77 Shadow Street ★★★☆½

77shadowstreet (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: 77 Shadow Street
Series: ———-
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Pages: 722
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

The Pendleton. Built back in the late 1800’s, it was the biggest mansion of its kind to date. Throughout the years, strange things have happened to those who lived there. Murders, kidnappings, disappearances, suicides, mental breakdowns. Now the Pendleton has been turned into a bunch of luxury condos. Now the residents are starting to see some really weird things. Now one old man who has done his research knows he must get everybody out of the building if any of them want to survive the next 24hrs.

A disparate group are brought together and through the mystery of Scyenze, are swept into the future to a world that is post-human. Post-anything in fact, except for The One. The One rules All, The One Knows All, The One IS All. Among the group is revealed the creator of The One and The One sows the seeds for its own birth, thus making sure of its own survival and the destruction of humanity.

The One hower, is NO match for 2 kids, an ex-Marine, a Honky-tonk song writer, a brilliant novelist, a blind man, 2 old ladies and their cats, a Scyenzist who swears he WON’T create The One and some others. Oh yeah, and one insane murdering hitman. The group survives and puts paid to the Scyenzist and some shadowy figure kills the other Scyenzist who could do the same.

The World is Safe. For Now.

 

My Thoughts:

Despite the tone of my Synopsis, I rather enjoyed this. I called this a Horror/Thriller because while it had elements of Horror, they weren’t supernatural. However, when creatures shove black goop down your throat and turn you into more of them, what else do you call that? It sure isn’t slapstick comedy.

Having read the Frankenstein novels and the Odd Thomas series, I can see so many ideas that Koontz uses over and over. I think that would/will be a problem if I read a bunch of Koontz back to back or even with just a month of each other. I think with the spacing I have though it should be ok.

The Good Guys Win. That knocked my rating up a half star easily. It is refreshing. Obviously not everybody makes it and there is a big enough group that no particular outcome is telegraphed in terms of survival so I never felt like any particular character was safe (except for the 2 kids, especially the autistic girl). That bit of tension is nice and made the story have a bit of “snap” to it.

I have no desire to ever re-read this book but that is pretty much how I’ve felt about all of Koontz’s books. With the amount he’s turned out though, that really isn’t a problem. A solid fun read that was just scary enough for me but not really scary (which is how I like my scary books).

★★★☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

Rites of Azathoth ★★☆☆½

rites of azathoth (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Rites of Azathoth
Series: ———-
Author: Frank Cavallo
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Horror
Pages: 420
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Diana Mancuso, FBI agent, is carrying on an affair with her boss, one of the Assistant-Directors of the FBI. She is assigned to a high profile murder case of a potential vice-presidential candidate. The profile indicates a man who up until 24hrs ago, was 1000 miles away in a maximum security prison. He has mysteriously disappeared. It turns out that the VP candidate has ties to all the previous victims, who were ritualistically murdered.

Doctor Carter, former protege of Gamaliel a discredited historian who dwelt on Elder gods as the true history of mankind, has been invited to join a mysterious group headed by a reclusive billionaire. Carter has been recruited to translate an elder language that he was taught by Gamaliel.

The ritualistic murderer is acting as supernatural conduit for Azathoth, who the billionaire is attempting to awaken. Said awakening will grant all knowledge to those involved but might destroy all of creation as well. Luther Vayne is acting on Azathoth’s will to prevent this awakening.

Everything comes together, a gateway is opened by Carter, Mancuso and Vayne prevent Azathoth from awakening, the occultic group is destroyed and Carter is taken into the realm of Chaos and he thinks how wonderful it all is.

 

My Thoughts:

I feel like I am being rather generous in giving this 2 ½ stars. Mancuso was a very unpleasant character. She’s just a jerk to everyone, even her so-called friend. This friend covers for her, breaks the law for her, lies to FBI agents for her and said friend tosses it off as “Oh well, that’s what friends do”. And Mancuso takes it as her due instead of as the huge thing it is. Then comes her affair with her boss. He’s married and trying to fix his marriage AND keep Mancuso on the side. She’s pissed off that she’s the side woman and is always put out that he won’t toss his rich, beautiful, young wife for her. She’s the very definition of an angry bitch. It was NOT amusing or enjoyable.

Carter was an arrogant ass who was divorced and failing at pretty much everything, including being a dad. He stays arrogant, assuming and overbearing during the whole book and his little “Oh, how wonderful the other side is” comment at the end was completely out of character and had NO place in a horror story about eldrich horrors beyond mortal ken.

