Tuesday, September 13, 2016

PRODIGAL by Jody Wallace #ARC #Series #SciFi #5starreview #fantasy #paranormal




PRODIGAL

Series Name: Maelstrom Chronicles #3

Author: Jody Wallace

Release Date: September 5, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction Romance


He nearly destroyed the world, but with her help, he can save it.


Adam Alsing—at least that’s what they tell him his name is—has no idea who he is or why he’s huddled naked in the snow next to a mysterious silver pod. When a gorgeous, no-nonsense sheriff by the name of Claire Lawson rescues him, she explains the planet’s under attack—and he’s been missing for over two years. The problem is, what he doesn’t remember can kill them.

Keeping the peace in her post-apocalyptic town is all the trouble Sheriff Claire Lawson can handle. Until the MIA Chosen One—the guy who could have prevented the apocalypse—interrupts her supply run. The Shipborn aliens want to study him, and what’s left of the Terran government wants to lock him up. But his charming demeanor and his desire to help, along with his sexy smile, has Claire fighting her better judgment to keep Adam around. For now.


My Review

How do you like your science fiction?  Hard, smart and sassy or over way too much, way too soon?  Good answer!  The first one of course and Jody Wallace’s Prodigal delivers that and more.  All of that plus a touch of romance, well, Ms. Wallace had me hooked before Chapter three.         

I read book three and usually I subscribe to the “readers get most from the story if they read them in the order intended” theory.  However, due to a lack of time in my crazy life I could only read the book that Ms. Wallace needed reviewed and I was most pleasantly surprised at how much care she took to bring me up to date in the story thus far.  Kudos Jody!   If you get the chance though, the first two books in the series are Angeli (Book #1) and Traitor (Book #2).

So the story, get to the story.  Okay, hold your horses.  So the Hottie, Adam Ansling had been tapped to be ‘The Chosen One’ by the Angeli – I thought with that name, Angels.  Sheesh.  Try aliens disguised as angels (see, they were angels, sort of ) bent on saving Earth from complete and total annihilation at the hands of some inter-dimensional monstrosities i.e. The Bad Guys.  Well, Adam reappeared about two years after he supposedly died. Neat trick, huh? However he failed to close the Nexus had catastrophic consequences and now all humanity ( aka Terrans ) are facing extinction as those creepy alien entities from a different dimension (remember, guys with black hats) devour all in their path.  (Oh No!) So how did Adam survive being sucked into a black hole and more importantly what is different about him now? Well he sure has no answers, no memory and no…. whoops family viewing.  Sorry.  However Adam does hope he can learn to live again*.  As for the rest of the story, hehehe, I’ll just leave that up to your wicked little imaginations until they drive you mad and you realize you HAVE TO READ THE BOOK!!!

This is such a wonderfully fast paced, action packed science fiction romance with well-fleshed out characters.  It also has an intricate, well woven plot with plenty of twists and turns on the way. We talked about about the Good Guys, the Bad Guys and Adam the Hottie but there is one very important character still missing – Claire.  Kick-ass heroines empower me and Claire is that and more. She’s smart and strong, but under a little crust, there’s still a loving, caring person—especially when it comes to those she loves.  Remember the little *asterisk in the previous paragraph?  This is that life Adam would like to have. ;)  Remembering that he doesn’t know much about himself and the past, he does know is that being with Claire soothes him and he is not about to lose that if at all possible.  Again I was cheering them on and totally bought into their relationship but You, YOU HAVE TO READ THE BOOK!!

Even if you like your SciFi pure and without entanglements, I cannot imagine not liking Prodigal.  I warn you though, once you start, you won’t want to stop or put the book down.  Just plan ahead, have your beverage and snack of choice and settle in for a really great read and let the train roll on over you.

