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Rick Partlow is one of my favorite authors. He usually writes excellent military science fiction. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of thinking that any new book he puts out will be in the military sci-fi genre and consider reading it immediately. I wish I hadn’t done that for this book!

Oh, the book is Ok and well written. It’s exciting and kept my interest, but it’s definitely not a military sci-fi book and, right up front, I probably won’t be reading the rest of this series. It just doesn’t appeal to me. To give you a hint, if you like detective or bounty hunter stories, then this is the book/series for you. I should have know from the front cover and maybe the title, but at least the front cover seemed to look like some military guy doing his thing, but alas, it’s just a cover about a guy and his, not-dog!

Ok, the main character is a disgraced former Marshal Grant Masterson, now Bounty Hunter Masterson. Marshals in this part of the universe are law enforcement personnel such as they are. Things are pretty wild in this part of the galaxy and unless things get really wild, the Marshals don’t usually step in to do much of anything. You’ll find out that Grant Masterson was a pretty good Marshall until he did his job too good. He got on the backside of some powerful people and when he wouldn’t drop the case after being repeatedly told to do so, the bad guys framed him and got him kicked out of the Marshal service. So now he’s Bounty Hunter hunting down the bad guys the Marshals won’t go after for one reason or another. Oh, you don’t even find out the main characters name until the 2nd chapter.

What makes this story kind of unique is Grant’s side-kick. Every one has a side-kick in stories like this. Usually it’s for comic relief, but no so in this book. “Dog” is well not a dog so much as he’s an AI, a very, very advanced AI. Dog gets introduced in the very first line of the book when he starts mouthing off to Grant. And no, I’m not giving away a spoiler because you’ll read about Dog in the first line of the book! Still, Dog and Grant have an antagonistic type of relationship, the dog is a lot smarter than Grant and he tends to tell Grant that often. Dog is an illegal AI that Grant isn’t supposed to have, so the dog talking is supposed to be kept quiet, but it doesn’t work out that way much. While this is an interesting use of an AI in a sci-fi book, the dog’s not around for about the last one quarter of the story. If you want to know why, read the book.

I don’t like detective stories. Most are pretty easy to figure out and in this one, Grant Masterson goes after the one criminal that he shouldn’t have since everyone else wants her now. Yes, his next bounty is a female that is wanted for Treason of all things, but hasn’t been caught by anyone because no one has bothered looking her up. That in itself is a little strange. So, anyway, this story is about the Bounty Hunter bringing this criminal to justice. That’s it. Lots of shooting and bad guys doing what bad guys do.

Like I said before, I don’t particularly like this kind of story, so I’ll be passing on the next book, “Retribution”. Rick Partlow is a very good writer so I would encourage you to read his books and I’ll be looking forward to any he writes in the military sci-fi genre. This isn’t one of those.

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