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“Ice & Monsters”


Ice & Monsters

Ok, this was kind of a frustrating book in that nothing really gets explained even at the end. It is somewhat exciting, but these Force Recon Marines are something akin to super-soldiers if they could put up with all the stuff in this book.

We start off with our Force Recon platoon heading for a beach landing somewhere off the Norwegian coast. This is strictly a training mission, but the platoon is going in tactical just like it was for real. Only something happens been the time the Zodiacs were launched and they reached the beach. That something was an unexpected attack by something coming from the water. These weren’t fish, but something that resembled a human only with razor sharp teeth and arms ending in claws. To make matters worse, the attacked occurred in very heavy fog. The four boats had been going in a silently as possible and didn’t expect the fog.

Things got real bad in a hurry. Whatever these things attacking the boats were, they were vicious and the Marines weren’t exactly prepared. Oh, they had their weapons and other gear, but most was stowed or just unloaded. Fortunately, our main character, Staff Sergeant Conor McCall, could reach his bowie knife and that’s what he used to start slashing at his attacker. It seemed that everyone in the boat McCall was steering was attacked at about the same moment, but most were equipped to repeal those attacks with their knives, except for one. Sgt. Stanley, who was very new to the Force Recon Marine unit. McCall could only guess that he was pulled off the boat and there wasn’t much that could be done in this dark and fog.

So, the only thing to do was drive forward hoping that they could reach the beach somewhere ahead and then regroup to figure out what was going on. Gunnery Sergeant Taylor’s boat had made it to shore as well as the Captain’s boat. Captain Sorenson was in charge of the platoon although he was very inexperienced compared to the rest of the Marines. He also didn’t know what the hell had happened out in the water and it was soon apparent that whatever was attacking them wasn’t stopping just because they reached the beach.

By now, the platoon had unencumbered their weapons and loaded magazines were slammed home. What had begun as a training mission now had become very deadly. It also appeared that the platoon wasn’t anywhere near where they were supposed to be. While the Norwegian coast wasn’t exactly going to be warm, the platoon found itself knee-deep in snow! They were slowing slogging away from the beach into the trees hoping to put something between them and these sea creatures coming out of the water in large numbers.

So, this is how the story starts. You’ll never find out where you are exactly, nor do you find out when you are, but you are definitely not in a world you will recognized. There are things that happen in this book that just don’t nor should happen anywhere or at any time. You have about seven days of rations and every one has a full combat load of ammo, mostly 5.56mm which you find out later isn’t going to be the best for punching holes in the things you meet. Still, that’s where you’re at so you work it out and solve the problem. By this time, the platoon realizes that their new mission is just to survive. Then the Captain starts becoming a problem!

The story was very interesting, but I don’t see how these guys managed to stay alive considering the things they have to fight. Yeah, some will get killed, but they seem to be fighting constantly with little to no rest or sleep. Sure makes for a good story, but seems a little extreme. I also was pretty frustrated by not ever finding out where or when this was taking place. Even at the end of the book, there’s no explanation. I guess that could come in book 2, but I’m not sure I want to continue reading the series. It just didn’t leave me with much hope and there doesn’t seem to be an end point to what the Force Recon Marines must do to get back home.

Well, I’ll be! There are already 5 books in this series. Book 2, “Shadows & Crows” is available on Amazon as are books 3 & 4. Book 5 appears to be available on 1 Oct 2022. I guess I’ll put book 2 on my reading list.

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