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Keep up to date on my new releases
FREE Advanced Reader Copies of upcoming titles
You will never read Denny Younger’s name in any history book, but the world as you know it wouldn’t be the same without him. Denny was born into one of the lowest rungs of society, but his bleak fortunes changed the day the mysterious Upjohn Institute recruited him. The role: “verifier of personal histories.” The job title: Rewinder. After accepting the offer, Denny discovers he’ll have to do his research in person…by traveling through time.
Using a device capable of opening a portal into any era from the past, Denny is sent back to serve as an eyewitness to significant moments in human history. But as he journeys across the centuries, he begins to suspect that his missions to “observe and report” have a much darker purpose. When a time jump drops Denny into the midst of a rebellion, he finds himself in over his head in a deadly game where even the smallest choices can have catastrophic consequences.
Armed only with his wits and his time-travel device, Denny’s adventures take readers on a pulse-pounding journey of page-turning twists. But will everything he’s got be enough?
About the Author
Brett Battles is the Barry Award–winning author of more than twenty novels, including the Jonathan Quinn series, the Project Eden series, and the Alexandra Poe series, the latter of which he wrote with Robert Gregory Browne. He lives in Los Angeles. Learn more about him at brettbattles.com.
Denny Younger isn’t from around here… A Level Eight resident of New Cardiff in the American territories of the British Empire in 2015, Younger is among the most recent of recruits to the Upjohn Institute. His job as a rewinder is to verify the familial lineages of their clients through observation. As a rewinder, Younger is, simply put, a time traveler. During one rewind mission, he makes a simple mistake that forever alters the course of the British Empire and finds the landscape of 2015 remarkably different.
While Rewinder is a compelling story, it’s not entirely without fault. And although I enjoyed it quite a bit, there were a few hangups in the narrative that nagged at me.
First, the good: I truly dug the alt-timeline approach that Battles takes, establishing Younger and his compatriots as citizens of the British Empire. It’s a well realized world and an interesting setting, one that provides an intriguing jumping off point for what follows.
I also really enjoyed the relationship between Younger and Iffy, the actually American-American girl, that he finds himself attached to after his temporal mishap alters the shape of history. At first, she comes across as strange and aloof and more than a bit stalker-ish, but as their story together develops there’s a grounded in-story explanation for her behaviors and what Younger means to her. Their burgeoning love comes across as natural and ended up being one of the more intriguing elements of the book’s latter half.
On the topic of companionship then, the one element that felt really half-baked and never quite had me convinced of its authenticity was the issue of companions. Each rewinder has a companion that stays put in their home time, and whose sole job is suffer the painful effects caused by time travel. So while the rewinder gallivants through the eras largely unhindered, there’s a companion at the Institute doped up on painkillers to minimize the debilitating migraines, nausea, and associated sicknesses for them. Sure, it’s an interesting concept and the illnesses that go hand-in-hand with the unnatural travels seem like a natural fit, the idea of companions themselves never seem to make much sense. Brett Battles asks us to simply believe that the mechanical devices rewinders use for their travels is somehow able to lock on a particular DNA match to pass off the ill effects. The technological gobbledygook is kept to a minimum, and Younger glosses over it with a “I’m no scientist!” approach, but I found myself wanting to actually know the scientific ins and outs of all this. Without a grounded explanation, the idea simply feels incomplete and exists solely to cause drama later on (but even then, it’s never explored as fully as it should be). As it stands, I never felt truly convinced that this notion of companions would actually work or that there is any actual scientific basis for it.
That said, the issue of companions does tie nicely into the caste system the British world operates on. On the other hand, it never grows beyond the superficial. As a Level Eight, Younger is pretty close to the bottom of the heap and we’re reminded of this quite a bit. While his isn’t quite a rags-to-riches story, I would have appreciated more depth to the British Empire depicted here. I found myself very interested in the rules and operations of this alternate timeline, but got very little in the way of depth and exploration. Most of the problem stems from the first-person narration, which prohibits what we as readers are allowed to know and witness. We’re confined solely to Younger’s experiences, and I found myself desperately wanting to break away from him in order to explore the world.
It doesn’t help much that his temporal mistake results in making “our” world a reality. I already know about this world, so it’s rather difficult to share Younger’s fascination with our mobile phones and the wide variety of “carriages” or what we call automobiles. While I can appreciate his status as an outsider, it makes for some boring narration. I already know about cell phones and cars and 7-Elevens. What I don’t know about is New Cardiff and the whole spectrum of alternate history that made the British a global empire. There’s a far more interesting story buried in Battle’s narrative that we’re never made privy to, and it’s frustrating. It’s all superficial gloss laid over a truly interesting concept that never quite develops as richly as it should.
