Monday, 18 January 2016

Book Review: Flashback: Siren Song by James A Hunter (Yancy Lazarus #0.5)

The year is 1969. Yancy Lazarus—bluesman, gambler, future world-class mage and fix-it man—is just a dumb, unlucky kid serving with the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines in Vietnam.

With just a few weeks left to go until Yancy gets shipped back to the States, he’s just trying to keep his head down and avoid a body bag—no mean feat in Nam. But when his squad is tasked with conducting a routine patrol deep in enemy territory, everything goes to nine kinds of hell, and he quickly sees his chances at survival slipping away.

When the radio operators start to pick up some funky, dirty ol’ blues all the way out in the backcountry, it’s a nice change of pace. At least until the men in Yancy’s squad start losing their minds, turning on each other with murderous intent as the music works its deadly power within them. Convinced it’s some kind of new psychological warfare initiative, the squad leader forces the men to push deeper and deeper into the Vietnamese jungle, obsessed with locating the music’s source. What they find, however, isn’t some new technology, but an ancient spirit awoken by the terrible war. Even worse, the music is changing Yancy too, awakening something buried inside of him.

Only one thing is certain, nothing is ever going to be the same. See how it all began … 

My Review:
A small scouting mission in Vietnam during the war leads a group of marines into danger. There is deadly music in the jungle which is slowly turning the men mad, causing them to kill each other. As their numbers dwindle, Yancy and his friends must find the music source and avoid the possessed Vietnamese soldiers in pursuit.

I decided to read this short novella as an introduction to the series, to see if I liked the character enough to try the first full length novel in the series. The answer to that question is yes! I liked Yancy, a tough soldier who discovers in this book that he has magical abilities which he has no idea how to control. He is the best chance of completing this deadly mission before they all die. I liked the idea of his uncontrolled abilities and I look forward to seeing what he gets up to on other adventures.

This story is full of tension as they creep through the jungle to find the music source. Danger is everywhere-VC booby traps, deranged enemy soldiers who seem impossible to kill, and the fear of each other and who might turn mad next. It was an exciting plot with good action and a decent pace, but the author also gives a good amount of character development, allowing you to get right into the story and care about their fate. I liked the supernatural element and the war in Vietnam going on in the jungle around them as a background plot. The characters are a good mixed group and it was easy to want them all to survive but you were aware that the chances of them all surviving such odds were remote!

A good introduction to the series and the story ends with a bit of intrigue that makes me want to read on in the series.
star rating photo: 35 star rating 3-5-stars.jpg

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