The horror side of things worked pretty well. Demon children adopted by a cabal of women, hunted down by a supernatural blind killer, a half demon billionaire who sacrifices the blood of virgins to his own mother, it was fantastic. It was what you’d expect from an HP Lovecraft themed story. So the whole thing about Azathoth using Vayne to prevent the end of everything didn’t fit. Elder gods don’t care. And Carter saying how beautiful the chaos of the other realm was? That was complete bollux. The other realm drives men mad, period.

So unlikeable characters and an ending that didn’t fit with the theme made for a rather bleh read. There was also a lot of profanity.

★★☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

The Dead Town (Frankenstein #5) ★★☆☆☆

thedeadtown (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Dead Town
Series: Frankenstein #5
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 447
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Everything begins falling apart for Victor Immaculate. His vat grown creations once again transcend their genetic coding and that transcendance is always in the form of breaking. Builders take on non-biological matter and can’t reproduce properly, the replacement clones begin to obsess and lose sight of their mission.

Through it all, Michael and Carson begin helping the townsfolk defend themselves while Deucalion hunts Victor down. Deucalion snaps Victor’s neck, the creations fall apart upon their creator’s death and Deucalion can now walk quantumly through the Light instead of skulking through the Shadows.

 

My Thoughts:

Even while I was expecting this story to turn out like this, it was still disappointing to have it actually happen. This followed the exact same pattern as the first trilogy but without any finesse or style. Evil simply falls apart and the good guys win by default.

Also, I already wrote this review, forgot to post it online, forgot I hadn’t posted it and deleted the hard copy from Open Office. So I’m writing this all over again. That always ruins things.

Basically, I didn’t enjoy this book or this series overall. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am going to continue dipping my toes into the Koontz universe. I’ve got 20 of his books available so I’m going to go exploring and see what I find. I hope I find better things than this book.

If anyone has read some of his standalone stuff, feel free to make recommendations in the comments, otherwise I’m just going to start picking stuff randomly.

★★☆☆☆

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

♪Bookstooge ♪ Confessional♪

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Step right up, Ladies and Gentlemen! For ONE DAY ONLY!!!

Bookstooge, that international man of mystery, that scallywag that made a fool of Poirot, that debonair playboy who taught Bruce Wayne everything he knows, that world travelling thrill junky, the artist who taught Moby the art of Music, the man who ACTUALLY painted the Mona Lisa, YES, THAT BOOKSTOOGE!!!! is here today.

johnny_english_reborn_rowan
Bookstooge, Uncoweled for the First Time in History!

 

No subject is OFF LIMITS. Bookstooge will reveal the secret that started him on his path of skullduggery, the whirlwhind romances he experienced, the near death experiences, the thrilling adventures, the moment when he saw the errors of his ways and became A FORCE FOR GOOD!

So step right up, gentle beings of the galaxy and for a pittance, a mere pittance, be entertained, be astounded, BE AMAZED at what you will see and hear.

 

cortina-teatro

 

It all started that fateful night. I was born! Much against my wishes I am told and as the years have rolled on, I concur. Oh, the pain within and without that could have been avoided if only my parents had died in that car accident. Christened Marstal Thrasble Youngylis the Fourth (and no, my father was Jedibiah Smahck, there were no previous Marstal Thrasble Youngylis’s), I came into this cruel hard world with a name to make grown men weep and beautiful women shudder in horror.

When my parents didn’t die (in car accidents or otherwise) and I realized I would never be adopted and thus have my name changed, something inside of me broke. The rage grew, the inner torment began manifesting as physical flames and I began to invest in DuPont’s Nomex fireproof line of gear. (By the way, that stuff REALLY works. I’ve made a bundle off of my investment. )

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[invest now, pro-tip!]

But whenever I would grow close to a beautiful woman, they were always driven away by the flames of my passion. I burned too hot, too bright, too fast for them. I was destined to be alone, forever. Until that fateful day that I met Miss Librarian Girl. She saw my flames and instead of running away screaming, in horror and despair like so many before, she just threw a bucket of water on me. Surprisingly, once I got over the shock of such an occurrence, I realized that I no longer burned uncontrollably. Thus was born, BOOKSTOOGE! Defender of himself, One Man Reviewing Machine, Spewer of Outlandish Tales and the kindly soul you all have come to love and adore.

bookstooge
The Crowd Goes Wild!!!!!

