Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A million years, ago a galactic empire fell. That ancient empire is a source of many things. Wonder, knowledge, academic careers, and treasure. Treasure is what Beau Johnson seeks, tracking down artifacts for high-paying clients. Once a top student at the specialist institute for the study of the ancient empire, Beau rejected respectable archaeology and academia in favor of adventure.
Unlike his one-time rival Park Ki-tae, a brilliant student who became an enforcement agent tasked with keeping Imperial artifacts out of private collections. Beau thinks Ki-tae needs to loosen up, have more fun, and stop making it his life’s work to send Beau to jail. Ki-tae thinks Beau is a rogue and a criminal, and that it was a big mistake to sleep with him that one time…
When a client sends Beau after a legendary artifact that allows communication with the dead, Ki-tae pursues, sure that this time he’ll nail Beau. But circumstances force them to work together and deal with the feelings for each other they’ve both long denied. They have very different plans for the artifact they’re seeking–if it’s not a myth. Will they ever agree on their plans, or on anything else at all?
Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black sort of slides along that line between like and love. There’s quite a lot that’s almost on the love side. From the plot line to many of the characters but the total package and yes, execution just keeps it shy of the mark.
I love science fiction and here you have a group of treasure hunters after a mythological artifact and an galactic enforcement agent with a fierce resolve to ensure that artifact, if found, isn’t sold to the highest bidder as well as a certain hunter goes to jail. Sound familiar? And yes, they have a past together. Black takes it further making them competitors/advisories since college where Beau Johnson always came out on top. A nice twist that works to explain Ki-tae’s obsession with Johnson and his crew.
Black’s characters were a mixture. While I thought Park Ki-tae, the enforcement agent, was strong, that of Beau Johnson had some major flaws, especially of someone of his renown. Supposedly the best at what he does, he was sloppy, under informed, ill-prepared etc. In other words, just not believable. And that took away much of the ability to connect to the storyline. One or three of his crew were really nice characters, with enough quirks to stand on their own but for a band of superb outlaws at the top of the game? Never in a million years.
Other elements saved the story. The places visited along the hunt for the artifact had rings of what might pass as authenticity in the future. Most of the hard, narrative lifting here is done by Park, with Beau and crew chiming in. But it was the most interesting part of this story and the one I connected with. King, their boss, and his android wife, were a nifty aspect of the tale.
The romance between Beau and Park again seem undermined by the fact that Beau came off as less substantial, less believable than Park. He’s supposed to be this huge deal yet falls so far short in the story that you wonder why Park is pursuing him.
There’s a HFN ending, which makes you wonder if the author intends this to be the first in a series. There’s still so many loose plots threads dangling around t make a reader feel a bit unsatisfied even if the original hunt has come to an end.
If you are a lover of science fiction and want a quick read, you might want to investigate the hunt for a galactic artifact in Bring Me the Dead by Becky Black.
Cover art by April Martinez is on point with the characters and storyline.
Published October 31st 2017 by Loose Id
Original TitleBring Me the Dead