Mark L Van Name
Baen, Jul 2008, $24.00
Jon Moore hates being the best combatant in the galaxy as that means missions he does not want to take. The nanotechnology enhanced soldier wants to live the rest of his life in peace and quiet on his home planet accompanied by his only friend, Lobo, an artificially intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle. However, Jon knows that he and Lobo are expendable pawns always sent to the next impossible mission.
As Jon seeks a bit of R&R, he and Lobo meet his old crony con artist and petty thief Slanted Jack, who needs a slight favor. In spite of being the deadliest kick-butt person known in the galaxy, the kindhearted sucker, ignoring the sarcastic commentary of Lobo who encourages him to just say no, Jon agrees to help in what seems rather easy. He should have known that Slanted Jack set him up to take the fall from an angry arms dealing religious fundamentalist and his rabid followers, an enraged gang leader and his rabid mobsters, and a fuming high-ranking government councilor and his rabid supporters. They agree to kill Jon when Jack vanished taking a psychically gifted child and invaluable relics with him. However, in spite of the beautiful woman who insists she wants to help him and the assaults from the assorted rabid minions, Jon and Lobo agree rescuing the child is the mission.
The second Jon and Lobo space thriller (see ONE JUMP AHEAD) is an entertaining futuristic crime caper as everyone converges initially on Jack who pulls a sleight of the hand with his disappearing act that leaves Jon and Lobo holding a dead rabbit. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as each step that Jon takes to expedite himself from the growing mess complicates his escape as more enemies surface. Although none of the cast except the heroic lead duo goes beyond comic book status, readers will enjoy the escapades in space of Jon and Lobo who will keep saying I told you so as the hero knows he didn’t know Jack.