 

Since I am in such a good mood today, I have decided to let you ask me questions. That I will answer (ha, I bet you thought I wasn’t going to include that part). So if you have ever wondered anything, or actually nothing but you want to make silly crap up, now is your time. I’ll put up your questions in a separate post next week and answer as best I can. Be warned though, I am Bookstooge, contrarian extraordinaire.

The only caveat is that I will answer NO questions, and I mean absolutely ZERO, on the subject of porkchops. I am simply not at a place in my life where I can deal with such questions. Thank you for understanding.

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bookstooge (Custom)

Lost Souls (Frankenstein #4) ★★★☆☆

lostsouls (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Lost Souls
Series: Frankenstein #4
Author: Dean Koontz
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 402
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Victor is alive. Or at least, his replacement clone is. But Victor 2.0 isn’t quite the same as Victor Helios. Victor Immaculate, as he calls himself, doesn’t want to replace humanity now, he wants to destroy it. If he can do that, he’ll have negated Scripture, thus making him more powerful than God.

With an array of new replicants and a new type of human called Builders, Victor sets forth his plan to begin exterminating humanity in a small town in Montana. With key officials replaced, the Builders can begin feeding on the towns people and begin the cycle of death and destruction.

Michael and Carson, now private eyes with a baby girl named Scout, realize that they have more to lose than ever. Scout means more to them than their own lives. When Deucalion comes calling telling them he has a hunch that Victor is alive, they don’t want to believe him. Then Erica Five, who has been living in a small Montanna town, calls Carson and tells her she has seen Victor. Now Michael and Carson have no choice. If they want there to be a world for Scout to grow up in, they must go out and do battle once again.

We also follow various townspeople from Rainbow Falls as things begin to go downhill. A vagrant and a special needs man, both in jail but for opposite reasons, survive the first wave of Builders’ feeding and must work together to stay alive. An old man and a young boy, both in the hospital, must depend on each other to escape the hospital, which has become a major center for the Builders. Two X-Files style FBI Agents are also in town chasing down rumors that The Money Man, a shadowy figure, will be in town and they mean to nab him.

Everything is set in motion for a climactic battle for the survival of Rainbow Falls and the world itself. Then the book abruptly ends. Like a meat cleaver right down the middle of a carcass of a cow.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this novel much more than the previous one and it was all set to be a 3 ½ star book. Then came the artificial ending. It was obvious that this book and the next, titled Deadtown, are really one story but due to length was cut in half. However, that cutting was done with all the finesse of a drunk butcher, who was blindfolded and who was told that one of the slabs of beef hanging in his freezer was really a pinata and to have at it. No resolution of any kind, no story arc completed, just full stop. That is bad story telling and it pissed me off. So I knocked that coveted ½ star off. I sure taught Koontz a lesson with that!

Besides that grievance, I did like this. I didn’t give it much detail in the synopsis but we really spend more time in the town of Rainbow Falls with various townspeople than we do with either Michael and Carson or Deucalion. That worked well as the Koontz definitely goes into “horror” territory more than in some of the previous Frankenstein books. How the Builders consume people is something else. There was one instance of where a church group was locked into a building and when some Builders were let loose and the replicants were watching, almost every single adult in the group pulled out a gun. The replicants were all killed and some ex-soldiers led the group out. It was great. God, guns and guts (ie, courage, not literally guts. With this book, there might be some confusion, hence this awkward, longwinded and rather unnecessary explanation)

The X-Files guys, (one of whom is named Dagget for goodness sake!!!!), play almost no part beyond being introduced and giving the reader a tiny bit of info.I suspect they’ll play a bigger part in the final book with how everything gets cleaned up.

Given how quickly the storyline for Victor Helios was wrapped up in the previous trilogy, I suspect the next book (which is also the final book in this series) is going to follow the same pattern. Koontz definitely has a paint by numbers plan for this series. A special needs child, the badguys beginning to fall apart on their own (evil consuming itself), etc, etc. It’s not a bad formula, just a bit obvious.

I chose not to read the final book immediately, due to my reading setup, but for anyone else, I’d recommend they read the first trilogy all in one go and then this duology in one go. I suspect it might make the overall narrative less choppy feeling if each story arc is read as one big book.

