“Sea of Crises” – by Marty Steere

Cover ImageThree brothers are trapped in a conspiracy when the tragic death of their father in the last Apollo mission on the moon is suddenly called into question. Will they survive to uncover the truth?

Sea of Crises is a mystery thriller involving the surviving sons of an astronaut thought to be killed during a moon mission that had caused a sensation when the last recorded words were:  “That shouldn’t be here”. When one of the sons discovers a clue that the capsule recovered from the sea was not from the same Apollo mission, all three brothers become targets for the machinations of an unknown organisation and a deadly race to the truth begins.

This novel lives up to the mystery thriller label. The action was relentless, the mystery that’s finally revealed was worthwhile and absolutely delicious to this reader. Assassins, secret operatives, government agencies, astronauts; this book was a whirlwind of excitement. Without giving too much away, there were even action sequences on the moon. I’m not joking – ON THE MOON! I don’t know if the sequences were realistic, but I didn’t care. They were gripping while not losing the surreal moonscape atmosphere.

There were several characters explored during the novel, but the main character was the oldest of the three brothers, a top flight legal consultant with a knack for data analysis. It’s through him that we meet his two younger brothers – also elite but in different fields. The relationships were interesting and there were a few skeletons in the closet that were revealed during the course of the story. In particular the two younger brothers had been separated from each other for many years, so being thrown together in this crisis provided some additional interest. One of the aspects of these tensions that I appreciated was that the author didn’t overplay them. This was a crisis and lives were at risk. There was limited time for navel gazing and much was kept ‘off screen’. I can get a little annoyed when pages are lost exploring an issue that the characters would not realistically have had the time or inclination to pursue.

However, although I enjoyed the handling of the three brothers by the author, I need to add the comment that their elite positions in their chosen professions put quite a bit of pressure on my suspension of disbelief. It felt like I was taking a journey with an action hero, a mastermind and a Pulitzer winning journalist – which in fact, I was. This was a little hard to swallow for me and it did take off a little of the shine. Additionally, I found some of the mistakes made by the ‘bad guys’ in relation to the brothers unrealistic in the extreme – fundamental mistakes that I couldn’t credit.

Other characters join the brothers along the way including other children of the presumed deceased astronauts of the Apollo mission. They each had a contribution to the ongoing story including … a love interest. This story didn’t need a budding relationship to remain interesting, but on the other hand, the author didn’t overplay this aspect of the story, for which I was grateful. In parallel, I also learned more about the ‘baddies’ and their place in the conspiracy. This was pretty much as anyone would expect for this type of story, but it didn’t disappoint. They were ruthless, intelligent and always on the trail to tie up the loose ends.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really appreciate the ending as much as I would have liked. I felt like the author had two distinct directions to take with the final stages of this story and in my opinion, he took the less interesting option. There’s no way I could write any more without ruining key aspects of the story, but I’ll leave it that I was pretty disappointed with the outcome. Luckily, in many ways I could view it as a tacked-on ending. There was a reasonable amount of prior closure which I found relatively satisfying.

Gripes aside, I really enjoyed Sea of Crises. The prose was clean, the pacing – fantastic. The action is seemingly disrupted by a large section of back-story, but this becomes a fascinating and exciting interlude that adds rather than subtracts. I’ve put myself on the waiting list for the next release from this author.

Rating: 4/5

Price at the time of review: $2.99 US

Available: Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Author site: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5825152.Marty_Steere
GoodReads page: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13623054-sea-of-crises

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