Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: THE OPERATIVE, by Gerald Brandt

Gerald Brandt
Daw Books
Science Fiction

I discovered Gerald Brandt by pure accident. I'd won a copy of THECOURIER on Goodreads. The cover was what caught my eye, initially. Once I started reading, however, I knew this would be an author I'd keep tabs on. Having just finished reading THE OPERATIVE, Book 2 in the San Angeles Series, I mean literally just finished reading it, I wanted to dive right in and write my review.

THE OPERATIVE takes place about a year after THE COURIER. Kris Merrill has joined ACE, and is in Canada for boot camp. That's how the book opens. Kris in boot camp. And then, everything goes completely crazy, just absolutely nuts.

Jeremy Adams, of the Meridian company, cannot forgive Kris for ruining his plans a year ago. She has not just crippled everything he's dedicated his life toward accomplishing, she'd demolished his every dream. All he has left is his hate, and desperate need for revenge. He will stop at nothing until he has Kris in his hands.

When the ACE boot camp training center is attacked, the few survivors are flown by transport to Santa Barbara. The transport is attacked, and legendary ACE agent Ian Miller is captured. Miller is Kris' lover. Her best friend. The reason she joined ACE in the first place. And she was helpless to stop the abduction, she was unable to keep him safe from the assailants.

Bryson Searls is the son of "Doc" Searls, and the founder of the Quantum Jump Drive. His invention of transporting things from here to there will revolutionize the world. Despite serious bugs discovered after the first test on humans, Kadokawa (one of the 3 major corporations), insists on moving forward. Taking all of his research data, and wiping clean any remnants on Kadokawa systems, Bryson makes a break for it. In doing so, he put his life in jeopardy. Kadokawa doesn't just want his information, so do SoCal, and IBC (the other 2 major corporations). And they will stop at nothing to obtain the sensitive data, including going to war with each other.

The insurgents have suspected something was wrong with ACE since its inception. While the company was started to hinder the overall control and power of the Big 3, things have changed. Kai, a restaurant owner is part of the movement, and lifelong friends with Kris. A war has been started. The poor are revolting. The crashed transport shuttle left an opening in the wall. Teams move into place to systematically bring down the upper class levels. Together, and with the help of some other trusted allies, they may also be the only chance Ian Mill has to survive the kidnapping.

In this taut three-hundred-page novel, so much is happening. The action does not let up. Brandt writes in a way that keeps the tale clear, and easy to follow. He gives readers an even deeper, indepth look into who Kris is, but more than that, we get detailed lines into the lives of the other supporting characters in the novel. Quick, and violent, engaging, and intense, I loved THE OPERATIVE as much as I loved THE COURIER, and have developed an even deeper appreciation for author Gerald Brandt.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series, and

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