356 pages. 2-page Acknowledgements.
The Prologue begins with three horrific incidents of insanity and violence. I almost put the book down.
Then we meet the protagonist. I'd give him a name, but at this stage he doesn't remember his name. He doesn't remember anything from over an hour ago. He's stepped into a bar, where a bully is provoking a fight with a geekish man with a laptop. He knows he must stand up for what's good, and he somehow knows he can handle this situation… to a point, that is, which is why he shortly finds himself in a mental institution, where he acquires a new name: Crazy.
This is one of those fun science-fiction novels where the protagonist has to solve a mystery about himself while simultaneously saving the world, and I won't ruin it by telling you much more. Well, OK. There are aliens. Weird mythology. And other dimensions. And Special Forces. Kind of a kaiju feeling. And lots of fighting.
The key in this type of book is to keep the surprises coming, and the author does a terrific job of revealing more as the novel progresses. Some of the plot is perhaps too convoluted, but what the heck, it's a good story.
Crazy is a fascinating character, with his lack of fear causing all kinds of trouble – not just tactically, but in his social life as well. (Having no fear of embarrassing himself is a problem, and he tends to act on his impulses…)
As it turns out, the Prologue is not gratuitous – you'll eventually see how it fits into the plot. The author is graphic in his depiction of violence, so if snapping bones are a problem for you, skip this book.
A nice point in this book's favor is that much of the plot involves a man's love of his family – how often do you see that?
Can you wargame this? The aliens are unique concepts and would be difficult to find models for. Much of the combat involves switching between dimensions, which would be an interesting challenge to wargame. The human forces have unique kit, but it's basically made of a black material, so any well-armed figures in body armor would do fine.
Quite a page-turner, and I loved it. I've never read anything by this author before, but I will be sure to check out his many other books now. (There is potential for sequels here, but I have not heard of any.)
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .