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The Sightseers Agency

The Sightseers Agency (The Dreadnought Collective Book 5)5 Stars

The Sightseers Agency picks up with Richard Pencil leaving the government position he took up at the end of the previous book. With the new world order well underway, the big three-letter agencies are breaking up, and Richard is going back to work with Joe Fraser and the man known as the Inlooker. Richard also has an impressive upgrade to his extra-sensory detective powers. He’s joined by a new remote-viewer, Miss Plum Duff, whose talents were honed by alien intervention. Fraser hires them to launch the the Sightseers Agency, reporting to him and their mysterious benefactor. Their mission is to oversee the behavior of elected officials, and another secret goal is revealed later. Seb Cage, who is now a talented computer security specialist (along with the skills he gained from the Sombrella Syndicate), joins the agency as well.

The Sightseers soon discover that the greatest threat to earth isn’t just from rogue officials and politicians, but also hostile aliens who have been planning an attack for some time. Complications arise because some of the aliens on Earth are friendly, while some are more like tourists who take on human form just to experience something different. Ms. Plum Duff comes into her own here, since she, like Seb, has a long history with regard to aliens.

Like the previous agency novel, there is an overarching plot that is played out in several different investigations. While the book is described as a series of whodunits set in the future, each case is a link in a chain that ultimately brings conflict on both a personal and global scale. I was glad to see more about the use of psychic mind-reading to ferret out lies and criminal activity, and the manipulation of auras and even the soul itself. There’s also the fascinating angle of this “new world” society, run on a democracy-on-demand system with a goal toward a true meritocracy. While some of this society’s social practices seem dystopian, others, like the use of Tesla’s wireless transmission of energy, offer a utopia of readily-available power.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed throughout the Dreadnaught series is the author’s vivid imagination. His notes at the beginning of the books give real-world tales of psychics and UFO phenomenon that act as the launch pad for his stories. His humor and wordplay are also in full force, with inventive non-cuss words, ribald comedy—especially when it comes to Richard and his Lothario tendencies—and the continued jokes about “potties,” which are ubiquitous self-driving transport pods, giving “on the throne” a whole different meaning.

Overall, this series has been fun to read. The major recurring characters are so unique, each with their own set of skills, flaws, and quirks, that it’s a delight to follow them from one adventure to another. The Sightseers Agency ties up a lot of loose ends, answers questions, and ends on a hopeful note and fans of the series will be satisfied by the ending.

Pages: 307 | ASIN: B01KBAKX1E

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Nightmare From World’s End

The Nightmare From World's End4 Stars

The Nightmare From World’s End, a science fiction thriller by Robert J. Stava, takes place in Wyvern Falls located along the Hudson River. The action begins when various people begin to go missing along the river. Members of the community are confused about the disappearances until it’s discovered that a giant squid-like creature is wreaking havoc, leaving carnage and even more questions in its wake. That’s not all to the story, however. There isn’t just one creature, there’s two!

A major player in the chaos is John Easton, a private detective, begins to unravel the history around the two creatures. Alongside him is Sarah Ramhorne, a strong-headed Native American archeologist who seems to hold some of the answers. Together they, along with others, try to unravel the story that surrounds these two mysterious creatures and put a stop to the death that has been taking place along the Hudson River.

This book is definitely a thriller that will have readers flipping through the pages wondering what will happen next. The author holds nothing back when he describes each vicious attack committed by the giant squid. Also, the tie-in with Native American culture within the book was handled well. It’s obvious that Robert J. Stava did his research on the tribes in the Hudson Valley area, and while the main purpose of his book was to thrill his readers with the tale of giant, murderous, perhaps ancient sea creatures, a secondary purpose was to provide them with a history of the area and enlighten the reader on Native American history.

Adding to this point, Native American folklore is very present and relevant within the piece. The leading lady, Sarah makes it a point to educate those that she encounters about the injustice done to the tribes within the area. The author doesn’t just place Sarah’s dialogue as disconnected rants within the piece; it all leads up to the climax the unfolds towards the end of the story. This is evident through the actions of Crazy Jack, a homeless Native American (and real folklore character), that contributes to the climax of the story by waking up the second creature that lives on the other end of the river from where the squid is attacking. Throughout the story, Crazy Jack is guided by the voices of his ancestors, telling him what must be done in order to bring an end to the death and carnage unfolding.

This book has a lot going on it in; sea creatures, Native American history and folklore, a private detective with a tragic past, ancient aliens, mind-reading, and even ghosts. You name it, and it’s probably in this book. At times, it was a bit too much, and a little disconnected for the reader. Especially, the bit on ancient aliens. It’s hard to see how Guillamo Del Tesler and his fanatical theories about the river monster being an ancient alien come into play. He’s brought to the area after Jennie Roderick, a half-witted archaeologist student, mails him some doctored petroglyphs that indicate an alien existence within the area. While this part of the plot is an entertaining aside to the major drama going on in the story, it was difficult to discern how it actually contributed to the overall plot, if at all.

Overall, the author tells a good story. The entwinement of sci-fi thriller with Native American folklore is unique and provides a sturdy foundation upon which to base the plot of the entire story. Regardless of a couple smaller story lines falling out of place within the book, it was an entertaining read.

Pages: 249 | ASIN: B01MQLLNM3

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