Dead Six and Monster Hunter Alpha — Two For One

Tonight is a strange review night. I won’t be reviewing a single book, oh no. Tonight I’m reviewing two books in one review.

How is this possible, you may ask. How have I not lost the last shred of my sanity doing this?

It’s easy. I get to read awesome stuff, and today I’m going to talk about one of my newest favorite authors, Larry Correia.

Okay, so Larry isn’t exactly new. I’ve interviewed him in the past here, and reviewed one of his books here. Still, he’s new in the sense that three years ago nobody had heard of him outside of some self-defense forums, so I’m sticking him with the “new” moniker until one of his books is old enough to shave more than once a week.

If his books are similar in the way he grows facial hair, that’ll be tomorrow.

Cover by Kurt Miller. Freakin' sweet, right? Right?

Anyways, I’m starting first today with his collaboration project, and his most recent book, Dead Six. Written with Mike Kupari, Dead Six tells the tale two very distinct men written from two different perspectives: Valentine, a former mercenary working for a secret government agency in a war-torn country, and Lorenzo, a world class thief, assassin, and all-around bad guy.

The story starts off in a small Arabian country called Zubara. Much like Somalia, it seems to be a country that has very little central government and is on the verge of civil war. Valentine, offered a job by a secret government agency to take the “fight to the bad guys”, and he proves that he is just the man for the job as he and the rest of the men and women on his team perform admirably while trying to eliminate terrorist threats. He is good, his team is good, and at first everything seems to be going as planned.

Meanwhile, master thief Lorenzo has been contacted by an old employee named “Big Eddie”, a man with little moral scruples who wants Lorenzo to accomplish a very difficult and dangerous job. In order to due this, however, Lorenzo must fool everyone as he travels to Zubara, or the “Zoob”, in order to begin the first part of his plan.

His path, and Valentine’s, spiral perilously close to one another as they unwittingly seek to undermine the other in their fight to achieve their goals. Written individually from the perspective of each author (one wrote from Valentine’s POV, one from Lorenzo’s… yes I know who wrote what, and no I’m not telling), the story is very fun, fast and dedicated to over-the-top action. Reminiscent of the best “pulp” action stories from the sixties and seventies (Longarm and the Destroyer both come to mind), Dead Six is a lot of fun action with enough tense situations to make you wonder just who is the good guy and who isn’t, and just how thick that grey area in the middle is.

I highly recommend Dead Six, and I hope to see more from this series. If you enjoy a good, rousing Mack Bolan story, then you’ll love Dead Six.

Next on the list is… well, it’s the story of a werewolf. He doesn’t have unrequited love fests with the child of a vampire, nor does he have fleas. He is not a good guy, but he fights on the side of light. His name sends shivers down the spines of creatures that go bump in the night. He gives the boogeyman nightmares.

Big Old Ones minions. This usually ends badly for someone not involved with MHI

Monster Hunter Alpha starts off slowly as Earl Harbinger, head of the infamous Monster Hunter International, is called to the barren and cold north to talk to an old acquaintance. The acquaintance gives Harbinger some news: an old enemy, Stalin’s pet werewolf, has reappeared and is currently roaming around in upper Michigan. Harbinger wastes no time and travels further north, to the land of perpetual blizzard, to finish off the Russian werewolf once and for all.

Not all is as it seems, though, as Harbinger realizes very quickly that something more is at stake. A werewolf outbreak in the small town has left it isolated and cut off, at the mercy of a mysterious werewolf called the “Alpha”. Naturally Harbinger suspects the Russian, but soon comes to realize that they were both lured there by this new Alpha and Harbinger is soon attacked and nearly destroyed.

Other good (read: BAD) news for Harbinger is that a rival monster hunting agency, Briarwood Eradication Services, are in town as well and looking to score a hit on the PUFFs on werewolves. They are tipped off by a “helpful” Monster Control Bureau officer who has had previous run-ins with other members of MHI, the plot is thick enough to beat someone over the head with it like rebar.

Part biography, part action story, Monster Hunter Alpha is a good, fun read in which the continuing saga of the Monster Hunter series continues to play out. The best parts of the book are the bits and pieces of Harbinger’s journal, which regales the reader about the trials and tribulations that the king of the werewolves has had to go through during his 100 year existence. They made for an entire book by themselves, and could easily have been titled “The Monster Hunter”.

The story is good, the pacing is better, and Correia shows his maturing writing style throughout as Harbinger struggles to fight for the life of this small town in the middle of nowhere. A definite must-buy for me, this one is not necessarily needed for the overall “Monster Hunter” series continuation arc (caveat: so far), but still a worthwhile pickup for anyone looking to read something fun and fresh.

–Reviewed by Jason

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