Many thanks to the author and Entangled Publishing for gifting me an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

***** 5 Stunning Stars*****




Excerpt

Claire flipped down the visor of the Humvee when the late afternoon sun nearly blinded her, reflecting off the white of the latest snowfall. She and two other loads of able bodies out of Camp Chanute were returning from a hardware- and tech-foraging mission to the mostly deserted city of Bloomington, Illinois. The long, straight roads, free of debris and stalled cars, didn’t lend themselves to ambushes—humans or monsters. Detritus littered the highways to the north, thicker as the roads approached Chicago.
She didn’t make foraging trips toward Chicago if it could be helped.
But the visor didn’t cancel out the glare. She blinked and squinted. Her eyesight had been enhanced by her Shipborn associates, enough to ascertain the flash of light wasn’t reflecting off the snow. For that kind of glint, it had to be a metallic object.
An object that hadn’t been there when they’d driven this road this morning. She knew this highway well, and that huge field had dead corn in it. Nothing else.
“Slow down,” she told the driver. “You see that?”
Will shook his head. “I just see snow. Snow and old, dead corn. Maybe it’s one of the Children of the Corn.”
“Shut up.” Not visible to the human eye, then. Claire flicked on the radio to talk to the supply truck. Dixie had the best binoculars. “Dix, what do you make on the right side of the road? Far midfield.”
Static crackled through the speaker before Dixie’s response. “I don’t see any…wait. Huh. There’s a big silver thingamabob, but sugar, I don’t know what it is. Weather blimp or something? Could be Shipborn.”
“That doesn’t make sense. Will, get us closer.”
Will stepped on the accelerator, increasing speed until the object came into focus—sleek and silver, possibly some kind of vessel. No landing marks around it, but no snow built up on it, either. Didn’t look like Ship 1001 or its shuttles, which tended to be roughly triangular. More like a giant pill, so brightly silver it was almost white. Hard to see against the patchy snow. Was that a window? A door?
The sun emerged from behind a cloud and sparkled on the metal again, obscuring the details.
“I’m going to check it out. Hold position,” she advised Dixie before directing Will off road.
When the Humvee thumped through the corn stubble that rose above the snow, she pressed a hand against the ceiling to keep from bouncing into it. A gentle rise ahead took them out of sight of the object.
“Be careful,” Dixie chided over the radio. “Last time you went to check something out, that group of survivalist dregs from Chicago ambushed you.”
Soul-sucking black shades and vicious flying red daemons, the most common varieties of the interdimensional entities currently attempting to destroy their planet, weren’t the only dangers on post-apocalypse Earth. The Shipborn had helped quell the worst of the human-against-human atrocities, but their code wouldn’t allow them to lord over the planet the way Claire sometimes wished she could.
Her fellow Terrans could be a bunch of fucking idiots when they half tried. The planet was in shambles after the entity invasion that had begun in California over two years ago, making it increasingly impossible for the natives to police the masses and maintain any semblance of justice. That was why she and her team had set up a civilian settlement in Illinois instead of seeking the dubious safety of the Eastern states in the so-called safe zone.
Claire shoved her coat sleeve off the blaster band around her wrist and opened the window. “Come on, Dix. Bygones. Respect the badge.”
“Sure, Sheriff.” She could practically see the other woman’s dimples. “But I’m still telling Tracy and Mayor Newcome on you for not calling this in first.”
“If I reported it,” Claire answered reasonably, “I’d just browbeat everyone into agreeing that I should check out…whatever it is. This saves time.”
Both men in the Humvee with her chuckled. Claire might run Camp Chanute with military precision, but she didn’t insist on mealy-mouthed respect from her people.
She sure as hell didn’t give any mealy-mouthed respect to anybody, so it would be hypocritical of her to demand it. She was a stubborn asshole according to her sister, and a foul-mouthed sourpuss according to Dixie, but she wasn’t hypocritical.
They crested the rise almost on top of the silver object. About forty feet long, and narrow, with rounded ends. Couldn’t tell heads or tails on it. This close she didn’t see any doors or windows. The whole thing looked like a single piece of metal—no joints.
“What the hell is it?” Will said. “Some kind of rocket?”