★★★☆☆

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

Curse of the Wendigo (The Monstrumologist #2) ☆☆☆☆½ DNF’d@64%

curseofthewendigo (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Curse of the Wendigo
Series: The Monstrumologist #2
Author: Rick Yancey
Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 464/DNF’d at 64%
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

Will Henry and his master rescue a friend of the Monstrumologist’s at the man’s wife’s behest. Upon their return, they attend the annual Monstrumologist meeting in New York. The man is not better and the wife is an ex-fiance of the Monstrumologist.

I abandoned this at the 64% mark.

 

My Thoughts:

Warthrop the monstrumologist had a fiance who then married his best friend. The woman reveals that she is still in love with Warthrop and they commit adultery while the best friend lays dying in a hospital. Ouch, right?

Then there is this wonderful piece of narration about it from Will Henry:

‘Some would judge them. I do not.

If it was a sin, it was sanctified-

the trespass consecrated by the act itself.

He met himself in the purity of her eyes

and obtained absolution upon her altar.’

~Page 215

 

All I could think of was the verse from Isaiah:

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil,

who put darkness for light and light for darkness,

who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Isaiah 5:20

What kind of messed up thinking is Yancey putting into his book? I want NO part of something so abhorrent. I DNF’d this book and I’m abandoning the series and I’m now going to avoid Yancey.

☆☆☆☆½

bookstooge

 

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1) ★★★★☆

monstrumologist (Custom)

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, Librarything & Tumblr by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: The Monstrumologist
Series: The Monstrumologist #1
Author: Rick Yancey
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Horror
Pages: 452
Format: Digital Edition

 

Synopsis:

12 year old Will Henry has been taken in by Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, as both his parents died in a fire and Will’s father worked for Dr. Warthrop. This is his story, recorded from a series of journals written much later.

Dr. Warthrop is a monstrumologist and he makes it his life to study monsters. When a graverobber brings the corpse of a headless monster to Dr. Warthrop, events from the past begin to catch up with the present. Dr. Warthrop’s father was also a monstrumologist and it turns out he was trying to domesticate the anthropophagi and brought some to America. Now they have bred and attacked and killed a family in New Jerusalem.

Dr. Warthrop brings in a professional monster hunter, Dr. Kearns and they, along with Will Henry and some former soldiers from the town of New Jerusalem must seek out and kill the nest of anthropophagi. Led by a cunning matriarch, the anthropophagi won’t succumb easily. It doesn’t help that Kearns appears to be an immoral killer who lives for the thrill of it. Who will live and who will die? Nobody important to the continuation of the series dies, if that’s any comfort.

More importantly, are these journals true or is the old man claiming to be Will Henry just a nutcase who died alone and ungrieved?

 

My Thoughts:

Lovecraftian through and through. While not cosmic horror, it is horror meant to be beyond that of mortal ken. It is also written to mimic someone writing from the 1880’s’ish, so if you don’t like Dickens, you might have some issues with the style and pacing.

Horrific, brutal and harsh. Mentally, emotionally, physically.

Will Henry might be 12 years old, but this book is in no ways meant for a 12 year old. Blood, brain matter and gore. Warthrop is the worst sort of person, forgetting his own humanity and never recognizing it in others. He is the quintessential Mad Scientist and I hated him. Will is going to grow up with scars so deep that he’ll probably end up dying while doing his duties. Much like his father, who probably died due to Warthrop’s hidden experimentation.

It was really hard to read this book and enjoy it. Will is abused by Warthrop mentally and emotionally and pushed beyond his physical limits, not because Warthrop is out to hurt him,but because Warthrop is obsessed. This was a true Horror genre book to me.

It was well written and since I enjoy Lovecraft AND Dickens, the style didn’t bother me one bit. In some ways it reminded me of a version of Frankenstein, but with all the gore and violence noted. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it just seemed very Frankenstein’ish to me.

I’ll continue the series on but I’ll be taking note of the tone of the series and adjust myself accordingly.

★★★★☆ 

bookstooge

 

The Store DNF@25% w/ Extreme Prejudice

06857bcfecd93be3a7f57510477dfd94 This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: The Store

Series: —–

Author: Bentley Little

Rating: 0.5 of 5 Stars

Genre: Horror

Pages: 436

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The Store is coming to smallville, Arizona. Bad things have happened at other Store’s across the country. Bad things have happened during the construction of the Store. Very Bad Things happen during the interview and initiation process to work at the Store.

And that is where I had to stop.

 

My Thoughts:

This book typifies Horror for me and why I don’t read it as a genre. I don’t have anything to say about the writing, or the story as a whole or anything else.

The 3 following happenings made me feel sick to my stomach and forced me to stop.