And although I had a few issues with Rewinder, and found myself more than once wishing for an alternate timeline edition of this story, I still found myself largely engaged enough to enjoy it. Most of this comes down to the characters and a few mysteries they represent, namely Maria, another rewinder and mentor to Younger, and Iffy, whose time on the page was always entertaining. Enough so that I’ll be diving into Destroyer, book two in this series, momentarily.
[I received this title from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
Today’s the day – head over to Amazon get my debut sci-fi thriller ebook, Convergence, for the low, low price of totally free!
This offer is good for today only, so act fast!
If you’ve already read Convergence, please take a moment to leave a review and let other readers know your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be long at all, and I’ve seen reviews as short as “It’s great!” on other book pages. It will only take you a moment, but it can have a tremendous influence on other readers out there.
Here’s the synopsis:
Jonah Everitt is a killer, an addict, and a memory thief.
After being hired to kill a ranking officer of the Pacific Rim Coalition and download his memories, Everitt finds himself caught in the crosshairs of a terror cell, a rogue military squadron, and a Chinese gangster named Alice Xie. Xie is a profiteer of street drugs, primarily DRMR, a powerful narcotic made from the memories of the dead. With his daughter, Mesa, missing in post-war Los Angeles, Everitt is forced into an uneasy alliance with Alice to find her.
Mesa’s abduction is wrapped up in the secrets of a brutal murder during the war’s early days, a murder that Alice Xie wants revenged. In order to find her, Jonah will have to sift through the memories of dead men that could destroy what little he has left.
In a city where peace is tenuous and loyalties are ever shifting, the past and the present are about to converge.
Publisher’s Weekly* called CONVERGENCE a “smart splice of espionage and science fiction. … frighteningly realistic. Well-drawn characters, excellent pacing, and constant surprises make this a great cautionary tale about technology and its abuses.”
“From the opening page of Convergence I was hooked. The dystopian world building is well done and the descriptions are vivid. The technology is imaginary and different…great characters and plenty of suspense/action.” – Nicholas Sansbury Smith, author of Extinction Horizon and the Orbs series
“Convergence is fast-paced, full of action and a thrilling ride from start to finish. There is violence, depth of feeling, explosions, car chases and tenderness. The book has everything and is perfect for those who like their SciFi gritty, edgy and realistic.”
–J.S. Collyer, author of ZERO
“kept me on the edge of my seat the WHOLE friggen time! The writing is tight. The world building is incredible, and the story itself is pretty compelling! A+”
-Melissa “Book Lady” Caldwell, Must Read Faster
“A cyberpunk thrillride through a future America under Chinese rule. The conflict between the humanity of the main character, Jonah, and the things he has had to do to survive in this harsh new world makes ‘Convergence’ an absolute pleasure to read.” – SciFi365.net
Also available: Emergence (A DRMR Novel, Book 2) for only $3.99.
The Thrilling Sequel to Convergence
Still recovering from the events that befell her in Los Angeles, Mesa Everitt is learning how to rebuild her life.
The murder of a memorialist enclave changes all of that and sets into motion a series of violence that forces her into hiding.
Hunted by a squad of corporate mercenaries, with the lives of her friends and family in danger, Mesa has no one to turn to, but she holds a dark secret inside her skull. She has no knowledge of that secret, but it is worth killing for.
The ghosts of her haunted, forgotten past are about to emerge.
“Hicks writes like Philip K Dick and Robert Crais combined, making for clean, exciting prose. He focuses on the story and never lets go.” – Lucas Bale, author of the award-winning Beyond The Wall series
“It has all the gritty Cyberpunk of the first book plus a more fully-realized world in which to immerse yourself. Excellent.” – SciFi365.net
“Excellent, fast-paced thriller with fantastic world building. Mesa is a troubled yet strong heroine that captivates you from the first page.” – E.E. Giorgi, author of Chimeras
About Under Fire
On a routine intelligence gathering mission in Tehran, Jack Ryan, Jr., has lunch with his oldest friend, Seth Gregory, an engineer overseeing a transcontinental railway project. As they part, Seth gives Jack a key, along with a perplexing message.
The next day Jack is summoned to an apartment where two men claim Seth has disappeared—gone to ground with funds for a vital intelligence operation. Jack’s oldest friend has turned, they insist.
