Friday, 4 November 2016

Book Review: Hard Time by Alex Laybourne

Rookie officer Peter Malone and his heavily armed team are sent on a deadly mission to extract a dangerous criminal from a classified prison world. A Kruger Correctional facility where only the hardest, most vicious criminals are sent to fend for themselves, never to return.

But when the team come face to face with ancient beasts from a lost world, their mission is changed. The new objective: Survive.

My Review: 
A new prison system sends all the high security inmates off-0world to serve their time. If they are still alive at a certain part of their sentence they get parole, which means an armed extraction team from the prison have to go and collect him. The team are nervous about all the prisoners who are waiting there for a chance of revenge on the officers but when they arrive to be confronted by raptors in a hostile jungle environment, the guards realise that they are now in a dinosaur ruled world and survival is going to be their main focus.

I liked the idea of the story, sending prisoners to another world that they can't escape from, and it is understandable why this is the first man ever to be paroled from this world after serving twelve years. But I had a lot of issues with this story. Firstly, who is going to send their top team to a place like that with inadequate weapons and no warning about what they are going to face? That makes no sense at all and you are just sacrificing your men in the process. I found that a bit stupid. And with that technology, you couldn't drop the team much closer to where you know the guy is instead of having them trek to find him, putting him in more danger? I don't get that at all.

It gets off to an explosive start with the men arriving right on top of a pack of raptors which is carnage from the beginning. Now I love a dino gore fest as much as the next person but the main issue with this book is that it all felt so rushed and underdeveloped. We had raptors, seconds later it was huge crocodile, followed by pteranadons and poisoness creatures, then this predator and that predator and TRex and big raptors and Spinosaurus and...there is no break from constant dinosaur attack other than men attacking the team. It jumps from one to the next with no break, which means there is no attempt to build up the tension of things stalking you and maybe a few narrow escapes here and there, or a false alarm to give the reader a few minor scares. It felt like the author had decided on the 90 odd pages and was then determined to fit in attacks by every single dinosaur he could think off.

I wanted a bit more story and getting to know and give a damn about a few of the team before they became dino bait. I wanted to see actual story and proper world building, tension and fear as they move through the area-not just running from one dinosaur to the next to the next to the next. It took all the anticipation and tension out of the story, and left it as just people getting eaten. I felt that so much more could have been done with the story and I was left a bit disappointed by the overall delivery of what could have been a really good story, given all the ideas.

This is the second book I've tried by the author and I haven't greatly liked the way he puts the story together so I won't be trying any more. If you want a good dinosaur read try something like Viktor Zarkov's 'Jurassic Island' or Rick Jones 'The Valley', which is Jurassic Park meets The Running Man.
Read November 2016.
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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