Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Review: THE COURIER, by Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt
Science Fiction / Cyberpunk

Call me shallow, but I often judge a book by the cover. Well. Not the book, but if the cover doesn't catch my eye, I may not pick it up and see what the story is about. THE COURIER has that grab-me-kind-of-cover. And, when I picked it up to read the synopsis, I was hooked.

Set in the future, it seems the world is past apocalyptic times, and has found a way to function, and thrive, and is right back to its old ways. Apparently, even in the distant future it is the corporations that run everything. Forget about factions. After the world is scorched by nuclear weapons, the city is divided into levels. Actual levels. Think one giant, underground parking garage. The farther down you go, the poorer you must be.

Orphaned, independent, and driven, sixteen-year-old Kris Ballard, has been on most of the Levels. She's a bike courier, making ends meet (barely) delivering packages from point A to point B. At the end of a shift, and despite a nagging feeling, Ballard accepts a last minute delivery. After picking up the parcel at one end of the city, she has to travel across town for the drop off.

Problem is, when she reaches point B, someone is inside the corporate building knifing her contact. Despite hightailing it out of the building, the killer saw her, and those behind the murder have the resources to trace her every move.

With the package still in her possession, Ballard is on the run. It seems like anywhere she seeks solace, she is immediately found. The different corporations want her for different reasons. There is no one she can trust . . . until she is forced to finally put her trust into someone. Ian Miller.

Miller works for A.C.E. and he is a lot like Ballard. A.C.E. is kind of like Greenpeace. They have a role in the future - stopping corporations from taking advantage of the innocent. Only now it is less about the package, and more about staying alive. Can Miller, Ballard, and A.C.E. survive attacks coming at them from every angle, and at every turn? Or is the gig finally up . . .

I loved Brandt's writing. Crisp. Clean. The action was non-stop. The world-building was epic. So much has been set up. There can be a fleet of Courier novels (and I hope there is) in Brandt's creation. As a reader you immediately bond with Kris Ballard, you care about her. She is a tough lead, a likable heroine. I will be keeping tabs on Brandt. He is clearly a writer worth following!

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series, and
The Vaccination Trilogy

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