My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Marshall Hail is a billionaire with a mission. His wife and twin daughters were killed in the terrorist attack known as The Five. Since then, he has combated his loneliness and depression by vowing to use his fortune to develop advanced technology that will allow him to hunt down and kill the FBI’s top ten terrorists. He begins with the current leader of North Korea, successfully using his sophisticated arsenal of drones to poison the North Korean. Mission accomplished, but he also got the attention of the FBI and the President of the United States. Marshall wants the FBI to aid him in tracking down the rest of the terrorists on the list, and the US wants Marshall to use his tech to destroy the ICBM missiles North Korea is buying in pieces. The FBI sends its top female agent, who has been tracking the arms dealer involved for years, to help Marshall in what becomes known as Operation: Hail Storm.
Sounds pretty decent, right? The basic idea is good, and the tech is impressive, from the fleet of virtual floating cities Hail uses as his bases of operation to the super sophisticated drones he uses as his information gathering tools and weapons.
The problem? Once again, this is a decent story wrapped in a bad book. Characters are flat, with little to pull them out of their stereotypes. Hail is the tormented genius, driven but wallowing in self-pity and anger. Kara Ramey, the FBI agent, is beautiful, cunning, and has a secret. Most of Hail’s crew is underage boy and girl geniuses who also lost family in The Five. Nothing breaks any of them out of those neat little cages. There are attempts at humor, but the characters have so little personality, they fall flat.
The writing itself is forced and full of superfluous technical terms and science-y words that seem to just have been thrown in there to impress. Awkward sentences, redundant phrases, and long, rambling info dumps make reading difficult. One example: “I think the first parameter is silence; however, if we intend to breach the warehouse, it has to be silent.” Things like that just kept popping me out of the story.
Again, the idea was good. The tech was mostly impressive. The conclusion had its tense moments. But there was just too much predictability and less than polished writing to make this a recommended read.
Coming in December 2018: Two’s Company, a sci-fi novel in the space opera tradition. Artificial intelligence, corporate plots, spaceships, a heroine with an attitude. More details soon!
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