Issue in Doubt, by David Sherman

Issue in Doubt, by David Sherman book coverGenre: Military SF
Publisher:  Dark Quest
Published: 2013
Reviewer Rating: three stars
Reviewer:  David L. Felts

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In humanity’s expansion out of the solar systems and into the galaxy, we have discovered evidence of eighteen other sentient species. Seventeen of these species had not developed interstellar travel and all that’s left of them is the remnants of their civilizations.

The eighteenth? We find out who they are when they attack the human colony on the Semi-Autonomous World Troy. The colony manages to get off a few drones to report the attack back to Earth, and Earth, in response, sends a Marine Force Recon platoon to investigate. The MFR fares almost as badly as the colony, being wiped out almost to the man.

Seems as though the Earth has a interstellar war on its hands, and Troy is the beach head.

The North American Union quickly assembles the largest force seen since the wars of the 20th Century. A Marine Corps Combat Force is sent to “kick in the door,” backed up by a four-division Army corps to take the planet back. The landing is unopposed and it isn’t until the fleet carrying the Army corps is approaching that the enemy strikes.

As I was reading, I kept looking for a main character to attaching my line to, to drag me through the story. I didn’t find one, and that’s where it feel short for me.

Issue in Doubt reads more like a documentary than a story. Characters are introduced at a breakneck pace, so fast I gave up trying to keep track of them. None of them were important. They were all Marines, or Grunts, or Navy, or Corporal or Sergeant, or Captain, or LT… you get the idea. They never, for me, became people, and as a result, while I enjoyed it, it didn’t invest me.

If you’re a fan of military driven science fiction, you’ve found a home. Sherman knows his stuff when it comes to the ins and outs of military relationships, from structure, to rituals to how military members speak to each other, to the down-and-dirty and more informal way the military does stuff when it Needs To Get Stuff Done.

If that’s your cuppa, you’re in for a treat.

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