Title: Oops, Caught
Author: Alli Reshi
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Page Count: 58
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Mark Noland can’t figure out how he got into such a fix. How does an ex-mercenary (okay, an almost-reformed mercenary) get himself caught, stuck in a holding cell, on a hostile alien planet? Held captive by strange bug-like creatures who’d just as soon eat him as look at him. How can a simple mission go so awry? To make matters worse, Noland’s not alone. His fellow prisoner, a certain high-ranking, elite Stella officer holds him responsible for their failed plan. Yeah, it was supposed to be a quick in and quick out sort of mission. But no… Officer Gavnson just can’t let it go.
It’s not so easy trying to plan an escape when Noland keeps getting distracted by how his mission partner so very nicely fills out his uniform. And he suspects Gavnson is hiding something, too. As tensions run high, secrets are revealed that will change the both of them. There’s nothing like gunfights and running for your life to make that special bond.
This was a delightful and fun space romp, that really, had no actual romping.
Premise of the book is Noland and Gavnson find themselves behind bars after a covert option goes bad. Noland is a mercenary; Everien Gavnson is an officer in the Stella Corp. The two share a rocky history, but Noland is determined that no man will be left behind to get eaten by the bugs, and that includes the prickly officer. But what Gavnson eventually reveals startles even the Mercenary.
This was so much fun! I’m usually not a fan of first person, but I enjoyed the cadence and watching events unfold from Mark’s point of view. I enjoyed how this did NOT end up being a damsel in distress situation – both men were on equal terms, they have a past/shared history, and both danced around the elephant in the room: the mutual attraction.
The strength in this book was in the simplicity – one alien species, two main characters, one off-screen character. What could have been a short story bogged down with talking about emotions, was spent on the move and once the situation warranted, then we got to the root of the matter. Noland’s and Gavnson’s heart to heart was well executed – it was brought into the story at just the right time, it exposed the men’s vulnerabilities, feelings for each other, and where they hoped to take the relationship.
And that was my one tiny point of contention with the book – the “I want to have a relationship with you” talk was a tich long and drawn out. People don’t communicate like that in real life – we wish we did – but we don’t, and when that shows up in stories it always feels off.
I’m really on the fence about the length of this book – on one hand, I want MORE! On the other hand, this was really a very well executed short story and more could have been detraction.
Ultimately, this is something I would read again – dynamic characters, interesting world building, and a solid plot.
I would also like to add a shout-out for the cover artist – love it! I’m such a geek when it comes to cool space pics…