Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Book: The Big Dash by Robert Hanley

I was given an ARC of The Big Dash via Eggplant Literary Productions, in exchange for my review.

Jax is the Director of Security on a spacecraft with only a handful of passengers when a call from law enforcement reveals that there is stolen information on the ship that could spark another war on board. To further complicate things, one of the crew members is found to have been shot, and Jax has a race against time to solve the crime before they dock and law enforcement takes over.

Link to Goodreads
Link to Eggplant
I enjoyed this book far more than I thought I would, I would describe it as a mystery story which happens to have a sci-fi setting over anything else, and the mystery really drew me in. It is only novella length, so not that long, but I found that for a short book it had a lot of detail in all aspects, the characters and setting were both full formed, probably helped by the fact that there was a limited amount of both, and the plot flowed and came to a satisfying conclusion.

There were several moments where I found myself laughing out loud to this book, including the parts where the second person narrator was used (for anyone who isn't aware this is when the narrator of the book talks directly to the reader) for the comments on betting about what Jax was going to do next. The other stand out moment was when I 'geeked out' over the line;
"My mind was racing at a parsec a minute."
Most people probably don't even appreciate the play on words and think that a parsec is a measurement of time, whereas it is actually a measurement of distance! (Who said doing GCSE Astronomy was a waste of time!)

I found that the diverse range of characters, and species of the characters, was really well thought out, there is always a risk that different species can fall flat if not described properly, but this certainly wasn't the case here! Each character was their own person and the banter and relationships between them worked really well. In my opinion the particularly well captured relationships involved the banter between Jax and Moody, and Jax and Ms. Femfa, it added a lightness to the book that was very enjoyable.

There were two 'twists' to the story, the first would be of the 'who done it' style, and I am pleased to say that I successfully deduced who the culprit was, I was however very surprised at who the accomplice was, I thought that the reveal there was good. And the other twist I worked out fairly early on (and even wrote in my review notes what I thought it was!), but again it was handled well, and I can see that not everyone would guess!

Even if you're not a particular fan of the science fiction genre I'd recommend this book! It isn't heavy going, its engaging, well written and full of stand out moments! Add to that that it is a quick read, and what reason isn't there to pick it up?