Firstly, my apologies for not posting for almost an entire month. My job had the nerve to get in the way of my reading. I fell behind on my reading, my Doctor Who watching (I am on the third episode of season 6 on Netflix, and trying to get all caught up in time for the 50th anniversary event!) and just fun things in general. It’s possible things are calming down and I should be back and posting more regularly now.
That being said, onto the review!
Joe Ledger and his DMS team thought their mission was a relatively routine rescue of three hikers taken hostage by the Iranian government. Then, while trying to get out of Dodge, Ledger is stopped by a government official, and after a very shady conversation, he tells Ledger and DMS about six nuclear bombs spread across the oil fields in the Middle East that, if detonated, would cause global chaos. Along the way to finding the nukes, Ledger encounters a beautiful and mysterious assassin named Violin (who saves his life more than once), a brotherhood of genetically engineered killers with a thirst for blood (yes, I stole that description from the back of the book; sorry, couldn’t think of a way to say it better) and the Book of Shadows, which contains terrifying information that could destroy peace throughout the world.
Bad news first: So far, this is probably my least favorite Joe Ledger book. Not because it was poorly written or didn’t contain any of the usual dark humor, interaction between characters, various POVs, etc. I mean, it was a little slow at times and felt like the middle went through some long periods of inaction. But I could have dealt with that. The part that I couldn’t wrap my head around–and I realize this is going to sound ridiculous with all the fantasy books I read full of supernatural creatures–was the “vampires.” The knights of the red order are genetically enhanced killers who have pointed teeth, inhuman strength and speed, and oh, by they way, they like to drink blood. Church and the rest of the DMS team try to find a scientific explanation for how these dudes can exist and while some things about evolution are implied, it’s never explained fully. And I’m sorry, if this makes me a hypocrite so be it, I couldn’t buy it. Maybe it was because most other things in these books are explained so scientifically and this wasn’t so it didn’t seem like it fit for me. I mean I realize these books are science fiction and call for some serious suspension of disbelief. Something about this one just didn’t work for me.
The good news is there were other things I did really like about this book. Joe Ledger’s typical dark and sarcastic-in-the-face-of-certain-death was back. I also love the way he describes his dog’s facial expressions and attitudes. Because I am always too engrossed in reading to write down page numbers of quotes, when it comes time for reviewing I can never find the humorous lines to share with you. Someday I’m going to buy a notepad and rectify this problem. Until then, you’re going to have to take my word for it. Being a dog lover myself, some of the ways Ledger describes what his dog is thinking make me laugh out loud.
I also liked the interaction between Ledger and the mysterious Violin. The fact that Ledger has realistic emotions and is still struggling to get over Grace Courtland’s death makes his attraction to a new woman even more intriguing and makes me even more emotionally invested in his love life. Not to mention Violin was an interesting character all on her own, as was the Arklight organization she worked for. Arklight was a great twist, something I did not see coming at all.
I certainly didn’t dislike this book enough to stop reading Maberry. In fact, I am waiting for the next book to come in at my library. I’m just hoping the next one has science I can buy into.