2015; 246 pages. Book 2 (out of 4) of the Kip Keene series. New Author? : Yes. Genre : Action-Adventure; Thriller. Overall Rating : 7*/10.
Run, Rabbit, run! You may be a lean, mean, fighting machine, but you’re also nothing but a laboratory rat in Commander Owens’ “Project Atlantis” lab experiment, and if you stay there, you’re days are numbered.
If you can find Kip Keene, you stand a very slim chance of eluding the long and intrusive grasp of Commander Owens. Then again, you may just die anyway. Because you’re not the only enhanced creature in the laboratory, Rabbit, and the others are more powerful than even you.
Like the Hawk. And the Fox.
What’s To Like...
The Ruby Rattlesnake is an Indiana Jones type of action-thriller. Things start fast and furious right away, the pacing is crisp, and we get to tag along with Kip Keene and Strike as they try to figure out what the heck the Ruby Rattlesnake is. The settings are neat, especially Barcelona (with the way-kewl Sagrada Familia getting a mention), where most of the second half of the book takes place. And of course, there’s Atlantis to explore as well.
There’s not a lot of characters to keep track of, which can either be a plus or a minus. Ditto for the UE (Ultimate Evil) which changes a couple times in the book. I think that’s quite rare for this type of story, but it seemed to work here, despite making the tension level bob and weave a bit.
Everything builds to a satisfying climax, and like any Indiana Jones tale, a bit of the paranormal creeps in, which helps keeps things interesting. This is a standalone novel, despite being part of a series. No cheap-shot cliffhanger crap here.
There is some “adult language” which I found unnecessary, since I presume the target audience here is teenage boys. The writing is so-so, it didn’t draw me in; but the storytelling is quite good. Stephen King gets criticized for this same thing.
There are a lot of references back to Book 1 in this series, which I haven’t read. More on this in a bit.
Kewlest New Word…
Wiftiness (n.) : a somewhat made-up word, but “wifty” is real and is a synonym for the adjective “ditzy”, so this word means “ditziness”.
“Point is, this girl would break every person in that class, man or woman, in half. No problem.”
“She’s not even awake.”
Wouldn’t be a fight,” Strike said.
“That must be hard.”
“What must be hard?”
“Admitting someone else is better.”
“It keeps you alive when you know who you shouldn’t fuck with.” (loc. 313)
“So,” she said. “The artifact retrieval thing didn’t work out so good, eh?”
“But we saved the world. Again.”
“There is that.” (loc. 2396)
The Ruby Rattlesnake sells for $5.99 at Amazon. Book 1, The Emerald Elephant, is free, but you can pick up the boxed set of Books 1-3 for only $0.99, so that is by far your best bang for the buck Nicholas Erik has 10 or so other books, all in the $3.99-$5.99 range.
“You smell like a marijuana farm got in a fight with a Mountain Dew factory.” (loc. 644)
It’s a funny thing about this e-book. Book 1, The Emerald Elephant, is often available for free, and that is what it appeared I had downloaded. And the e-book has the TEE book cover, as well as calling it that in the header.
But the text itself is The Ruby Rattlesnake, and this confused the heck out of me for about 10 pages. I’m not complaining; I still got a free book to read. It just wasn’t the first book in the series. For all I know, Nicholas Erik may have fixed this glitch by now.
To sum up, this was an okay read, with lots of thrills and spills and no slow spots. The writing could be stronger and the characters could be a bit more complex. I never did figure out the need to cast Kip Keene as a space pirate, but perhaps that had more relevance in the first book.
7 Stars. Add ½ Star if your download was indeed the book you were expecting.