They leave Jack with a warning: If you hear from Seth Gregory, call us immediately. And do not get involved.
But they don’t know Jack. He won’t abandon a friend in need.
His pursuit of the truth will lead him across Iran, through the war-torn Caucasus, and finally deep into territory coveted by the increasingly aggressive Russian Federation. Along the way, Jack is joined by Seth’s primary agent, Ysabel, a enigmatic Iranian woman who seems to be his only clue to Seth’s whereabouts.
Jack soon finds himself lost in a maze of intrigue, lies, and betrayal where no one is who they seem to be—not even Seth, who’s harboring a secret of his own that harkens back to the Cold War. A secret that is driving him to the brink of treachery.
Racing against the clock, Jack must unravel the mystery: Who is friend and who is foe? Before it’s over, Jack Ryan, Jr., may have to choose between his loyalty to Seth and his loyalty to America.
About the Author
TOM CLANCY was the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of more than a dozen books. He died in October 2013.
The New York Times–bestselling author of the Briggs Tanner series, GRANT BLACKWOOD is also the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Dead or Alive, with Tom Clancy, and The Kill Switch, with James Rollins. A U.S. Navy Veteran, Grant spent three years aboard a guided missile frigate as an Operations Specialist and a Pilot Rescue Swimmer.
UNDER FIRE is the latest in the line of posthumous Ryanverse novels in which previous Tom Clancy collaborators and co-writers stake out on their own. I guess it should be noted that one’s enjoyment of these works would be dependent on their acceptance of Clancy as a franchise and franchise-generator, rather than as an individual author of unique works. For quite a while now, Clancy’s name has adorned work in which he either co-wrote (DEAD OR ALIVE, COMMAND AUTHORITY) or developed the premise (OP CENTER, SPLINTER CELL), or, more recently, as the progenitor of characters and concepts revolving around Jack Ryan, Jack Ryan Jr. and the secret organization known as The Campus, that other writers, namely Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood, have inherited.
UNDER FIRE, of course, falls squarely in this latter category, so Clancy purists are likely to have a bit of a conniption fit. For whatever it’s worth, I have little problem with authors continuing on in Clancy’s world and using his characters for officially licensed purposes; as long as the work is good, I’ll keep buying. Like I said, the man has grown into more of a franchise staple over the years than anything else, so whoever is actually writing these things is usually secondary to the presence of all the familiar faces and series staples. Now, that said, I’ve found Greaney to be a much more natural fit, perhaps thanks to his being a more constant companion to Clancy’s big name header over the last few years.
Blackwood strikes me as a little less sure footed, and his first solo effort leaves a lot to be desired. But, it’s also been a while since he’s worked in this world – his last effort was 2012’s co-written title DEAD OR ALIVE. Taking the reins single-handedly now, we find Jack Ryan Jr. chasing after a missing friend who may have stolen some money from the CIA operating account, and becomes enmeshed with a coup within the Dagestani government.
What we end up with is a perfectly fine, middle of the road thriller that, unfortunately, lacks much in the way of thrills. This is not a bad book, at least in my own estimation, but it’s not particularly good either. It’s readable and a decent enough time killer, but it lacks the page-turning drive of your usual Clancy books or the thrills and fast-paced nature of Greaney’s works. It’s also not as bad as some of Clancy’s own solo efforts (I’m looking right at you, RED RABBIT), but it certainly never reaches the pinnacle of Clancy at his best (PATRIOT GAMES, EXECUTIVE ORDERS). If anything, this book might be the perfect example of a Goodreads two-star “It’s OK” rating.
Blackwood is clearly trying to hit all the right notes – there’s some technical lingo, spies, multinational chicanery, etc. The main problem is that it all feels so small-scale in comparison to what we’ve been getting previously that it comes across as a rather lightweight affair. The finale strives for the big military blowout between rival nations, but Blackwood doesn’t seem to know how to make it all gel and turns toward a more personal touch with a swing back toward spy-vs-spy stuff. Sadly, UNDER FIRE closes out with a gasping whimper instead of a bang.
Clancy is a franchise, and that’s never been more clear than in the time since his death. In a world of franchises, this latest effort is a bit more of a plain burger, hold the cheese and ketchup and skip the fries, OK, just give me a fucking salad instead but with a nice thick dressing, standing up against a handful of Baconators. It’s OK, but only OK, and you know there’s so many other tastier, greasier options for you out there.
