Friday, December 21, 2012

Edi's Spotlight: Sea of Crises by Marty Steere

Dear Readers,
sometimes it is my gut feeling which decides whether I read a book or not. On December 12th I received a review request which I read and replied on December 16th. And today I present you the review of this book. I must say that is quite unusual for me. But my review will justify why it is good to trust the gut feeling from time to time.

 Author Marty Steere sent me a review request for his debut novel Sea of Crises. I read the book description within the mail and my gut feeling told me to read and review Sea of Crises.  I replied and within a day I received a digital copy of the book, which used for this review.
Author Marty Steere  is
"The son of a career air force officer, Marty Steere grew up on or near military installations across the country and overseas before settling in Southern California, where, when he's not writing, he practices law. Sea of Crises is his first novel. His second, Defian Heart, is slated for release in early 2013". [Information sent by mail]

Book Store Information
In general my decision to read a book is mostly based on the cover and the blurb/synopsis delivered on the back cover. You do not get more information when you are in a book store. The world of books is changing which means I also will take in account blurbs and descriptions on GOODREADS and other places.
Here we go:

Sea of Crises (digital and pb, April 2012)
[ASIN: B007QYPU8U; ISBN-13: 978-0985401405]
"That shouldn't be here.
Those are the last words uttered by Commander Bob Cartwright in September 1976, just before all communication with the crew of Apollo 18 is inexplicably lost during the astronauts' first moonwalk. Frantic attempts to re-establish communications with the astronauts are unsuccessful. Three days later, however, as NASA is scrambling to put together a rescue mission, astronomers detect a burn of the service propulsion system, and, on schedule, but still in eerie silence, the command module begins its return transit, culminating in the welcome sight of the capsule descending majestically beneath a trio of parachutes into the South Pacific. But when the hatch is opened, the navy divers tasked with assisting the astronauts into the recovery helicopter make a gruesome discovery. The bodies of the three men inside have been burned beyond recognition, victims of a failed heat shield. And with them has died any chance of learning the meaning of Cartwright's enigmatic last statement or what transpired during those three blacked out days in the Mare Crisium, or Sea of Crises. Unfortunately, unless and until man returns to the moon, it's a mystery that will remain forever unsolved. Or will it?
Thirty-six years later, Cartwright's sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father's capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father. What they've uncovered puts the three brothers on the run, chased by a ruthless group who will stop at nothing to preserve the secret behind the fate of the Apollo 18 astronauts. The brothers will need to set aside past differences and pool their talents if they are to stay alive and unravel the mystery behind what really happened in the Sea of Crises." [Source]

My Expectations
A book related to the Apollo 18 mission. When you look at the
The Apollo program, you will notice that the official Apollo 18 mission has been canceled. So I expected a fast paced thriller including science fiction elements, historical elements, a touch of mystery and to forget conspiracy and revelations.

The Delivery
The 232 pages of the story are divided into three greater parts which are divided into 17 consecutively numbered chapters. The book ends with a note from the author.

The title of the book - Sea of Crises - is the English name of the lunar mare Mare Crisium and it is one of the main settings of the story.
The importance of the moon setting is expressed by the fact that a third of the action takes place on the moon. I can't deliver any detail because the would mean to destroy your reading pleasure.
But I can assure you that this part of the book is breathtaking from several points of view: The action itself, the action under low gravity, the twist and turns. The description is that good that at times I thought I have been on the moon myself. Gravitation has a great impact on the action. Do you know how much you would weigh on the moon? This moon weight calculator can answer your question.
I must admit that this part of the book is a real highlight. It takes me a lot of power to hinder myself to tell you more about it.

Fortunately I can tell you a bit more about the rest of the book. While reading the book you get sometimes the impression that several scenes and characters look like stereotype. I think that has something to do with the subject conspiracy. On the one hand there is always at least one person who wants to discover the truth and on the other hand there is mostly an organization which try to hinder the person. Of course author Marty Steere could not escape this dilemma. But he used it in an intelligent way. He combined the conspiracy theme with other themes like friendship, fraternal strife, love, trust, ethical values.

There is a lot of action in the book which always find a counterpart in inner thoughts and character exploration. I still remember a passage in the book where the author described the last seconds of a basketball game. I did not want to read that at this time because I wanted to know how the story continues. But in the end I understood, that this scene delivered an insight on some of the characters.

I know that all sounds a bit vague but every word more would give away far too much of this splendid story.

The book is well structured, The prose fits well and it is nearly impossible to stop reading. It is a real page turner.

I highly recommend Sea of Crises to everyone who likes to read an excellent conspiracy thriller with an exquisite mystery:
Discover on earth what happened on the moon!

For more information about the book please visit the official site of Marty Steere where you will find a  Sea of Crises Q&A.

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