Book Review – A Shadow in the Flames by Michael G Munz
This is a book review of A Shadow in the Flames by Michael G Munz. I met Michael on Twitter and he kindly sent me a copy of his debut novel to read and review. The book was originally published in 2007 and revised in 2013.
This is a science fiction novel and it is well written bar a small number of errors (nothing major, just some extraneous words on the odd occasion). The story takes place on Earth, and the Moon, in at least the year 2051 (there is reference to this year in the opening passages, and later we know that an agency called the ESA created the first lunar base on 2035). The main action takes place in an area called Northgate, with gangs of roving bandits (called gangers) taking advantage of the unwary.
The main character, Michael Flynn, starts life as a kind of sidekick to another character, Diomedes, who is a cybernetically enhanced freelancer. He is like a gun for hire. They are hired to track down a vigilante known only as The Wraith, who is suspected of arson. The plan is to kill The Wraith in return for money.
Along the way to finding their target, or mark, they take on a couple of other characters to assist them. Felix Hiatt is another cybernetic who is also a freelancer of sorts. He is a gatherer/seller of information and possesses a unique ability of a photographic memory. In turn, he befriends a reporter called Brian who is used to help gather information from his own sources.
They do eventually come face to face with their mark. As to what happens, you will have to read it for yourself, but it was unexpected.
There is a side story in play with a discovery on the Moon, and although it is given a few chapters we never really get very far into that part of the story. It seems to come to the fore more in book two which I haven’t read but have seen a preview of. It was a little bit of a shame, as I really enjoyed those chapters. Maybe it’s a clever ploy by the author to make you want to read the next book 😉
Overall I enjoyed the story. There were a couple of moments when I questioned why the character Felix was being so open about information and the purpose of their mission with what were for all intents and purposes complete strangers (he tells Brian an awful lot, and also a later character called Caitlin), especially as in his line of work I imagine he would be well versed in knowing how to get information from people without having to divulge exactly what he himself is up to, but that may just be me. I’ve spent too long playing sneaky characters in RPG’s to trust anyone with the truth 😉
As I mentioned above, I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the lunar discovery (something is found on the Moon and it was extremely interesting). I shall have to read book two to find out more.
Michael employs excellent descriptions and it is easy to visualize this world and the characters. I am glad I had the opportunity to both read and review it, and I would recommend this to any sci-fi fan. My score reflects the fact that I wanted more of the lunar discovery and my questions over Felix and his loose tongue (and don’t forget, I NEVER give a 5 star). Buy it anyway, as this is a minor thing and just personal to me. Buy it, I tell you. Now.
SCORE: A respectable 3 out of 5 (easily a 3.5)