Book Review: Dark Space Universe – The Enemy Within by Jasper T. Scott

“Perhaps Jasper’s greatest gift is his ability to yank readers out of their stream of thought by introducing a plot twist that leaves them flopping on the river bank …”

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Jasper T. Scott is an accomplished science fiction author evidenced by the tens of thousands of books he has sold over the last few years. His stories include plenty of action and suspense, but they aren’t dominated by it. Philosophical and spiritual issues are neatly woven into his plots. He doesn’t preach to the reader—far from it. Instead, he creates situations that allow the reader to raise questions in his or her own mind.

I’ve always been impressed by his respect for science in his fiction. For example, in his most recent trilogy, Dark Space Universe, the shape and extent of the universe is a plot point that he develops based on current scientific theories, and in an interesting way.

Perhaps Jasper’s greatest gift is his ability to yank readers out of their stream of thought by introducing a plot twist that leaves them flopping on the river bank saying, “I didn’t see that coming.” Yet, the hints were always there. Chubby Checker has nothing on Scott.

Dark Space Universe – The Enemy Within, Book 2 in the series, is scheduled to be released on August 17, 2017. As a structural editor, I had the great pleasure of reading an early draft and will say this, “It’s a great book, six stars, at least, and maybe Scott’s best, yet.”

So, get caught up. Buy Dark Space Universe (Book 1) or read it for free with Kindle Unlimited here.

Exodus by Jasper T. Scott – Review

First the Blub:

THIS INTERSTELLAR VOYAGE MIGHT BE OUR LAST

With androids in control of Earth, and humans relegated to colonies on Mars and the outer planets, tensions are rising, and war looks inevitable. Looking for a way to escape the looming conflict, Alexander and Catalina de Leon board the Liberty with 70,000 other colonists on a voyage to Proxima Centauri, but it’s going to take them nine years to reach their destination, and a lot can happen in that time. As the trip progresses, everything that can happen does, and what was meant to be a monotonous voyage becomes a fight for survival against mysterious forces that threaten not only the passengers and crew, but the entire human race.

Review:

Scott brings a philosophical glint to all of his books, which puts them a step above the typical in my mind. He’s not an erudite lecturer, however. The novel is gripping and full of twists and surprises. The action scenes are heart thumping and suspenseful, and human interactions are believable, often humorous and sometimes emotional. Readers of Scott’s Dark Space series will enjoy the tie-in to that story line, but new readers won’t be hampered by the references at all. I got a kick out of the not-so-subtle allusion to the UFO community’s ideas.

Conclusion:

A hearty 4 ½ starts.

Disclosures:

I had the pleasure to be a structural editor on this novel but I am under no obligation to review it.

An Intelligent Post-Apocalyptic Thriller

PushBack_eBook.jpgI love my wife for many reasons not least of which is her ability to find outstanding indie authors. While I struggle to read one novel between writing and editing for other folks, she’ll read three or four books, maybe more. She has varied interests but is very fond of thrillers and mysteries.

Luckily for me, she introduced me to R. E. McDermott’s Tom Dugan three-book series focused on the world of merchant shipping. I envied his writing skills in all of them. When he decided to branch out into the popular post-apocalypse genre, and I was hesitant.

I’m socially liberal, but to be honest, I’ve had enough of zombies and New Age vampires.

Not to worry. McDermott’s take on the genre is realistic and very human. Who needs to fear zombies when the real world is full of human monsters. The first book in the Destruction series, Under a Tell Tale Sky, was outstanding and I encourage you to buy it while it’s available on Amazon at $0.99.

I had the honor of being an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) reader for Bob McDermott’s second book in the series, Push Back. I think he may have changed a thing or two based on my comments–picture a fat old man tickled with himself. Seriously, McDermott writes good stories. The review I posted on Amazon is presented below. By the way, if you hurry you may be able to get Push Back at $2.99 as an ebook.

The story opens where book one, Under Tell-Tale Sky, ended. McDermott does an excellent job of refreshing the reader’s memory with a Prologue and subtle reminders as each open plotline is addressed. There’s no lack of storylines or characters— George R.R. Martin might be jealous—but I never felt lost. The plotlines are logically connected with only one instance of a coincidental, although reasonable, intersect that occurs in book one.

It’s only been a few weeks since a massive solar storm destroyed the world’s power grid and overwhelmed the disaster plans and resources of the globe’s formal governments. As a result, some smart individuals like, Colonel Hunnicutt in Willington, North Carolina, and Captain Hughes in Port Arthur, Texas, have started to create informal governments for mutual protection. Corrupt Politician’s and bright bad guys are doing the same thing—conflict is inevitable.

