Review written for JoyfullyJay (4/14/12) and copy of book obtained for that purpose.
Rating: 3 stars (but only because I haven’t laughed this hard in ages)
Lark Zaccaro and his partner Derek Carlson are agents for the Intergalactic Investigations Bureau. While on assignment on a alien planet, their cover is blown and Derek Carlson is caught. Zaccaro flees the planet leaving his partner to be imprisoned and tortured for months. Upon rescuing Derek, the Bureau informs him that his partner was the one who betrayed them all and left Derek to die.
Lark Zaccaro is deep under cover as the warden on a corrupt prison planet with no way out until a small spacecraft crash lands near the prison site. When the guards drag the pilot before him, Lark is stunned to see that the pilot is none other than the man he thought he would never see again, Derek Carlson. Derek has his own mission to accomplish, spring a young man from prison for his sister. As the sexual heat flares between them once more, the men must put aside recriminations and past betrayals and work together if both men wish to live to get off planet.
Where to start? Where to start? I have not run across so many ludicrously unbelievable plot points, absurd alien names and just downright silliness since watching the MST3K’s “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. I knew we were heading into Monty Python Lane when the Intergalactic Bureau they both work for is called IIB, yes, that’s right “Twobee”. Immediately I started singing “twobee, twobee two”.
Then lets take the men. Both are supposed to be hardened field agents and were partners together for years. We don’t get really any of their back story only that Derek underwent such extreme torture as mere men do not recover from while bitterly blaming his partner for leaving him. Lark now runs a corrupt prison where he’s had to do things so horrible that he has nightmares, oh and he’s sorry he left Derek on that planet. But he didn’t mean too. The Bureau betrayed them. So why is he still working for them?
Lark and Derek have loved each other secretly for years. When Lark spots Derek, he has his prison minions drag him off to Lark’s bedroom for lots of hot, angry, brutal sex (don’t get me started on a badass agent named Lark). Here comes the dubcon from the publisher’s note. And a training collar that zaps you. Always handy to have one around to use on sex slaves or have the slave use on you or whatever. There’s a leash too. It’s all very confusing. Never mind that the minions are close by and hate Lark’s guts, but let’s have lots of sex, and yelling and then the blubbering starts. OMG, that room had enough water in it to float a battleship. It’s sex, talk, cry, sex, talk, cry. Or crying and talking while having sex. And I’m thinking, aren’t you all supposed to get off the damn planet? What about your mission? You know the one no one seems to know anything about. Hello! Mission anyone?
In between pounding each other into the bed, they figure out that the Bureau had lied to them in a scene so priceless that it is a classic (“I yelled, I threw things.” cries Lark talking about his confrontation with his Bureau boss). They throw on their clothes, grab the collar and head off to proceed with the mission. Nope, wait. Let’s have more sex and talking and crying. Then you have the mission, some Flash Gordon stuff with the aircraft, and even more dialog that has me howling. “Are you okay?” ask Derek of badly injured Lark(as he regains consciousness), who Derek has also just given pain pills to. It’s just one endlessly funny bit after another. And the ending? They check into a hotel, and the misunderstandings begin. Where to take their relationship? At one point Derek tells Lark, he wants to date, and make Lark smile. *head desk* What? No lock-n-load and off to get the traitor? No, just bring out the collar and have at it. Sigh.
And don’t get me started on the alien names of Lancarina, Lithusia, or my favorite Kraxnaftons. I can’t even write those without giggling. So, as a howler this book is a 5, as straight scifi, it’s a 2.8. Read it for yourself and decide. It’s not long. Really, grab some popcorn, some friends, make a drinking game out of it. You’ll thank me. I’m off to watch some MST3K. Oh, Cambot…..
Available from Silver Publishing, Amazon, and ARe.