Scintillating Sci-Fi For My 100th Book Review

GATES OF MARS
The Halo Trilogy #1
by
CLARK HAYS AND KATHLEEN McFALL
Genre: Science Fiction / Detective (hard-boiled) 
Publisher: Pumpjack Press on Facebook
Date of Publication: June 16, 2020
Number of Pages: 336

 

Scroll down for the giveaway!

IN THE AGE OF SURVEILLANCE, HOW CAN A PERSON GO MISSING? 

The year is 2187. Crucial Larsen, a veteran of the brutal Consolidation Wars, is working as a labor cop on Earth. The planet is a toxic dump and billions of people are miserable, but so what? It’s none of his business. He’s finally living a good life, or good enough. But then Essential, his beloved kid sister, disappears on Mars. When Halo—the all-powerful artificial-intelligence overseeing Earth and Mars on behalf of the ruling Five Families—can’t (or won’t) locate his sister, Crucial races up-universe to find her. 

 
In the Choke, the frigid, airless expanse outside the luxury domes, Crucial uncovers a deadly secret from Essential’s past that threatens to shatter his apathetic existence … and both planets. Blending science fiction with the classic, hard-boiled detective story, Gates of Mars is a page-turning, futuristic thrill-ride featuring a gritty, irreverent anti-hero, Crucial Larsen. The first book of the Halo Trilogy, Gates of Mars is the eighth novel by award-winning authors, Clark Hays and Kathleen McFall.
 

PRAISE FOR GATES OF MARS:

“An indelible introduction to an interplanetary saga and its sublime characters.” Kirkus Reviews


“The authors’ imaginations again run wild, this time a science fiction/detective series looking at what our lives may hold in the not too distant future if everything that can go wrong does go wrong. And they’ve done it with their trademark undercurrent of humor that lifts an otherwise dreary future into something resembling—do I dare say?—hope. Their best work to date. And the giraffes? You’ll have to read Gates of Mars to find out. I’m already wishing they could write faster.” —Renee Struthers, East Oregonian newspaper
“With twists and turns true to some of the best noir detective pieces—but with an other-world setting and futuristic society—along with psychological insights and connections, Gates of Mars is a riveting, unexpected story, filled with intrigue and change. Sci-fi and detective story readers alike with find Gates of Mars one of a kind, worthy of avid pursuit.” —Midwest Book Review 
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“By humans, Earthers and Martians, all of us. We always end up destroying the simple and beautiful things, the things that most need our protection.”

I am a small devotee of sci-fi books because they were among the first books I ever read for pleasure.  Some of those stories were tolerable, while some awed me. and made me think. With some, I certainly did not want to continue reading a series after I closed their first book.

Enter Gates of Mars, The Halo Trilogy, Book 1  by authors, Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays.

First, with this BIG SHOUTOUT!!!

This was my 100th book to review for the Lone Star Blog Tours and Lone Star Literary Life.

Thank you!  Thank you!

Second, what a scintillating 100th book to review.

The Gate of Mars tells the story of two planets, Earth and Mars roughly 167 years in the future. They each have their own political, social, and economic forces that have shaped them. Immediately, I was drawn into the dynamics of how these worlds are portrayed through the characters.

At the core of this story is Crucial Larsen, an officer in the Law Enforcement Corps, who drives the story with his cocky attitude. As the book progresses you get to know to the ever-knowing Halo, Crucial’s sister, Essential, and a host of other characters that carry this scintillating story.

Authors Hays and McFall present readers the opportunity to explore what it means to be human by allowing them to question what they know about their universe and own planet.  In the end, the book made me question what I know about life itself.  The main theme I reflected on from the Gates of Mars is that even the most unwanted life on this planet we call home, needs our protection (except for mosquitoes). I cannot imagine a world without bison, coyotes, mountain lions, giraffes, or even trees and wildflowers.

Gates of Mars is highly engrossing on many levels. First, the sci-fi technology of nanites in this book is very realistic. Back during my grad chem classes – nanotechology was something we always discussed and were always tested on. Did you know that colloidal nanoparticles are already in products such as sunscreen, cosmetics, protective coatings, and stain-resistant clothing? Second, this book gives a glimpse through a passing window of a darker future if we continue on our current paths as a society.

The Gates of Mars allowed me to immerse myself into what the characters were fighting, what they were fighting for, and most importantly what they were fighting against – which was control by an all-knowing giant computer.  With Mars at least there is hope not only for humanity but other life as well, even if its bioengineered giraffes.

Good sci-fi makes you explore what it means to be human, makes you question your unknown assumptions about our universe, and leaves you with questions that are compelling, as well be entertained about darker futures. Gates of Mars pulled this off with precision. I myself cannot see a world without giraffes or bison. I’m looking forward to the second book.

 


Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed. Gates of Mars is their eighth co-authored book.
 

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TWO WINNERS: One Winner: First edition copy of A Very Unusual Romance 
One Winner: All four books in The Cowboy and the Vampire Collection

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