Rating:

4 Small Stars
Dusk to Dust

This was an advance review copy (ARC). It came out as, “Beneath Crimson Sky: (Dust to Dust)”

A very enjoyable and rather lengthy book. This one had a good long story to it with a lot of twists and turns many of which didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, but the author did a good job of telling the story. We’re on a planet called Prospect. It’s a dirt ball in a out of the way star system. The planet is unique in that its rotation matched its rotation around its sun which caused one side to always face the sun and the other side to be dark and cold. But, there was this small strip between the two sides that seemed like perfect paradise. Prospect was rich in mineral deposits that sat close to the surface of the planet. So, civilization flocked to reap the planets riches until they dried up. And that’s what the planet was doing as David Carpenter and Alana Ramirez were headed towards it in a cargo freighter. Why they were going there was not really something they were happy about.

David and Alana were ex-military. In fact, they were ex-Marines, but once a Marine, always a Marine, right? But, the Marine Corps no longer existed, It had been disbanded two years ago and all of a sudden, Platoon Sergeant Carpenter and Sergeant Ramirez, were out of a job. They needed work and had to settle for what was available. David had gone on to get his pilots license and had even bought his own ship, the Katana. But, times were rough and they had few jobs, mostly hauling freight, which didn’t always pay that well. Now they were going to a new job and a new employer. This one seemed like a dream setup in that their new employer was providing the ship and the cargo, all they had to do was fly it to wherever it was supposed to go. Of course, David and Alana weren’t stupid and knew that some of their cargo wasn’t exactly legal all the time. Yet, they asked no questions and so far had stay away from the law.

On Prospect, the law was the United Nations Peacekeeper force, at least around the Skylift and Skylift Station. That was the only way to get onto Prospect, but once beyond Skylift Station, the Peacekeeper reach thinned and you were under the control of whatever Corporation ran the current city you happened to be in. Both David and Alana were now working for WindCorp if they could get to the corporate HQ. It shouldn’t have been a problem if not for one Staff Sergeant Nic Letsego, Peacekeeper Intelligence. While nothing immediately illegal could be pinned on either David or Alana, the Peacekeeper Staff Sergeant just knew he was dealing with two smugglers looking to work their next job. It would be an excellent career enhancement if he could tie these two with the mighty Windcorp.

Now is when all the fun starts. The two ex-Marines and the Peacekeeper Staff Sergeant commence running all over the planet Prospect, one trying to ditch the other without getting killed in the meantime. The story is fast and exciting and has a lot of unexpected developments. David and Alana find themselves in several no-win situations, but manage to get back on track to get to Windcorp HQ. What they had to do to keep Staff Sergeant Letsego and his team from grabbing them is kind of surprising, but it sure made Letsego mad enough to follow them until he finally gets them in his grasp. Or does he?

Very entertaining. It’s too bad that this seems to be a single book without a possible continuation. Things are tied up nicely, well, rather completely at the end, but I for one didn’t quite like how it ended. Now you’ll just have to read the book and find out what I’m talking about.