McDermott writes an outstanding thriller that’s hard to put down. His research is top notch. I doubt you’ll catch a real writing error. It’s more likely, you’ll find a term used correctly that you hadn’t seen before, which I like. His protagonistic characters have depth and struggle with the morality of their tough choices. His antagonistic characters have few moral qualms but aren’t devoid of reason.

Push Back and its predecessor, Under a Tell Tale Sky, are excellent reads. Do yourself a favor and buy them.

Here’s a link. Don’t dally. It could cost you.

Get the Books

Book Review: A Girl Called Wolf

A Girl Called WolfInuits live in a harsh place that break some of them and toughen others. Anuka, wolf in her native tongue, faces that test in this compelling story. It’s all the more compelling because it’s based on a real person’s life. It’s not a biography, yet many of the events depicted actually occurred.

Stephen Swartz uses prose to subtly underline the intellectual and social growth of an illiterate girl as she copes with many terrible and some wonderful experiences during her strange life. Initially, his prose is simplistic, almost childish, but is grows more complex as his heroine matures. I liked the technique and hadn’t seen it before. Swartz also uses flash-forwards and flashbacks to good effect which keeps the story moving and avoids what could have been the plodding pace of personal diary.

This is the first of Swartz’s novels that I’ve read. It will not be the last. I heartily recommended it, but not to young adults, because of violence and adult sexual situations.

Reviewers’ comment: I hate star ratings because they are too subjective, but I realize they are part of today’s world. For my purposes the stars mean: 3 stars = average, a fine read, 4 stars = above average, an excellent read, 5 stars = 4 stars plus it grabbed me emotionally in some way.


© 2015 by David P. Cantrell

 

Book Review: Of Ice & Air

oficeair-coverOf Ice & Air follows the exploits of Kailani, a strong willed princess determined to prove that she should be treated as the competent adult that she knows she is. Her family sees her as naïve and not ready to face the violence and evil that surrounds her sheltered life.

On her twenty-first birthday she learns that her long lost mother, Garalia, may have been kidnapped and taken to a lawless realm. Kailani swears to find out what happened to her mother and bring her home if she lives, in spite of the forewarnings of her elders. For the most part this is a quest, but there’s also court intrigue and mystery.

Carlie Cullen has created an interesting fantasy world, worlds actually, populated by some intriguing creatures. I was reminded of the classic Brothers Grimm stories in some respects. I liked that the creatures, domesticated and wild, were uniquely hers. She has a fertile imagination.

I found the pace good for the most part and there was plenty of action. Cullen does a good job with her battle scenes and I had no trouble understanding the action. However, I found the brutality of Garalia’s rape, while well written, off-putting and surprising for a novel of this kind.

This is not a Young Adult book in my opinion.

I mostly read science fiction and thriller genres with an epic fantasy thrown in now and then. Cullen’s story is quite different for me and I found it difficult to relate to her characters—I suspect that the lack of an X chromosome may have something to do with it. I’ve given it three stars, not as a negative, but to indicate that for me, it wasn’t my cup of tea, but wasn’t a waste of my time either.

Dave Cantrell

Five Star Review: Deep Space – Armageddon (Book 6 in a series)

DS6 CoverI just completed the advanced readers copy (ARC) of Deep Space-Armageddon Jasper T. Scott’s conclusion to his epic six book space opera. The final version will be available on September 4, 2015 at Amazon. I’m jumping the gun a bit and posting my review here first.


I read Jasper T. Scott’s first Dark Space novel shortly after it was published in 2013 and waited impatiently for each sequel since then. I’ve never been disappointed. In fact, Scott has improved as a writer, particularly his prose.

In DS-6 we follow Ethan Ortane and his extended family on their separate paths to find the truth behind Omnius, the AI controlling humanity. Billions have accepted the Paradise offered by Omnius, but not everyone has. Ethan is reluctantly pulled into the resistance movement that seeks to dethrone the AI that would be God. But, should Omnius be destroyed? Would humanity really be better off, or would mankind be evicted from the Garden of Eden once again?

There is plenty of action, tragedy and mystery to keep the reader involved. Scott is a Maestro of cliff-hangers and he uses them well to keep the pace accelerating. This is a long book, somewhere over 600 pages, but I never tired of it. Actually, I found myself reading faster and faster—the last 30% flew by.

I highly recommend the book and the entire series. You could read this book on its own and enjoy it, but you’d miss a great deal. The epic started with Ethan and Alara and ends with them. They go on a wild ride that I was glad to observe. And, take heart, if you start at book one you won’t have to wait two years to finish the ride.