War Machine by Andy Remic, Solaris Books, 2007.
This is the high octane summer blockbuster action movie version of sci-fi. Aliens, Total Recall, Commando, and Predator all rolled up into one well-paced package. The novel follows Keenan and his Combat-K squad on a quest to recover an item that may lead him to discover the individual that killed his family. The quest is only a backdrop for an exploration of the bonds between the members of the Combat-K squad, the politics and other forces that are moving them, and the mysterious history of the Combat-K Universe. The novel is full of unique characters, from the dry witted security bot Cam to the bat-shit crazy Franco (think Murdoch from the A-Team but violent and slightly more delusional), and big action set pieces that keep what is familiar ground remain interesting.
I can’t say I was a big fan of the ending but the entirety of War Machine, from its breakneck action to surprising plot twists certainly made it an enjoyable read. I still prefer the more epic scale of Space Opera but this novel does the down and dirty damned fine.
C+, recommended but not required…see your local library.