this article which was published in Science.

So we’ve seen this concept before in an episode of Homeland in which Vice President William Walden is assassinated by a terrorist who hacks into his internet-enabled pacemaker and accelerates his heartbeat until he has a heart attack. This book takes the whole thing a couple of steps further and I have to say, kudos to the author here for delving into such a frightening subject!

Aren’t there any ‘buts’? Of course, there are; you all know I’m a feisty nitpicker when it comes to books!

The cons for me:

Too many details

There’s a scene in which Jack is feeding his dog in full detail. I thought there was a point to it, but nope, just feeding the dog. Then, there’s this scene:

“Now, go have a seat in the living room and relax. I think there’s a new Popular Science in there. I’m making some spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.”
“And garlic bread?”
“Of course.”
“I thought that’s what I smelled. I can’t wait. I’m going to turn on the Red Sox game. Let me know if you need help.”
“I’ve got it. You just relax”

I think this is just a toe-cringing piece of dialogue with way too many details in it. The fact that Jack has just had a heart attack and an attack on his pacemaker a couple of pages before this scene takes place, simply makes it very improbable to have a trivial conversation about meatballs and the Red Sox with your wife like this. Might just be me, though!


There are quite a few of these, actually. Gaps of missing information or things just not adding up. At one point, Jack’s wife isn’t informed about anything because “it would only make her worry too much”. And then, all of a sudden, Jack and Cynthia are coming up with a plan together to get to the perps. One would think that telling his wife about it in between would be something worth mentioning?

Then there are Jack’s two sons who just randomly pop up whenever the story requires it. Especially his youngest son, who is just playing Minecraft on his laptop upstairs all day? While this is not unrealistic behaviour in itself (been there!), it’s more the fact that when shit really hits the fan, the boy just continues to be up in his room. And left alone after someone else in the house has been kidnapped. Which brings me to the next con.

Underdeveloped characters

The side characters are pretty underdeveloped. I couldn’t connect with them at all because they were as unpredictable as a wasp after a glass of Cuban coffee. Yet at the same time, some characters were too predictable when it comes to remaining at the same location for the mere sake of it being convenient for the storyline.

Stilted dialogues

As already mentioned up here, the dialogues were toe-cringingly bad at times. It wasn’t of a Fifty Shades of Grey level, mind you, but just…off. Like a badly performed play.


Sometimes, things just didn’t make sense at all or were being too far fetched for me to remain fully absorbed in the story.heartbeat-304130_640.pngAfter seeing all these cons, you must be thinking this is a pretty crappy book. But I wouldn’t take it that far. It kept me entertained and especially the first half was a rollercoaster of page flipping emotions. Like a good thriller is supposed to be. It’s why I’m giving it 2.5 brownies, meaning my rating is somewhere between ‘it was okay’ and ‘I liked it’. If you’re not a die-hard thriller fan, but instead rather unfamiliar with the genre, I can definitely recommend giving this one a go. Uncomplicated entertainment with a scary concept to ponder on afterwards (and during). If you’re already reading a lot of thrillers, you should probably skip this one because it wouldn’t add up to your high standards.


Very interesting concept. A bit poorly executed at times, though. Recommended for mystery/crime newbies and people in want of a fast paced read.

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Thanks to Jeffrey Monaghan for providing me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review!

Another take on this book can be found @ Ajoobacatsblog.

Links to the book:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

About Anne (231 Articles)
Dutch book reviewer who reviews in English. Grammar nazis beware!! I like brownies. And chamomile tea.

88 Comments on Review: Cardiac by Jeffrey Monaghan

  1. ichabod2014ic // 02/11/2016 at 13:18 // Reply

    Keep ’em coming, Anne, I need a good thriller recommendation.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Super thorough review, Anne! The concept reminds me of a plot point in the show “Lost.” There was an episode where the character Sawyer was told that his heart had been modified somehow, and if he got too excited, he would die. Turns out it was a lie, but the concept came to mind nonetheless. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you!! Aaah, I remember that part! And that the end of the show was a mess with all the loose plot lines hanging about. It still remains an interesting concept for sure, though! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You know, the thing about Lost is that I was so intrigued and invested in the characters that the dropped plotlines throughout the series didn’t bother me. Granted, I watched the show on Netflix after it had all aired, so perhaps I did not feel as duped as viewers who had watched since Day 1.
        The novel’s concept is certainly interesting as well!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ha! I was one of those viewers who had still to wait a week for every new episode. And no Netflix or anything either, just waaaaaiting. I bet watching it regularly now would feel like less of a disappointment indeed :). Definitely!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm, this sounds interesting, but plot holes AND underdeveloped characters? I dunno.😕

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You know what I am? – Schooled! 😀 Did not know about the wireless pacemaker! Bloody hell… they can do stuff like this yet are “helpless” in sorting out war and hunger? I call BS!
    Bloody love your review though, so detailed and everything makes perfect sense. This has to be the strongest review to back up a 2,5 star review.

