Sanders – It all came down to Sanders – My Book Review

MARS ADRIFT
THE HALO TRILOGY, BOOK 3

by
KATHLEEN McFALL + CLARK HAYS
Categories: Science Fiction / Detective ( Hard-Boiled) / Mystery
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Date of Publication: February 14, 2022
Number of Pages: 300 pages
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An interplanetary mystery and a searing critique of the contemporary billionaire quest for Mars. The year is (still) 2188 and Crucial Larsen is officially done with Mars. But just as he’s set to head back to his beloved Earth, meteors crash into the orbital platforms, ravage the luxury domes and knock Halo—the powerful AI running Mars and Earth—offline. And this is no random cosmic event. An invading force has the technology to redirect space rocks at will and intends to level the Five Families.

Their first act? Put a bounty on missing Staff Scientist Melinda Hopwire, Crucial’s ex-lover—the only person left alive who can find the back-up servers to introduce the AI empathy hack, the endgame of the beleaguered Resistance. Crucial has to claw his way across the deadly Choke armed with nothing more than a glue gun, expired maple rum and Sanders, a malfunctioning cybanism, to find Mel and her synthetic perma-kitten Wisp. If he fails, it’s the end for both planets.

“A compelling saga, edgy and different…the personal, political, and social issues create a Mars story that is thoroughly absorbing. Other books have attempted to blend the genres of an investigative detective piece with sci-fi, but few achieve such a seamless integration.” – Midwest Book Review

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Book Review Main
The Halo Trilogy

Sanders – It All Came Down to Sanders

My Book Review

“Crucial was a friend. One who, despite his copious shortcomings and an almost pathological from of apathy, always tried to do his best for those he cared about, even though that list was very short.”

I have enthusiastically awaited Mars Adrift, the third book in The Halo Trilogy by authors Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays. Oh, my it did not disappoint.

This relentless action final book is perfection until the end. I must say it is one of the quickest rides in a book I have experienced in a long time where you do not know when you are going to catch your breath.

The Halo Trilogy is a story of two planets, Earth and Mars roughly 160 plus years in the future. Each planet has its own political, social, and economic forces that have shaped them.

McFall’s and Hay’s writing are ingenious and their imaginations with this story are unrivaled. Take the planet of Mars which is over 193 million miles from earth. Way in the future it is colonized because our Earth has literally almost become inhabitable. This trilogy has always revolved Crucial, his love life or lack of love life, and a cybanism named Sanders.  What is so exceptional about a third book is seeing the evolution and growth of the characters. And then having the story come back to two people coming together in the end.

What I did not see coming was the cybanism, Sanders, and the cat Wisp. This was story detective magic.

“-lichen can be thought of as the earliest wave in the fight to create soil.”

“Saved by the bison. Not something I ever thought I’d say.”

This is a recognition to the authors from my biologist background regarding these two quotes above. Yes, yes on the lichen and I appreciate you calling bison by bison and not buffalo!

Mars Adrift is exceedingly enthralling on many levels from the sci-fi technology of nanites, to bioengineered animals, to the cybanism to just trying to survive. As with the other two books, I became immersed in the perils of the characters because this time they were fighting to live and save Mars and Earth.

Maybe love does make us better versions of ourselves. As a reader, you can see that growth between the pages of this book.

I’ll restate this again – good sci-fi makes you explore what it means to be human, makes you question your unknown assumptions about this universe, and leaves you with compelling questions. Mostly good sci-fi is entertaining about either darker or more promising futures. Even better sci-fi makes you long for the story to continue long after you have turned the last page. The ending to this story is essentially perfection. I even shed a couple of tears.

If you are a sci-fi lover, then please give The Halo Trilogy series a chance. The writing is fresh and the story is distinctive. I highly recommend it.

This is my 140th book review for Lone Star Literary Life.

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

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GIVEAWAY! 
One winner gets
autographed copies of
all three books in The Halo Trilogy.
(US only. Ends 2/21/22).

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