I’m going to do what I hate doing, write a negative review on a book that the author labored to create. I dislike writing stinky reviews even more than reading the book that spawned the dislike.
Deadly Cargo (Jake Mudd Adventures Book 1) features small-time cargo ship owner, Jake Mudd, and his adventures trying to deliver a million-credit package. Of course the delivery goes wrong, he meets a girl, he saves the planet and he escapes just ahead of a deadly enemy. Good authors can make Space ship owners who live on the fringe or the underside of society into enjoyable stories and I hoped to get that with the Jake Mudd book.
The author, Hal Archer, writes such a good newsletter that I bumped Jake up to the top of my overflowing to-read pile. The novel is also fairly well written, in the sense of good use of language, good sentence structure. What I didn’t care for in the story were a few too many plot holes, an overall ridiculous plot, and a dearth of characterization.
One plot hole is that Jake needs the million credit chip the villain has, but shoves the villain into a pot of bio goop. I doubt it would have taken more than a few seconds to pull the now-dead villain out and retrieve the chip, but Jake doesn’t. He knows an old enemy is coming for him, thus his ostensible reason to skedaddle but I don’t buy it. Not for someone as desperate for cash as he.
Another hole in the plot and setting is that Archer repeatedly tells us the landscape is barren, as in no vegetation. None. Plus the daily storms are strong enough to wipe out almost any plants if there were some. Yet the planet has large predators. (This is the same puzzle as with the ice planet of Hoth that just so happened to have large animals.)
The book has some good points. There is no swearing or foul language and no sex scene. It is a fast read. The relationship between Jake and his AI star ship, Sarah, seems interesting and likely explored more in sequels.
Reviewers on Amazon liked the book more than I, with average 4 stars, most complimenting the plot and fast, entertaining readability. I didn’t like it very much at all and am rating it 2 stars since I managed to finish but didn’t enjoy and do not intend to read any sequels.
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