Review: Hot Ice by Gregg Loomis

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN:9781480400788
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 3.2/5.0

Publishers Description: Though not on the government payroll, Jason Peters kills for Uncle Sam. NARCOM is a private corporation that does what the CIA doesn’t have the nerve to do, and Peters is its best operative—until the job gets the best of him. He completes his last mission and happily retires to Italy, swearing to his girlfriend that he’s through with his deadly past. He has just settled into a peaceful life when NARCOM comes knocking.

Review: One reviewer stated that this novel was neither a mystery or a thriller and I would have to agree. Everything that occurs is evident and no surprises to the story line exist. The plot is fairly straight forward and the overall character development was weak. His hot girlfriend is always stating the same thing over and over “Violence stops when we choose to be non-violent” adds a tired air to the whole story-line as does his inner-dialogue on terrorists whom killed his wife. The author does provide very good scene development so visualization is a snap. Tough trick that. The cover art is lame-o. Is that Iceland?

The author talks about rifle accuracy and the need to get a uniform crimp on the bullet. Not true. A uniform brass neck diameter that seats the bullet is more important to accuracy than crimping. The only way to get a uniform crimp is to develop necked brass that you make concentric by trimming the outside of the neck to uniform thickness. Then get a case fired neck die made to your specific crimp specifications and your good to go. Weighing bullets as the author states is a fairy tale and belongs in an urban dictionary. If the shooter is going to those lengths for accuracy, they will be selecting bullets that perform (Berger, Sierra, Hornaday, Nosler) by their Ballistic Coefficient. The higher the BC the less drift the bullet has downrange.

It is easy to find flaws in any novel, if that is your bent. I assure that isn’t mine. I merely point out what I see and make the call. Despite a few technical and development flaws, I had a fun time reading this novel. The author is a creative story teller, there just needs to be some refinement. If your on the fence with this one just jump and have a good time.

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Review: The Undead Hordes of Kan-gul by Jon F. Merz

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Publisher: Baen
Publishing Date: September 2013
ISBN: 9781451639162
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Publishers Description: Ninjas and zombies! Book 1 in a new series, the Shadow Warrior saga. A young ninja in a fantastic land of dreams and nightmares must face an army of zombies to save a beautiful sorceress.

Review: This was a fun read, not to be taken too seriously. This was an uncorrected proof so there were a lot of grammatical/syntax/spelling errors throughout. The cover is weak. The undead hordes described in the novel are not skeletons but rotting corpses in varying stages of decay. The cover art depicts the last scene in the novel, where the skin gets fried off the undead, hence the skeletons.

The story-line was fun and the novel kept up at a real good pace with plenty of action and good character development. The authors prose doesn’t flow very well due to an over-abundance of verbosity. Scenes that involved the characters communicating with each other was over-done with useless information. IMO this weakens the characters. Sometimes the action is self-explanatory and requires no filler. There is an inordinate amount of logical progression and story-line errors. Hopefully during the final editing process this gets cleaned up.

I really expected more magic and Ran’s ability as a Shadow Warrior to verge on the fantastical. His abilities are a bit more down to earth while Kanchos’ seem to be a tier above. Not sure why the author gifted a secondary character with more skill than the hero. Although the author expresses (through Ran), his need to hide his Shadow Warrior past, it is not alluded to that he does so while fighting.

Even with all the errors that reside in this uncorrected proof, I had a good time. By September when this becomes available to the masses, it should be edited enough to pass muster.