Bob Binges On…. Greg Rucka & Susan Krinard

Bob has been off experiencing the joy of literature. Now that he has pulled himself from the pages he decided to grace us once again with a few reviews.

Here are both a quick summary and reviews for Alpha by Greg Rucka and Mist by Susan Krinard.  (Please remember that Bob’s book reviews and opinions are offered freely by the bearded one himself.)

Alpha by Greg Rucka

For the visitors to Wilsonville, the largest theme park in the world, the day begins with a smile. But, by the end, they start to wonder: will they escape with their lives? Undercover Delta Force operator, Master Sergeant Jonathan “Jad” Bell has been deployed to act as Wilsonville’s lead undercover security officer. The threat begins with the announcement of a hidden dirty bomb, but quickly becomes something far, far worse.

Trained since the age of 18 to save innocent victims from impossible hostage situations, Jad scrambles to assess the threat and protect the visitors. He will come face to face with a villain whose training matches his in every way—and presents a danger Jad may not be able to stop.

Jad Bell #1
Jad Bell #1
One of the benefits of living in this modern age is that I could look up every weapon mentioned in Alpha and better imagine the action. The downside is that if the NSA looks at my browser history, they may get the wrong idea about what I’ve been doing.
Greg Rucka takes us on a journey with a mustered-out sergeant from the U.S. Army. He seems to be content with life as a civilian, just drifting along, when he gets an offer that is more of an order.
The rest of the novel follows retired sergeant Jonathan “Jad” Bell as he starts a new gig as head of park security for Wilsonville, a rival of the Disney theme parks. Jad has to figure out if a fellow operator, jargon for a special forces operative, was killed for a reason or if it was bad luck. If there was a reason Jad has to figure it out and stop it before more people die.
I have to specifically thank Mr. Rucka. I am a child of a service member. There is a scene where Jad’s daughter is expected to react and the other characters involved can’t explain what she is supposed to do, they just have to trust her instincts. This scene brought up some emotions of following my dad in the military. I never had to be put to the test, but it was something that was present in my day-to-day life.
That is more than enough about me! Mr. Rucka has created a complex character who is going to be fun to watch as he grows and copes with his past. The next novel in the series, Bravo, comes out soon. Now is a good time to jump in on this series. You won’t regret it.
Mist by Susan Krinard

Mist lives a normal life. She has a normal job, a normal boyfriend, and a normal apartment in San Francisco. She never thinks about her past if she can help it.

She survived. That’s the end of it.

But then a snowy winter descends upon San Francisco … where it never snows. And in quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Mist’s normal world is falling apart. But thankfully, Mist isn’t quite so normal herself. She’s a Valkyrie, and she’s going to need all her skill to thwart Loki’s schemes and save modern Earth from the ravages of a battle of the gods.

Midgard Series #1
Midgard Series #1
Mist is a Valkyrie. She and her sisters were sent to Midgard (Earth) with the treasures of the Aesir (Norse gods). They have been here for many years, at one point taking arms and participating in the Norse resistance in WWII.
The bulk of this story is set in the present day. Mist has settled into a routine that keeps her from thinking about the past and why Ragnarok didn’t seem to come, and yet no one has shown up to take her home or give her any new instructions.
Krinard works with the mythology like an expert cook. Keeping it to get the story just the right amount of flavor. Allowing, the action to come through without bogging down the story for a reader who isn’t familiar with the mythology.
If there were to be any complaint about the novel it would be that this is obviously the opening for a series. There is much setting of pieces in place and wheels in motion. Krinard is going to write a very good series, one in which I fully intend to get the rest of the books. There are some e-only short stories already available. I look forward to seeing Mist and the crew that she assembles thwarting Loki and his rambunctious band.


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Bob Beard