The good news is, Greaney will be back soon with COMMANDER IN CHIEF, which I’ve got high hopes for.
Here’s something a bit different for today, and perhaps something I may do more often. Obviously I love to read, and have a pretty affection for books. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a few of these before. If not, well here’s a few somewhat recent #bookstagrams of what’s on my shelf, sofa, end table, or whatever nook and cranny was bookishly sized and accommodating, and has wormed its way into my TBR pile.
What looks good you?
The latest anthology in The Future Chronicles line is now up for pre-order at Amazon, and you might even note my name gracing the cover (and alongside Hugo award winner Ken Liu, and Alfie Award-winner Annie Bellet)!
The Cyborg Chronicles is, for a limited time, only $1.99 so be sure to act fast. And if you’re in the mood for more be sure to check out the rest of The Future Chronicles titles. A few of them are still on sale for only $1.99 as well, but there’s no telling how long that will last.
My short-story, Preservation, is set in the DRMR world established in my two cyberpunk novels, Convergence and Emergence. Neither are required reading, as Preservation is meant to be read as a complete stand-alone story with all-new characters in an all-new setting. If you’ve not read either of my novels, this short story will be a good starting place. If you’re looking to get a jump-start on the DRMR books, though, feel free to grab those books now (or check back next week for a special Black Friday deal on Convergence).
Here’s the synopsis of Preservation:
Kari Akagi is ex-British Special Forces, augmented by her government to be the prime soldier. In the wake of a devastating attack that cost her her legs, she has a new mission – protecting South Africa’s endangered species as a ranger for the Kruger National Park game reserve.
And here’s a look at the not final cover (stay tuned for the final one!):
About The Cyborg Chronicles
“The best place to discover new SF authors, I think, is any of the anthologies coming from Samuel Peralta”— Hugh Howey, NY Times bestselling author of Wool
Cyborgs. Part-robot, part-human. Even now, with our pacemakers, our holographic eyewear, our cybernetic limbs, it is difficult to deny that we are approaching an age when the line between humankind and machine is beginning to blur.
In the age of the cybernetic organism, the post-human being, in a world when your humanity can be measured by the number of electro-mechanical components that have replaced your biological limbs, what will be the measure of a man?
The Cyborg Chronicles features stories by Hugo Award-winner Ken Liu (The Grace of Kings) USA Today bestselling author and Alfie Award-winner Annie Bellet (Twenty-Sided Sorceress) and ten more of today’s top speculative fiction writers.
In the wake of nuclear terrorism, a squad of elite soldiers must combat artificial intelligence and seek justice in this military political thriller, a sequel to The Red.
Lieutenant James Shelley and his squad of US Army soldiers were on a quest for justice when they carried out the unauthorized mission known as First Light. They returned home to America to face a court-martial, determined to expose the corruption in the chain of command that compelled their actions. But in a country still reeling from the nuclear terrorism of Coma Day, the courtroom is just one battlefield of many.
A new cycle of violence ignites when rumors of the elusive, rogue AI known as the Red go public – and Shelley is, once again, pulled into the fray. Challenged by his enemies, driven by ideals, Shelley feels compelled to act. But are the harrowing choices he makes really his own, or are they made for him by the Red? And with millions of lives at stake in a game of nuclear cat and mouse, does the answer even matter?
About the Author
Linda Nagata is a Nebula and Locus-award-winning author. Her more recent work includes short fiction “Nahiku West,” runner up for the 2013 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, and the novel THE RED: FIRST LIGHT, a near-future military thriller that was a finalist for both the Nebula Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Though best known for science fiction, she also writes fantasy, exemplified by her “scoundrel lit” series Stories of the Puzzle Lands. Linda has spent most of her life in Hawaii, where she’s been a writer, a mom, and a programmer of database-driven websites. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
[Note: This review was originally published at AudioBook Reviewer.]
The Trials, book two in Linda Nagata’s The Red trilogy, picks up right on the heels of First Light with Lieutenant James Shelley and his Linked Combat Squad (LCS) facing trial for their actions in the prior novel’s climax. Thanks to his group’s rogue crusade in the wake of Coma Day, a large-scale act of domestic nuclear terrorism, and the reality TV series documenting his experiences, Shelley and his Apocalypse Squad have a huge swelling of public support to see them through their military court martial.
