Rick Partlow is one of my favorite military science fiction authors. He always write a good story with lots of action that keeps the reader interested. This book is kind of like his previous although I had to say it’s kind of a “cookie-cutter” that’s probably been used by a lot of writers. Oh, it’s a good story, but really predictable in what’s happening from moment to moment.
We start off learning about a young man named Kyle Washakie Williams who lives and works in and around the town of Riverton, Wyoming. Oh, he goes by the name “Wash” most of the time which is probably from his middle name and his mothers Shoshone heritage. Why he couldn’t just go by Kyle is a mystery to me, but I guess not to our author. Anyway, Wash and his Dad, Harry Williams, ex-Army Special Forces Operator and now recovering drug addict not too long from being released from prison. I tell you this because is somewhat explains why a young man of Wash’s age would want to remain in a dead-end town like Riverton. He’s Dad is in poor health. How he got this way will be explained, but it’s back of his Dad that Wash passed up a chance to go to the West Point or any other college where he could have made something of himself.
So, here he now works three part-time jobs trying to keep him and his Dad in their home that they’ve owned for a long, long time. The house needed fixing up badly, but they didn’t have anywhere near the money to do so. He was off to go fix the Bonner’s truck which was something he wanted to do, but they paid well for his services. The Bonners were one of the few rich folks in this part of Wyoming, but they had an attitude problem and their Son, Jimmy, was plain and simply trouble. He and Wash had grown up together, but Jimmy didn’t seem to quite grown all the way up. He was just spoiled if anyone asked. He got all the money from his Mom he wanted just by asking and he got no respect for anything from his Dad. Of course, Jimmy never really did anything that could have earned his Dad’s respect anyway.
Wash and Jimmy were never really friends. They had different lives and Jimmy always thought he was better than anyone else because he had money. Now he had Wash’s girl. Brenda was once tight with Wash, but he had dropped her when he decided to stay at home and not go to the same college she was going to and which they had planned to do for a long time. She became angry and disappointed in him and drifted over to Jimmy because her Mother wanted that in the first place. Her Mother wanted Brenda to marry into money so she’d have some in her old age. Kind of a typical setup.
So of course, Wash and Jimmy hated each other. It wasn’t unusual for Jimmy to come round where Wash was working on the Bonner ranch just so he could rub it in that he was working for him when he was actually working for Mr. Bonner. This time they did get in a fight and that’s where the book really starts off.
Ok, now none of this happens in the first part of the book, so you’re going to be or were confused as to what’s happening starting off. Well, you’ll get it figured out eventually and all the parts start making sense. I won’t go into details, but both Wash and Jimmy find themselves on a very strange and deadly planet. Wash fights his way back to Earth, but Jimmy doesn’t fight so good. What does happen to him is kind of ridiculous, but this wouldn’t be much of a story if it didn’t happen this way.
One thing I will criticize Mr. Partlow about is his use of foul language pretty much right from the start. I mean, I’m not a prude having been in the Navy and Army so I know a lot of four-letter words, but there is a time and a place for such language. Talking to an alien for the very first time and having them feeding my language into a computer translating device would not be the time to be cussing and foul-mouthed. It sounds like an idiot speaking English or some version of it. So, there’s a lot of bad language in this book, but I just think most of it is unnecessary. When writing about Army guys doing Army stuff, yeah, OK, but not when your a civilian talking to each other. Most people just don’t cuss in normal conversations, right?
This appears to be the start of a new series. Book 2, “Gate of Hope” is now available on Amazon and I’m putting it on my reading list.