13 January 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Rock - Robert Doherty

The RockThe Rock by Bob Mayer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a standalone novel by Robert Doherty (pen-name for Bob Mayer), an author that you have seen me write about a few times before. This is the first standalone of his that I've read, all of the others have been series or linked novels like his excellent Area 51 series and the Jim Vaughn books (Section 8 & The Citadel).

The Rock employs this author's standard modus operandi of tight military action, historical intrigue and speculative science fiction. I don't know of another author who pulls off this genre so well. Actually, I can't even name another author who writes anything like this. If you do then please let me know because I really love it.

A team of people with various professions are summoned to Ayers Rock in Australia to help determine the cause of mysterious radio transmissions emanating from within the rock. On top of this, there are two nuclear bombs from a rogue former Soviet state loose somewhere on the planet - one of which is detonated in South Africa. Also, the Voyager space probe suddenly goes missing. All of this combines into a plot that takes a few turns along the way.

As is usually the case, Doherty's main character is a heroic military man who carries his own demons with him throughout the story. This is okay, beacause I think Doherty does this very well - no doubt due to his own military special forces background. The other characters are an interesting mix of people who all play significant roles in the story.

The book is well-written and fast-moving. Both are traits that I've come to expect from this author. However, I didn't like how quickly the story came to an end. It seemed that at one point we were rocketing along with the story with all of the action and gunfire, etc., and then the book is winding up. It's like Doherty was in a hurry to finish before exceeding his word count, or his editor wasn't at their best that day. Either way, it's only a minor niggle.

Overall the book is fantastic and what I sort of expected when I picked it up (or, in my case, downloaded it from Amazon). I haven't read anything from this author that I haven't liked, to be honest.

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