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Red Dust and Bones by Timothy Masters

This giant self-published novel intimated me a little for diving into a self-published novel with over 550 pages can be a dangerous affair. In this cause, I need not have worried. Red Dust and Bones is a fantastic ride and for me a quick read. I ripped through this longer book with my weekday, waiting to pick up the kids at school, readings. It was so good I wanted to take it in from my car book, but only did so for the last fifty pages, because hey, I was already reading two books inside the house.

Genre:  Science Fiction  

Publisher: Self Published

Released:  2015

Stars:  4 Stars

Reviewer: Michael D. Griffiths

The novel focused on a very successful married couple. John is the best spacecraft pilot in the United States and Marie is at the top of her field in Biology. In the future something goes wrong on the ten-billion-dollar base set up on Mars. After losing contact, John is asked to fly a rescue mission up to Mars to see what might have happened. Meanwhile Marie is placed in charge of investigating the strange crystals which were brought back from the red planet.

At once things start to go wrong for John. What is usually a well-coordinated crew is instead hastily assembled and full of intrigue, espionage, and betrayal. Marie has similar experiences on Earth when she discovers herself mixed up in an international plot to unlock the secrets of the crystals, secrets people are killing for.

The book is well written and tight. Good cast of characters and it has a large one. Tension builds for both characters as they must confront danger after danger and try to unravel the mystery of who is willing to do anything to get the data on these off-world crystals which John discovers have killed most of the people on Mars. Soon John wonders if the same thing will happen to his wife. He needs to warn her but will have to make it off Mars alive first.

Drawbacks with this one for me centered around how I was really getting into what was happening on Mars and then suddenly dealing with the more mundane story of Marie laying low while the various factions hunted her. It was good, but I was so worked up with what was happening on Mars that switching gears to a spy versus spy, cooled my heels. I understand how the order worked for the book arc, but perhaps the writer could have built up to a different climax instead of having the real climax over with still a quarter of the book left.

If you like mixing science fiction with mystery and having a strong whodunit thrown in than I think you will love this novel. Great job and probably one of the top three self-published books I have ever read.

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Grab my Cyberpunk novel here. Dak has been hired to chase down the Skinjumper clones, he biggest problem, he’s dating one.



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