1) A sleazy young man is being interviewed to work at the Store. He’s taken to the video surveillance room and is shown the women’s dressing room, where he proceeds to watch the sister of the girl he’s sleeping with, try on new jeans. The manager tells him that sometimes the women aren’t wearing panties.

2) The aforementioned young woman applies to the Store. During her interview she is told that she’ll have to take a polygraph test, with only the manager in the room. He tells her to take her blouse and bra off so he can affix the electrodes to her body. She does. And the manager leers at her the whole time. Then she has to give a urine sample. In the office, in front of the manager. She does.

3) The young woman is hired. She comes early on her first shift and is taken down to the basement. She is told to strip down to her bra and panties and forced to run a gauntlet between other employees [most of whom she knows] who inflict physical and verbal damage on her. At the end, they all say they love her and she responds in kind.

Now, I don’t care if those instances are presented as wrong and bad, which they were. I don’t want to read about the degradation, humiliation, torture and complete helplessness of a young woman. I don’t want to invite the evil of that manager into my thoughts, and hence, into my house. That type of thing is sick and to use it for entertainment is sick as well.

 

Caliban’s War (Expanse #2)

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This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes. blogspot.wordpress.com by  Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: Caliban’s War

Series: Expanse

Author: James Corey

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Genre: SFF

Pages: 583

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis:

The protomolecule is transforming Venus at a ferocious rate. So much so that everyone, Earth, Mars and Belters, are extremely worried about it.

At the same time someone has figured out how to weaponize the original piece of proto-crap into controllable super soldiers. All they need is children with completely compromised immune systems. But of course, things don’t quite go as planned and everything begins to spiral out of control.

Now it is up to the crew of the Firefly, errr, Rocinante, a U.N. official, a Ganymedian soybean scientist and a Martian Marine to stop the badguys, save the kids and give humanity a chance to collect its breath before Venus takes everyone out.

 

My Thoughts:

Hot diggity! I am enjoying this series like it is a huge bowl of vanilla bean icecream. It just hits the spot. Thankfully this time around Holden isn’t as much a dew’y eyed idealist and I liked this kick ass version of him better, even if he and his Belter lady didn’t.

The number of viewpoints increased and I was worried that it would make things confusing or unstable. Never happened. Having the extra viewpoints of the soybean scientist, UN official and martian marine simply expanded the scope of the story.  I also felt like “Corey” summed up politics really, really well. A game to those who play.

By the end of the book Venus has become it’s own player in the story and we see its opening moves. But of war, exploration or a game, we don’t know. I am really looking forward to the next book when it comes through my reading rotation in about 2 months.

On the tv side of things, I figure I’ll read “ahead” to the 3rd book before starting the tv series. I like the books enough that I’m actually hesitant to watch the tv show as it’ll put limits of my imagining of the characters and everything. Once I watch the tv show, I’ll be picturing those characters as I read the rest of the books. Sometimes that can be good but sometimes it can be pretty bad.

This Green Hell (Alex Hunter #3)

8ce96bdc8d1486cac86f0aedc601ef13This review is written with a GPL 3.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at Bookstooge.booklikes.blogspot. wordpress.com & Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road Facebook Group by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission.

Title: This Green Hell

Series: Alex Hunter

Author: Greig Beck

Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

Genre: Action/Adventure

Pages: 308

Format: Kindle digital edition

 

Synopsis: Spoilers

An inimical alien lifeform has come to Earth, 400 years ago. Now it waits to be set free and to take over.

Aimee is still on the search for the perfect fuel. She thinks she might have found it in a new natural gas reserve that has old microbrial thingamajigs that do “Science”. So of course it is the inimical Life Form and Green Berets are wiped out so Alex Hunter and Crew are sent in. The Life Form has grown, using a human host, into what is pretty much a vampire and more than a match for Alex.

A CDC scientist tags along because everyone thinks the Lifeform is just a new disease. And she has a nuke, just in case.

 

My Thoughts:

I had to downgrade this half a star from the previous book because there were several instances of things not being logical and simply not making sense. I can’t remember what those instances were, but they made an impression.

Aimee’s inclusion into the story wasn’t something that I particularly enjoyed either. And then at the end to have her think that Hunter was killed by the virus was just wrong. The Israeli Special Forces lady who ends up taking charge of Hunter’s frozen body is not nice and I’m not sure what her future in these stories are. I hope it is a small role.

Ton of fighting and stuff, which redeems most of the issues I had.