My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book started out promisingly, but devolved into a muddled mess with a very disappointing ending.
I generally like Steve Perry books and I had read the first book in this series, which I thought was okay (just okay), so I thought I would give this sequel a chance. And he let me down. Oh well.
The book is about two members of the Cutter’s Force Initiative, a team of mercenaries — Kay and Wink. Wink is a human doctor and a merc. Kay is an alien Vastalimi, all of whom are stronger and faster than humans. It’s almost impossible to beat them in combat. Kay has been serving with Cutter when she gets a message from her brother telling her of a plague that has broken out on her home planet of Vast and asking her to return, as she’s an excellent Healer. Kay goes and brings Wink with her. However, it’s dangerous. The Vastalimi don’t like humans and they don’t like Kay either. Indeed, she’s challenged to a battle to the death, which she wins. We meet her brother, a doctor, and her sister, a member of the police. On Vast, the police are all powerful. They are judge, jury, and executioner and can kill you on the spot if they deem it warranted.
Meanwhile, Cutter and his crew are fighting a minor merc war on a backwater planet. This part of the book just seems like filler to me. It really adds nothing. So back to Kay and Wink. Wink determines it’s poison that’s killing off the Vastilimi and he and Kay start asking questions. Then they get kidnapped. They’re not heard from for several days, so Cutter and the others leave their planet and go to Vast to search for them. However, they’ve escaped and are out interviewing potential suspects. And on and on. It gets really boring, the interviews. It seems like filler too. Perry must have had a minimum words requirement to fulfill because this book could have been edited down.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
The end is beyond anticlimactic. It’s deeply disappointing. The culprit behind the murderous plague is Kay’s sister. She thinks the police are going downhill, that they’re not getting the quality of the recruits they once got. So she concocts this plan to kill off various criminals, as well as innocents — including members of her own family — to throw people off the trail, just so the police would look good in solving the crime and so they could recruit better once again. Yeah. It’s utterly stupid. And to make it worse, Perry can’t write a book without gratuitous sex scenes, so Wink and Kay end up in the sack together, with Wink thinking about a threesome. And that’s it. The ending sucks!!! I can’t believe I read this. For part of the book, I was engaged. There were some exciting moments. But the slow parts drag it down and the ending kills it. Too bad. Not recommended.