Review: The Tenth Circle by Jon Land


Publisher: Open Road Media
Publishing Date: December 2013
ISBN: 9781480414792
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 1.2/5.0

Publisher Description: Blaine McCracken pulled off the impossible on a mission in Iran, but his work has just begun. Returning to the US, he faces another terrible threat in the form of Reverend Jeremiah Rule, whose hateful rhetoric has inflamed half the world, resulting in a series of devastating terrorist attacks. But Rule isn’t acting alone. A shadowy cabal is pulling his strings, unaware that they are creating a monster who will soon spin free of their control.

Review: The cover art is pretty bad. How many of these thrillers set in the political realm, always have the Capitol building, the White House or some other institutional edifice on the cover? Publishing houses really do themselves a marketing disservice in that regard. Ho hum.

This novel moved at a good clip, mainly because the author breaks up the novel into about 100 chapters. Gives you a false sense of movement. Right from the get go you are assaulted with a pretty formulaic political thriller. Example. McCracken, ex covert ops/Phoenix-nam/Delta-beret/Deep cover expert/ all around super guy, conducting his biz with a straight forward, in the moment “tude”. He can bring it, sing it and just so you know he was the one whom got deep underground in Iran to destroy their nuclear facility when no nation on earth could. . And the final kicker…wait for it…….he has a 7 foot tall native American sidekick called…..WAREAGLE! BAHAHAHA! Oh, and Wareagle is the one carving the Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota along with… guessed it, McCracken. The Crazy Horse Memorial was completed in 1998 while this novel circles current events.

Besides the crappy, tired and old story-line that has been used more than a gigolo at a cougar party, this novel is made up of stilted conversational backstory. For example, the assassin Zarrin (whom happens to be one of the best musicians in the world ) is in her room after a concert. Colonel Kosh an Iranian handler, begins discussing her next job. “Amazing the things you can learn in a Palestinian refugee camp…….as an orphan witnessing Israelis murder both parents….rescued and trained by a legendary Palestinian intelligence official. Zarrin, specialist in every weapon, renowned for making use of objects that aren’t weapons at all, allowing for close-in kills…” Blah, blah, blah. You get the idea. This is an authors easy out for backstory creds. Rather than build the backstory as you get to know them in a slow reveal, we get people talking in a room whom obviously know each other and would never re-iterate to each other what they already know.

There is quite a bit of Deus Ex Machina in this novel. One particular scene is when McCracken, our freakin’ nuclear one-man army super hero, faces off against 12 armed men in a deserted town (with an operating roller coaster) to get his “not” grandson, and is wheeling him away, only to face certain death in a deadly crossfire. He throws a handful of “Bug Bombs” into the air, and they miraculously find all of their targets, thanks to the resident smart software. . And lying at his feet is an assault rifle that just happened to fall out of the window. He takes care of the rest of the baddies and straps the top bad guy to the roller coaster tracks and you know the rest. Scene after scene is this tired “insurmountable odds” shtick, but they weren’t trained in live action fire where you must be in the moment without thinking in order to prevail against the enemy and……zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Another big effort to suspend disbelief, is when commandos raid an old folks home of retired octogenarian veterans from WWII and the Korean war. These ragtag lovable hero’s throw bocce balls, wheelchairs, mace, little clubs and hot coffee at trained commandos and overcome them in grand style. Leaving SUPER MCCRACKEN to swiftly and effortlessly take out some commandos as well. Because, well, he’s FREAKIN’ SUPER MCCRACKEN!!!!!

The whole novel is rife with unbelievable actions and scenarios by ATOMIC SUPER BATMAN MCCRACKEN and his trusty sidekick the 7-FOOT TALL SUPER INDIAN (er…Boy Robin). Not only that, the author un-retires the homegrown religious zealot as the arch enemy (oops, the Joker) that many authors now avoid as being overdone ad nauseum. In order to make this drivel palatable, the author pulls shjt out of a bag called the lost Raonoke Colony and why they disappeared. See, they didn’t disappear at all, the village well had carbonic freakin’ acid in it called the White Death which killed them off. See, now someones got barrels of this stuff…ah, forget it, my brain hurts.

Adding insult to injury is the authors scant knowledge of live action fire. So, SUPER PENIS MCCRACKEN runs up some stairs, blazing a trail of glory, gets shot at with a pistol, manages to dodge live fire, DOES NOT RETURN FIRE, disarms the bad guy and bops him in the nose with the rifle barrel. REALLY? Oh but we are not done, this is all leading up to the Grande diatribe (repeated throughout the novel) where MCRACKEN SUPER DUDE-MAN is going to tell you how bad you are, how wrong you have been, how much he despises non-super heroes, and what he is going to do to you, because you not only deserve it, you earned it…MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

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