Friday, October 7, 2011

Book Review - Dead Six

While sitting in jury duty this week, I read through Larry Correia and Mike Kupari's novel "Dead Six".  This is a page-turner of a adventure/thriller, and if you enjoyed John le Carre or Tom Clancy, you will probably like this one.  It's a bit more adult than Correia's earlier novels in the Monster Hunter International and Grimnoire Chronicles universes, and it's the first novel by Kupari.  I hope he keeps at it, because I found it hard sometimes to tell where Correia's writing stopped and Kupari's writing started, and that's saying a lot when you consider that Correia has written several best selling books.

The story centers around Val, a mercenary who has taken a mission for a shadowy government agency after getting burned on his last job, and Lorenzo, a master thief and assassin who has been sent on a nearly impossible mission by ruthless underworld masters.  Their lives intersect when the targets of Val's mission happen to be part of Lorenzo's plan to accomplish his task.

The story is well plotted, and doesn't drag into techno-babble the way Clancy does.  Seriously, if you thought reading the explanation of how an atomic bomb is constructed and how the explosion works in The Sum of All Fears was a long read, the little technical explanation that is woven into this book will be a breeze.  The authors do make pains to show the name brands and models of the equipment and weapons the characters use, but it's not a distraction.  The action scenes of the book work out like missions from a video game, with Val or Lorenzo going out for a discreet objective with resistance and a defined goal.   This one could very easily be adapted to the screen starring the action heroes of the moment.  The switching between the the perspectives of Val and Lorenzo was reminiscent of old magazine serials, where each segment ended with a cliff-hanger.

The setting for the story is a world that is slowly tearing itself apart in a "decade after this one" kind of timeframe.  Think more "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" at modern speeds than "The Day After Tomorrow".  China has apparently gone through some sort of civil war that included the use of nuclear weapons, Mexico has finally slipped over the edge in to official failed-state status, and the Mid-East and Africa are still bleeding sores.  This setting is perfect for the characters of a gun-for-hire with a conscience and an expert international thief.  The timeframe allows for a few pieces of "wonder gear" to show up amidst all of the things you can find in Walmart and the nearest gun store without distracting the reader from or becoming a crutch for the plot.

The supporting characters in this include the requisite beautiful women, the gruff soldiers, greasy government types, and underworld types so evil that your mental picture is more shark than man.  Add in a mysterious freedom fighting sect that is the one "Deus ex Machina" in the book.  There's even an old secret agent type with a gruff manner and an eyepatch whose loyalties are to his men and not the corrupted agency that he works for.  What's not to like about that?

As you can guess, I loved this book.  It was a fun read that I know I can come back in a few months and re-read.  There is a bit more violence and adult language in this book than in Correia's other novels, so this one stays on the shelf as far as Girlie Bear is concerned.  While there are a couple of implied sex scenes, they're not graphically described.  I won't have a problem letting the kids read this book when they turn 15 or so.

So overall, I'd definitely recommend this one to anyone who's old enough for the violence, language, and implied sex.  It was fun, it was interesting, and it's definitely going on the "read again" shelf.

1 comment:

45er said...

"Implied sex"

ie marriage.

I'm waiting for mine. It shipped today with "Spellbound".

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