Nagata spends a good amount of time in the courtroom, interjecting the legalese with a few high-stakes action sequences and a heady dose of paranoia, before getting her soldiers back on the streets. As in the prior novel, this near-future military sci-fi thriller has plenty of adrenaline pumping action as assassins and mercenary hit squads seek reprisals against Shelley, while the combat unit goes in search of loose nukes leftover from the Coma Day attacks. Where First Light had a few globe-trotting adventures, The Trials, largely, keeps things stateside and we get some good set pieces in Nagata’s urban action sequences and a particularly fun part that takes the LCS onto a cargo freighter out on rough seas.
All of this works well thanks to the characters. The title itself, The Trials, reaches beyond the courtroom drama and into the personal space of Nagata’s soldiers. Since we see things through Shelley’s first-person account, we get to spend an awful lot of time inside his damaged headspace and it’s wonderfully portrayed. He’s got more than a few things to mentally sort out in the wake of First Light, and here he’s grappling with the fallout of his actions, how it impacts his relationship with his father, his place in the LCS, and the world as a whole. His whole life is now a trial in its own right.
The technology on display is cutting edge and perfectly believable, while the political trappings of Nagata’s work proves scarily prescient in light of current day trends. The Linked Combat Squad is comprised of cybernetically-enhanced soldiers bound together by cerebral interfaces and outfitted with armored exoskeletons. Shelley sports a few additional next-gen upgrades thanks to the medical procedures he underwent in First Red, including a pair of robotic legs that would make DARPA envious. And then there’s the mysterious overarching element of The Red, an artificial intelligence weaving its way through the world and subtly manipulating events and people, including James Shelley.
As a military SF thriller, it’s difficult not to imbue the story with a few political elements, and the series thus far has revolved around the actions of some incredibly nasty industrial defense contractors that instigate wars at home and abroad for fun and profit. It’s a bit difficult (at least for this reviewer) not to see shades of Haliburton and Blackwater in the narrative, particularly as the rich and shady villains carry on in such egregious ways that Eisenhower would be turning over in his grave at how little heed Nagata’s world has paid to his warnings of the military-industrial complex. The Red series, thus far, is certainly a product of its time in a post-9/11 world where issues like drone surveillance, NSA overreaches, domestic spying, and the militarization of police forces have become so commonplace that they’re almost as innocuous as texting.
On the narration side of things, Kevin T. Collins returns to give voice to this first-person perspective in the life and times of Lt. James Shelley. With a runtime of sixteen hours, Collins is able to keep the pace moving along nicely and rendering Nagata’s words with a smooth precision. I enjoyed his work in the prior novel, and it’s good to see this continuity in narration. In my review of First Light, I dinged Collins a bit for his handling of shouted dialogue, and I have a similar complaint here. Chalk it up to personal preference, but I would have liked a little more oomph in the performance in those moments where Shelley and company are screaming commands and demanding attention. Collins opts to go for a slightly raised and airy inflection that makes for a spoken shout, which really isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Overall, the narration is fairly consistent and makes for easy listening, with the production values earning solid marks throughout.
While The Trials is not quite – and even then, only barely – as rewarding and surprising as First Light was, it is still wonderfully executed and proves that the author’s Nebula-nominated debut was no fluke. A high-stakes thriller, propulsive action sequences, awesome military tech, and a world inhabited by richly developed characters and nasty political scheming, The Trials has it all. Nagata takes all of these elements and unflinchingly takes them on their natural progression to craft an immensely satisfying and action-filled story.
A remote military research station sends out a frantic distress call, ending with a chilling final command: Kill us all! Personnel from the neighboring base rush in to discover everyone already dead-and not just the scientists, but every living thing for fifty square miles is annihilated: every animal, plant, and insect, even bacteria.
The land is entirely sterile-and the blight is spreading.
To halt the inevitable, Commander Gray Pierce and Sigma must unravel a threat that rises out of the distant past, to a time when Antarctica was green and all life on Earth balanced upon the blade of a knife. Following clues from an ancient map rescued from the lost Library of Alexandria, Sigma will discover the truth about an ancient continent, about a new form of death buried under miles of ice.
From millennia-old secrets out of the frozen past to mysteries buried deep in the darkest jungles of today, Sigma will face its greatest challenge to date: stopping the coming extinction of mankind.
But is it already too late?
About the Author
James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of the Sigma Force series and other novels. Blending science and history, his action adventure novels have been praised as “enormously engrossing” (NPR) and “smart, entertaining adventure fiction” (New York Journal of Books). Before pursuing a writing career, Jim obtained a degree in veterinary medicine and established a successful veterinary practice in Sacramento, CA. He currently resides in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
I’ve been a fan of James Rollins for a number of years now, and yet I can’t help but feel that his series of Sigma Force novels are getting a little long in the tooth.