“I don’t know.” Tactanium, the non-Terran metal favored by the Shipborn, was pale silver like this thing, but not as glossy. The surface of the object was practically mirrored, and the bullet shape was completely unfamiliar. “Shit. Guess I need to check it out with a sensor array.”
“You should have worn it in the first place.”
“I hate the way it feels.”
“I’ll wear it,” he offered. “I like talking to Ship.”
“Nah, I got this.” The creepy little piece of advanced tech gave Ship 1001, the nosy sentient AI spacecraft that the Shipborn called home, access to her brain, and that didn’t always mesh with her plans.
Will brought the Humvee to a stop a decent distance from the object. Claire and her deputies—really, most Terrans in general—relied on native tech for communications, transportation, and daily activities. Though she was favored by the Shipborn, having given birth to the current general’s daughter a year and a half ago, Shipborn tech wasn’t infinite. The Shipborn were cut off from their people now and trapped in the Terran system with limited supplies. That was what happened when you violated your society’s laws just to save some measly primitive planet.
With a grimace, Claire plucked the translucent jumble of wires from an inside coat pocket and flipped down the visor mirror. Aligning the endo-organic end with the neural implant in her temple, she allowed it to squiggle beneath her dark skin. It sank into place inaudibly, but she felt the vibration of it in her skull. She nestled the rest of the wire around her short, tightly curled black hair like a crown.
The crown that made her the Queen of Assholes, but hey, she got shit done.
She focused the array’s nano-computer on the object, activating the scanning feature.
It didn’t register. At all. No power source, no metal, no nothing. It was as if the object wasn’t there.
“That is not good,” she said to her men. “Sensor’s not picking it up.”
“A mirage?” Will suggested, staring through the windshield. “Light rays could refract off the snow.”
“That is one solid-ass mirage.” Claire swung open the door of the Humvee, and the other two did the same. She hadn’t needed to give the order to free their tactanium blaster bands from their parka sleeves.
A warning pinged on the sensor as the scan completed, presenting her with some information that was almost as worrisome as a vessel her sensor array couldn’t detect. “Folks, I’m picking up signs of entity activity. Past few hours.”
“Shouldn’t be any shades here.” Will scruffed a hand over his chin. “Do you think this is one of those invisible shade hits?”
“We’ll look for bodies,” Claire said grimly. A whiff of rotten garbage reached her, confirming what her sensor had already warned her about the shades.
In the past six months, there had been a huge uptick of human bodies drained of life by shades in areas where no shades had been reported by Shipborn or Terran inspections. That shouldn’t be the case in the buffer zone. Daemon attacks, sure—those bastards could fly anywhere. But shade hordes crept along at barely a mile an hour on a good day, and remained in contact with larger bodies of shades. The primary shade hordes were tracked by both Terran military on the planet and the Shipborn from space, and there were no hordes close to Illinois.
It was a mystery. Camp Chanute and other settlements had lost people—good people. Scouts, foragers, farmers. No scans, no searches, and no flyovers had been able to locate the shades responsible. It couldn’t be daemons or really perverse humans depositing the bodies from elsewhere, because the surroundings always evidenced molecular shade residue. Had to be shades, leaving traces on that spot, doing the killing.
It was like the entities were picking off stragglers, people who ventured too far away from protected compounds. The problem was, once they ate all the loners, they’d go for the towns.
“Will, warn Dix about the shade traces. Tell her she and the supply truck should head back to Chanute and raise a level two alert.” The laser rifle Jeep would be enough cover. Once they were inside the walls of Chanute, they’d be better equipped to deal with attacks from entities or more mundane raiders.
The other deputy in the Humvee, Randall Barber, craned his neck, checking the sky for daemons. Will didn’t immediately obey. “Mayor Newcome won’t like you raising an alert without consulting her.”
“Don’t care.” Claire scanned the skies, too, her enhanced eyes picking up nothing unusual. Clouds, birds, incipient snow—that was all. “My job is security. Her job is paperwork. Your job is to do what I say. Now go.”
Will jogged back to the Humvee.
“Greetings, Claire.” Ship spoke through the sensor array. “You’re using your array. Do you require assistance?”
“Hold up,” she told Ship, trying not to be irritable. Unlike the Shipborn, who’d used their communications and sensor arrays their whole lives, she always had to adjust to Ship’s voice in her head. “We’re investigating shade traces in a place they shouldn’t be and a possibly alien object of some sort I’ve never seen before. I’m calling it a UO.”
