Posted in 4.5 stars, Book reviews

Primal by D. A. Serra

Publisher: Perry Street Pictures, Inc., May 13, 2012
Category: Crime Thriller
Available in ebook: 224 Pages

PRIMAL by D.A. Serra (screenplay originally purchased by James Cameron)

The most dangerous place on Earth is between a mother and her child…

With everything at stake – what are you capable of? What if the worst happens and you’re not a policeman, a soldier, or a spy with weapons training and an iron heart? What if you’re a schoolteacher – a mom? In this gritty crime thriller a family vacation takes a vicious turn when a fishing camp is invaded by four armed men. With nothing except her brains, her will, and the element of surprise on her side, Alison must learn to kill or watch her family die.

And then, things get worse.

Buy it here – Amazon | Add at Goodreads

My View: The reason I decided to pick up this book was because it mentioned heavy psychological content and you know how I feel about psychology (being a Clinical Psychologist), so I grabbed at the opportunity. Did the book live upto my expectations of the psychological content? Well, diving into the book without reading a blurb, I wasn’t really expecting something of a particular kind. However, I do remember postponing reading this book in favor of more catchy titled books.

What’s my impression after reading the book? I wish it had a different title. Not that there’s anything wrong with the current one but somehow it didn’t appeal to me as much as the book did.

Pick up this book at your own peril because it will hook you right in and you will feel like devouring it in a one sitting read which is not very easy since it’s a 224 page book (unless of course, you take a day off, hire a babysitter, refuse to open the door and have ready-to-eat meals by your side). Anyway, I finished the book in 2 days amongst chaos and craziness that has enveloped my personal and professional life so that should give you a hint of what the book does to the reader.

One important thing that I wanted to mention was that since I do most of my reading during my to and fro commuting by the metro (tube), it was really difficult to read this book and yet get down at my stop or change metros. Yeah, as soon as I opened my Kindle, my eyes were hooked, my brain even more so, my ears turned into sound-proof doors, my comfort/discomfort of standing, being pushed by strangers, being jostled by the crowd ceased to effect me and I had to put this alarm in my head to listen after an appropriate amount of time if my station was coming yet. Wow! Seriously I loved this book, never have I been so engrossed in a book as to keep out the noisy, irritating chatter of other passengers. And I read every single day on the metro!

It was just amazing – the plot, mind-blowing; the characters, everyday people you meet and some we don’t meet (and wouldn’t like to), interesting nevertheless and real (a very important thing) and the pace – ah!mazing (especially the first 50%).

The book is so good as a thriller that I waited with bated breath at times wondering what would happen next, crying and praying for the characters. Just wow!

Although I might say the second half of the book could do with some editing but then perhaps not. It required that kind of build-up to seem entirely realistic. It’s just my impatience regarding ‘when is that going to happen?!!’ that’s speaking.

Overall, a great book. Especially recommended for people who love thrillers and crime books. Go get it now!

4.5/5 – I really liked it. 

Praise for Primal:

“D.A Serra does a great job in making the reader connect to the characters. I could picture everything as it happened, right as I was reading it. D.A Serra paints a picture, and puts you in it as it’s happening, and once the action starts there’s no way you’re stopping until you get to the very end. This is a great read, and one I thoroughly enjoyed, and James Cameron just purchased the screenplay.” Jamie, Minnesota Girl in LA

“Serra delivers a suspenseful thriller that is packed with fear, hope, family love, revenge, and desperation. The adrenaline rush will keep you on the edge of your seat anticipating the next move. The characters are well-developed. Serra gives a sense of balance in both a functioning and dysfunctional family. She draws the reader in with a story that flows smoothly and at a steady pace filled with action and drama. Serra also paints a beautiful, yet terrifying setting in the woods of Northern Minnesota. Her vivid descriptions places the reader in the scene as the action unfolds.” Mason Canyon, Thought In Progress

“Ms. Serra is a screenwriter of many years and this book has been optioned for a movie byTitanic and Avatar director James Cameron. Can I see this as a movie? You bet I can, and a good one. Primal is smart, well written with a strong willed female lead that I think women and men would flock to see on film. This is an exciting story that I can happily recommend.” Dark Haven Maven

“What a great book! It’s scary, suspenseful and very thought provoking. It will keep you grab you and not let you go, even after you’ve read the last word. This book is about something that every mother fears…her child in danger. It shows what lengths you would go to, to make sure your child is safe. Much happens in this book and if you decide to read it, make sure you have first the time, and second won’t be interrupted. It’s hard to put down.” Vicki, I’d Rather Be Reading At the Beach

“What a fantastic story, this had it all while keeping me on the edge of my seat. At only 222 pages this seriously left a thrilling impression on me. Primal was so much more than I expected, great characters, intense situations, the flow and energy, dialogue, plot and overall I found it came together and was believable. What a great wrap up ending, even if you figure it out it is still shocking, very well executed. I was thoroughly impressed and entertained throughout. I thought this can cross over to many genre fans appreciating it but it is a Thriller. You get Suspense, Romance, Adult Fiction, Crime all wrapped up to create a memorable story. Another read for the men in your life, they will appreciate as much as females.” Marcie, Tea Time With Marcie

What Some Other Reviews Have Said:

“I honestly loved Primal. It is incredibly well-written with deep, emotionally-charged characters and a storyline punctuated with fear and adrenaline. I found Primal to be an incredibly quick read, mostly because I had a hard time putting it down. I also liked the fact that author D.A. Serra delved into the emotional spiral eclipsing Alison’s life after the horrifying events on the island and wasn’t content to simply go for all-out action, although there’s action a-plenty. I highly recommend Primal if you are looking for a thriller to read this summer. You won’t be disappointed.”-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications (AKA Ashley Perkins )

“To some, Minnesota’s North Woods are a soothing antidote to the stresses of civilization. But to others, all that unpaved, unpeopled wilderness is just plain unnerving. And therein lies the seed of some very spooky storytelling.”- Amy Goetzman, MinnPost

“The book was originally written as a screenplay and there is certainly a cinematic quality to it, with moody descriptions, lively dialogue and a relentless sense of pace. The writing, however, is unexpected, poetic and philosophical by turn, without impinging on the action. The description of a mother hiding a gun in her son’s Batman pyjamas must be one of the most moving, yet ominous, passages of crime fiction I have read in a long time, while the use of household props to distract a rampant killer is ingenious. A very confident debut novel, highly recommended as a summer read, although perhaps not if you are planning a camping trip.”- Marina Sofia, Crime Fiction Lover

About D. A. Serra:

Deborah Serra was a screenwriter for twenty years and recognized by the Writer’s Guild for her long term continuous employment. She has written ten TV movies, four feature films, and numerous TV episodes including two years as a staff writer for NBC. She worked for top producers, directors, and actors. She has taught writing at the University of California, San Diego, Wofford College and at writers’ conferences nationwide. Serra has now turned her attention to novels, and she was honored as a recent recipient of the prestigious Hawthornden Literary Fellowship, and as a semi-finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Award given by the Faulkner Society in New Orleans, LA.
Deborah’s Website



Often seen with a nose buried in a book, you might spy me at a library while 500 unread books adorn my shelf. At other times, I'm busy travelling solo, eating out or looking for my new escapades. You will always find me doing too much all at once.

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