    LOL @ wasp after a Cuban coffee… that was a good one 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yay!! I’ve educated you some more XD. I know right?! It’s such a scary thought and completely insane! Thank you so much!! ❤ Hahaha, this wasn’t one from the Irish book, though ;). Gotta spread those out evenly XD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Zainab Sheikh // 02/11/2016 at 15:32 // Reply

    When reading your review, at first, I was like “oh it must be a 4 or 5 stars” but then I read the con part and changed my mind to 1 xD
    The concept is genius though and honestly, I have never heard about this pacemaker device before so I’m intrigued to read it.
    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gosh that does sound like terrifying technology! I like the concept- but damn that dialogue… Yeesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I predict that a wasp in a cup of Cuban coffee will drown 😉 This sounds like it started off feeling right then quickly withered into a confusing mess? The dinner scene you quoted would have tempted me to throw in the towel, and I never DNF if I can help it. Plot wholes and under developed characters.. hmm. Well the blurb was interesting enough, but I am sure I am enjoying this review much more than I would the actual book. Sorry if that is harsh? 😦

    As always, your review is fabulous! You always have this ability to insert the proper amount of humor and raw truth that I admire and envy. I know I am in for a treat each time ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. bookheathen // 02/11/2016 at 17:53 // Reply

    The plot summary sounds so promising. If you had given it 4 I might have bought it ….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Lol at Star Wars Sith Lord – Granne is showing her geekiness!😂

    Really good in depth and thorough review though, especially as you only gave the book 2.5 stars.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Anne,
    I have chosen to nominate you for the Black Cat Blue Sea Award, you may choose to accept or decline, please follow the link provided for further details:


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Shay-lon! ❤ This award’s title is very apt since I’m drowning in tags and awards XD. I will get to most of them within the next 12 months or so, though ;).

      Liked by 1 person

      • BAHAHAHHAA! The next 12 months or so, hmm. sounds like mine will be last on the list, not sure how I feel about that! lol. I always imagined that you would be drowning in awards!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nah, I pick the most interesting ones first :3. Instead of the same “What’s the last book you’ve read?” question. I usually just reviewed it then so everyone knows the answer to it already anyways :P. Hahaha, well, it’s true! Though it does sound a bit pretentious if you say it that way 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Megan @ bookslayerReads // 03/11/2016 at 00:26 // Reply

    Great review! I love me some thrillers, but it sounds like I should pass on this one. Thanks, Anne!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. People able to hack your pacemaker and play with your heart and life? Scary shit! Haha, you just spoiled an episode of Homeland for me, I’m starting the series soon. You should be punished :p Did you ever give coffee to a wasp?? Love your review, and will pass on the book! I need a good plot without holes and at least one strong character to give time to a story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! Oh, woopsee!!! I’ve only seen the first season and it wasn’t in there (or I don’t remember it), so you’re safe for now :P.I’ll take my punishment in brownies, though ^^. I actually haven’t xD but I’m also not eager to try it out. If there’s one insect that scares me, it’s a wasp! Thank you! Yeah, I don’t think it would sit well with you ;).


  13. Oh man. This is scary because it could be so real. Or, well, IS. Do you think that the things you didn’t like were too distracting? It sounds like you got some of what you wanted out of this book, but the hiccups were just too much. Sometimes, I can let go of the hiccups because I’m sucked into some other aspect. Shame.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The concept of this is definitely scary – Someone being able to control your heartbeat? Just the idea freaks me out a little. I recently binge watched this show called Black Mirror on Netflix that is mostly about ways future technology could go really wrong and I feel like that concept would make for an interesting episode. I don’t have a lot of experience with thrillers but I’m not a huge fan of plot holes or underdeveloped characters and too much detail type scenes always kill my motivation for a book so I probably wouldn’t enjoy it. Either way great review! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I hope I’ll never have to get a pacemaker now! Aah, Charlie Brooker’s show! I think I’ve only watched the very first episode with the prime minister and the pig, but I should definitely watch the rest as well if it’s on Netflix anyways :). Like someone else mentioned in the comments, it’s all about how invested you are in the story to be able to ignore the negatives. I was invested, but not invested enough to not notice them ;). Thank you!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope I’ll never have to either!
        True. I’ve had books where I was so invested that I didn’t notice the negative aspects until way after I’d read and loved it. Who knows? I might add this to my TBR anyway just for the scary pacemaker aspect haha. You’re welcome! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I read about a thriller a year as well 😂 I always enjoy them but never pick them up for some reason!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m not a huge thriller reader, to be honest, I’m too scared to read these books at times…but then I wonder if I really am, since I’m reading The Hunger Games and that’s pretty crazy… ANYWAY haha, I’m curious about that synopsis, it’s a bit…well, scary haha. But plot holes and that dialogue and…erm, I think I might step away from that one, and who knows, try another, better thriller someday? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi! I just nominated you for The Mystery Blogger Award! If you choose to accept please click this link for more information:


  18. First of all, love the heart monitor font! How did you find that??
    Second of all, I don’t care what kind of book you’re writing (unless it’s a book about feeding your dogs), but that kind of detail never needs to be in a book! What’s next: some guy on the toilet? (Though I’ve often wondered why book characters never have to 🚽?)
    Excellent review.
    I’m taking the other half of that brownie.

    Liked by 2 people

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