Publisher: All Night Reads
Publishing Date:February 2014
Publisher Description: Exhausted by years of combat, and haunted by the ghosts of his past, nothing is going to stop special forces veteran Byron Tibor returning home to the woman he loves.
Review: Cover art is dumber than a bag of hammers.
This started out as pure adrenalized fun. Special Forces guy insertion and semi-assimilation behind enemy lines. Byron eventually escapes from his own people as things are not adding up especially the bizarre hallucinations that are recurring.
What was lacking was some sort of pseudo science to explain why and how the implants impart super-strength and the ability to literally see emotions in others, in color. You just kind of have to accept that it just works and go about suspending your disbelief in every scene where his abilities are showcased. There was also a heck of a lot of dialogue from internal flashbacks to lengthy story-line explanations. Julia, Byron’s wife is a real novel killer. Pages and pages of lame dialogue that the author hoped would insert some sense of emotive and humanistic appeal. What is hard to accept is that this self-proclaimed uber liberal immediately believes the Government that her husband is running around killing people at random. Eventually Julia doesn’t even want to be near him. You can safely skip every single chapter titled “Julia” and have a better reading experience.
I really liked the psychopath Eldon, whom Graves springs from prison in order to hunt down Byron. The author does a great job building a character, mainly through his motivations and subsequent actions. The only thing that doesn’t make sense is when Byron has the chance to kill a known psychopath, but doesn’t have time as the cops are coming. Really? Eldon is happy that his kill count is up by 2, as he killed Chauncey, the homeless guy and a retired cop. Only Eldon killed the knife wielding transvestite, Repo, as well.
The scene development was weak in a few areas, perhaps intentionally. Eldon has Julia hostage and is climbing a bridge with her in tow, with cops blocking access to the bridge. As the Talking Heads would say “How did I get here?”. Its weird, one minute Byron is tracking Eldon and there is a standoff between the cops and Byron. As Byron uses a cop as a shield, Eldon somehow shoots the cop in the head with a pistol. Here is where it gets funny. As Byron pursues Eldon up the bridge, scaling dividers, you get the impression that Eldon took a shot with a pistol at long distance, yet there is no sense of scale provided. Byron continues pursuit while police bullets whiz around him and eventually takes one in the back. So Byron is closer to the cops, I assume, and they have difficulty with pistols at distance, but then again there is no scale provided that supports the notion that it is possible to hit someone with a handgun at varying distances and slope angles.
So much of this story line was canned. Anti-hero Byron, bad government black ops program run by desperate project manager, myopic scientist and sniveling wife. There is even a billionaire thrown in for good measure. This story had great potential but got lost in the dialogue.