His tenth iteration, The 6th Extinction, carries with it a whiff of ‘been there, done that’ malaise and the typical Rollins formula has been reduced to a simple template. If you’ve read the series thus far, you know exactly what you’re getting. Frankly, that’s a shame. There’s no surprises, to the point that you can predict exactly what happens when and where in the narrative with striking efficiency. From an author that used to keep me glued to the pages and in constant suspense with an adrenaline-fueled read, this book only managed to inspire boredom and apathy.
SPOILER WARNING FROM HERE ON OUT
Going in, you know that the Sigma team will be split in half, with the A-team and B-team focusing on their own A and B stories before converging for the finale. You know that there will be good guy scientist commandos versus merciless bad guys intent on devastating the world and siccing their own army of commandos against the Sigma boys and girls. There’s a Dog in Danger subplot, and since The 6th Extinction is all about a man-made renegade virus that could potentially eliminate the human race, you know that dog will get infected and that he will make a full recovery. When the book opens with Painter and his fiance prepping for their wedding day, you can rest assured that their lives will be quickly interrupted with a crazy global threat, but that everything will get resolved just in time for their happy nuptials to take place. You know that Gray will be dealing with his father’s Alzheimer and agonizing over the choices he must make to care for his dad, simply because that’s become an ingrained part of his story for ten novels now. I know Alzheimer is a rough and awful disease and that it is not the least bit simple for those dealing with it, or their family. But reading the same schtick for ten books now has grown into a frustration, right down to Gray repeating a decision from an earlier book under the auspices of Second Chances. I wish Rollins either had something new to say about Gray, his father, (or even the rest of team Sigma for that matter) or would just freaking move on already. There’s even multiple ticking-time bomb scenarios, stacked one atop the other in the forms of an actual nuclear bomb, a rampaging virus, and multiple infections that could spell death for these unfortunate ancillary one-off characters if a cure isn’t found in a matter of hours. About the only cliche not stuffed into The 6th Extinction is the tired ‘days away from retirement’ device.
While I completely dig the science and sense of authenticity Rollins is able to breath into these thrillers thanks to meticulous (or at least seemingly meticulous) research, it’s heavily lacking in other areas. While the plot elements of rogue genetic engineering, biohacking, and ancient, almost alien-like lifeforms surviving in shadow ecologies are ridiculously strong and interesting, the story element surrounding these devices is pretty blah. Particularly the characters, who may get shot or dismembered from time to time, only to bounce back virtually unaffected or any worse the wear. It was cute at first, but now lacks even a glimmer of interest. Which is compounded further, since this is a book centered on a mad, perilous viral threat to all of life on Earth as we know it, but there’s never really any true sense of danger. Rather than moving along at a breakneck, frenetic page, it feels bloated and sluggish under its own weight. There’s no surprises here, and the stakes don’t feel much at all like stakes because you know everything’s going to be OK. This may be Rollins’ most risk-averse formulaic comfort-read effort yet. Sadly, I found myself far too bored far too often.
At this point, one Sigma Force book is pretty much the same as the next, just swap out one bit of cutting edge science for another, change the name of the mysterious far-flung locale hiding Mother Nature’s deepest, darkest secrets, slap a new cover on it, and hit the bestseller lists. I’m sure Rollins is contractually obligated to turn out new stuff in this series for his publisher since it’s a no-brainer cash grab for both of them, but still, these stories need to get seriously shaken up and the author desperately needs to break the mold.
Or, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just too tried of prolonged, open-ended, never-ending series reads. Maybe I’m just too old for this stuff, or maybe I’m just growing more finicky with the books that fill my scare free time for reading. I obtained this book from my local library, and maybe the time that elapsed between requesting it and obtaining it meant a swing in desire and this just wasn’t the right book at the right time for me. Maybe. Just maybe.
Right now, I certainly don’t find myself in any rush to read Rollin’s next effort, The Bone Labyrinth. I’m sure I will one day, in the hopes that his books can excite me the way they did when I first stumbled upon Ice Hunt quite a while back. I used to buy his books religiously, but I think those days are at an end. For now, I’m quite content with waiting for an ebook copy to turn up in the check-out queue at my library, or for it to hit that sweet $1.99 price point. Or maybe this was just a misfire for Rollins and he can rediscover his groove and remind me why I used to enjoy his cunning romps around the world and into the corners of lost dark continents.