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Series: Outriders #2
Author: Jay Posey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
A secret asset of the UAF (United American Federation) has gone missing. This asset has stealth capability, can capture, render and output enemy data AND it can perform kinetic strikes, which are almost untraceable.
It is up to the Outriders to find this missing asset, recover it and prevent a war from breaking out between Mars and Earth. Unfortunately for them, someone within the Mars Federation WANTS war. So not only do the Outriders have to prevent war, they have to do so secretly because the very existance of the asset is enough to start the war.
During this time Mike Pence, the sniper who died and underwent The Process in the last book reveals to Lincoln that he’s having memory problems and that The Process might not be quite all that the brass say it is. Which of course means that Lincoln dies near the end of the book and goes through The Process himself. Which in turn leads to the revelation that the big bad enemy lady from the first book not only has access to a form of The Process herself and uses it, but she uses it to replicate herself and put herself in multiple positions of power in various Martian city states.
Now that I knew I was not going to be reading a Duskwalker style story, which is what I was expecting with the first Outriders book, I was able to read and accept this for what it was. Military SF. It makes a big difference if you know what you are getting into, even vaguely, when starting a book. This was on my “High Priority” collection on my kindle and so I read it as soon as it came out.
This was just as good as the first and nothing stood out either better or worse. Only a couple of issues which I’ll touch on quickly and even those didn’t really let me down. More of quibbles.
Lincoln is able to tell what Amira Wright is feeling by invisible muscle twitches in her eyes or mouth. Once, I can live with. But it happened at least 3 times and was annoying. There were stretches of unnecessary description that really felt like padding. Finally, the revelation that the evil lady replicates herself wasn’t bad, but considering how information greedy Mars is [they make googles seem like your blind, deaf, dumb and DEAD uncle], it seemed improbable to me that no one else had noticed this on Mars and made an issue of it.Unless there is a secret Cabal on Mars who run everything, kind of like in X-Files Season 10 where there is a secret Cabal who run Earth and aliens are just a fake distraction.
Now to the good stuff. Several riveting instances of infiltration, fighting and exfiltration. Not huge gun battles, but tense enough that I felt pumped up after reading them. I like that feeling. The revelation about possible problems in The Process of replicating the Outriders when they die opens up whole vistas of possible paranoia and government conspiracy. I can just see one of the team going haywire in a future book and having to be hunted down by his own team mates. Now THAT would be awesome.
The revelation of clone lady, with its attendant problems, also opens up possible plot lines. Who is funding her replication? Is it the same process, do the replicants think alike, can they think in unison, etc? Is she the mastermind or is there a Martian conspiracy? Or…ALIENS?!? I am so hoping for aliens at some point myself. United States Secret Forces versus the godless, murdering, horribly bestial aliens.
* sings the national anthem *
Man, sometimes I write better plot ideas in my head than actual reviews. Of course, it would take great skill to write that without me lambasting the author for being a talentless hack who couldn’t write an original plotline if their life depended on it. Authors just can’t win with me 🙂