“I will scan the larger area,” Ship volunteered. “You must be protected from danger. You should value yourself more, Claire. You’re a mother.”
Ship wasn’t the kind of sentient machine that waited to be told what to do. It wasn’t the kind that refrained from butting in, either. Or eavesdropping. Or nagging.
“I’m doing exactly what Frances needs her mama to be doing,” she responded. “Protecting our people. This isn’t a high threat situation. The UO is just sitting here. But we do have shade residue.” She sent visuals of the object to Ship, orbiting the planet far above.
“I will run it through my databanks. Do you want me to send aid?”
“Hell, no, don’t send any Shipborn here. We picked up shade traces.” The risk was too great for the Shipborn themselves to venture away from the safe areas of the planet—or the sky—and lately the buffer zone no longer qualified. “We got this.”
“As you wish.” The AI had taken a liking to Claire. She wasn’t sure if it was because she was Frannie’s mom and Niko’s ex, or because Ship was Ship.
She didn’t return the liking, but she tried to hide it. Ship definitely had feelings, and Claire had hurt them more than once. Since Frannie lived on Ship with Niko and his wife Sarah part time, it wouldn’t do to have Ship get pissy with Claire.
Scuffing her feet through the icy snow, Claire kicked around until she found what she wanted. She picked up a small rock and weighed it in her hand. It would do. With careful aim, she lobbed the stone at the silver vessel.
It pinged off the metal with a high-pitched noise like a tuning fork. Claire gritted her teeth as the sound scraped across her nerves.
“Well, that’s unusual,” Randall observed laconically.
The noise swelled instead of faded. Soon it became so intense that she and Randall were stuffing their fingers in their ears.
“To hell with this.” She raised her blaster band and let it heat up to a good level. The UO’s whine sang in her eardrum like the teakettle from Hell. She blasted the object with a white-hot bar of Shipborn’s finest laser weaponry.
The beam pierced the silver tube, and the surface shimmered. Shivered. But it didn’t explode.
It should explode. She liked it when things exploded.
She shut off her laser and protected her ears. This damned silver object definitely counted as a thing that needed to be destroyed.
“Ship, gimme another reading,” she shouted over the din.
“I detect life signs approximately fifty paces in front of you,” Ship responded promptly. Even though the AI was in her head, she could barely hear it over the high-pitched resonance. “I do not detect any human bodies.”
“Recalibrate your sensors on my exact location,” she yelled back. “You’ve got interference or something. Didn’t you see the pictures? There’s a forty by ten foot silver metallic object in the spot where you think you see life signs, and it’s hitting us with some kind of noise weapon.”
They were forty minutes out of Camp Chanute. She didn’t need this kind of mystery so close to her home base.
“The photograph showed a barren field, not an object. A forty by ten foot metallic noise weapon is not a device I have in my databanks.”
Claire reviewed the images. Blank. “Why doesn’t it photograph?”
She wasn’t sure it was a good idea to get any closer if the thing wasn’t showing up on sensors.
Then again, she and her people were the ones on the scene, and it was their duty to investigate.
Finally the deafening chime faded.
“There is a life sign in the location of the object you think you see,” Ship insisted, more urgently. “It is a human life sign. It is fluctuating. The individual may require assistance.”
“I don’t see anybody.” She gestured to Randall, sending him around one side. Could this be the answer to the shade hits in the buffer zone? Were they in time to save today’s victim? “Don’t touch anything.”
Slowly she advanced. Her nose wrinkled involuntarily at the continued whiff of carrion and ozone. Her heart pulsed. “You smell the shades, right?”
Was her sensor broken? Or her senses?
Randall nodded. “Roadkill.”


 Meet Author Jody Wallace

Jody Wallace grew up in the South in a very rural area. She went to school a long time and ended up with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Her resume includes college English instructor, technical documents editor, market analyst, web designer, and all around pain in the butt. She resides in Tennessee with one husband, two children, one Grandma, six cats, and a lot of junk.

Author Website: www.jodywallace.com










Thanks so much for coming by to read about The Prodigal, my review, Ms. Jody Wallace, the fantastic author.  Hope you saw something that caused to to want to read the book.  Enjoy!




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