BOOK REVIEW: BLOOD RED CITY / AUTHOR: JUSTIN RICHARDS / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW (HARDBACK), MAY 7TH (PAPERBACK)
If for whatever reason you haven't read The Suicide Exhibition, the first book in Justin Richards' The Never War series, you'll probably want to do that before you read Blood Red City. When you do get to this one, you can look forward to reading a book that includes superb action scenes, well-researched historical nuggets of truth hidden within the fiction, and a brief explanation of where the name Bovril comes from.
Speaking of names, it's rather appropriate that the book is called Blood Red City as Captain Scarlet And The Mysterons was one of the things that came strongly to mind when we were reading it. We suspect that we might be reading too much into it, but nonetheless it's a good way to convey the plot of this book in broad strokes: an alien menace sends people who look like humans to infiltrate us and carry out dastardly schemes. The enemy can be found by photographing them in a certain way. One of the people attempting to stop them is a man with an excellent healing factor. See what we mean?
But Captain Scarlet isn't the only influence here. This genre-spanning alternate history book, like its predecessor, goes from the Greek myths to alien invasion by way of the occult. In fact, our favourite moment of the book comes from one of the sections that dealt explicitly with Greek myth. Not to spoil things too much, but it occurs when our heroes find their way into a mythical location. There is something about the way the chapter ends that absolutely captures the wonder and magic of such a scenario, and reminds us of why we read these kinds of books in the first place.
In our review of the first book, we noted that the book ended on a cliffhanger and that we were looking forward to the next one. Both those things are true of this book as well, and it was absolutely worth the wait.