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Jack Brand, by John M. Whalen
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Pill Hill Press
Published: 2010
Review Posted: 8/6/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Jack Brand, by John M. Whalen

Book Review by Michael D. Griffiths

Have you read this book?

Jack Brand by John M. Whalen is an action packed book set in the distant future where space travel has been achieved and living on another planet has become a reality. The entire novel takes place on the planet Tulon. Jack was formerly from Earth and also used to be a member of Tulon's law enforcement agency. Tulon itself is suffering from an economic depression that will only be getting worse as the oil, which was their primary source of income, is no longer needed because a new invention on earth that has made fossil fuels obsolete.

Brand is a tough, rough and tumble guy. Over time, he has become a no-nonsense hero, whether he really wanted to be or not. And, more often than he'd like, his reputation precedes him in many of the small towns that dot Tulon. For the most part, lasers have become more popular than bullets, and he is quite fond of his Berreta and doesn't hesitate to use it in this world that resembles the Wild West more than Star Wars.

The book itself is laid out in a series of short stories that progress through time toward a powerful climax. Throughout all of these tales is Jack ever-present need to find his kidnapped sister, a subject that is never far from his mind. Her loss weighs heavy on his soul and in many ways is responsible for his dry self sacrificing nature. Jack is the type of guy that tries to take care of everyone--except himself.

This book is a wild ride, but if I had to point out any issues, it could be that they stories are actually too stand alone in some respects. This is fine if they were spread over different magazines, but when placed together within a book the reader is required to reiterate certain threads, like the missing sister and the failure of the fossil fuels to support the planet's income. Still this is only a paragraph here and there and not enough to tarnish one's enjoyment of this fine book. I might have also enjoyed seeing more characters used in multiple stories. His true love appeared in more than one and I found that made her second appearance more powerful.

Jack Brand is a powerful series of stories. I enjoyed each one and would read a sequel if it ever came out. Most lovers of science fiction would enjoy this gritty low tech tale. No dueling space ships here, this is more about honor between the good, the bad, and the ugly on the dying planet of Tulon. I got into this book enough that I got a little choked up at the end, but like I was told by the author, you'll have to find out what happens for yourself.
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