Book Review and Giveaway: Mars Adrift (Halo Trilogy #3) by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

MARS ADRIFT
THE HALO TRILOGY, BOOK 3

by
KATHLEEN McFALL + CLARK HAYS
Categories: Science Fiction / Detective ( Hard-Boiled) / Mystery
Publisher: Pumpjack Press
Date of Publication: February 14, 2022
Number of Pages: 300 pages 
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An interplanetary mystery and a searing critique of the contemporary billionaire quest for Mars. The year is (still) 2188 and Crucial Larsen is officially done with Mars. But just as he’s set to head back to his beloved Earth, meteors crash into the orbital platforms, ravage the luxury domes and knock Halo—the powerful AI running Mars and Earth—offline. And this is no random cosmic event. An invading force has the technology to redirect space rocks at will and intends to level the Five Families.

Their first act? Put a bounty on missing Staff Scientist Melinda Hopwire, Crucial’s ex-lover—the only person left alive who can find the back-up servers to introduce the AI empathy hack, the endgame of the beleaguered Resistance. Crucial has to claw his way across the deadly Choke armed with nothing more than a glue gun, expired maple rum and Sanders, a malfunctioning cybanism, to find Mel and her synthetic perma-kitten Wisp. If he fails, it’s the end for both planets.

“A compelling saga, edgy and different…the personal, political, and social issues create a Mars story that is thoroughly absorbing. Other books have attempted to blend the genres of an investigative detective piece with sci-fi, but few achieve such a seamless integration.” – Midwest Book Review

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Mars Adrift is the conclusion to McFall and Hays’ Halo Trilogy. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading books one and two, but that didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of book three.

This is some pretty hardcore sci-fi meets a good detective story. It’s a dual timeline story, told from the point of view of Lauren Valentine, chancellor of Stardust University and history professor, in 2238, and from the point of view of Crucial Larsen, fifty years earlier on Mars. Crucial’s parts of the story unfold in response to discussions Valentine has with her students, and this storytelling method really worked well for me.

Crucial is something of a curmudgeon, largely interested in what’s best for Crucial, but he’s still a surprisingly likable character. And he’s not quite as self-interested as he used to be. Sure, he’s still working toward his own agenda, but he’ll do his best to save those who matter to him – and the world – in the process. He’s not always happy about his newly discovered compassionate tendencies, though. As they search for Mel, his former lover and the only person who might be able to really make a difference following the attack, Crucial glares at his sister Essential and thinks, “If the nanites have somehow infected me with empathy, I will never forgive her.”

I think Sanders was my very favorite character, though. He’s a cybanism – a cybernetic humanoid. As you might expect, there are some pretty entertaining misunderstandings when he takes something Crucial says literally that shouldn’t have been taken literally or has no frame of reference for how humans think. And just as the Resistance sought to introduce an empathy hack into the overlord AI Halo, Sanders himself seems to be developing emotions. Coincidence?

The writing style is sharp and smart, and moves the story along quickly. Mars Adrift touches on serious issues, such as global wealth, climate change, politics, and the grasping greed that is part of human nature. However, it does so with fascinating turns of phrase and unexpected elements that make the story fun to read as well as thought-provoking. I mean, “an interstellar invader in squiggly paramecium ships crapping out clouds of what are most likely weapons”? Come on, if that doesn’t make you want to read this book, you are dead inside. And I think “Oh, for the love of binomial aggravation” may be my new favorite expletive phrase.

If you’re a sci-fan, or just a fan of a well-told, well-written, wildly entertaining story, get the Halo Trilogy. McFall and Hays have gotten bumped up to the top of my “I’ll read anything they write” list.

I give it five dome-smashing meteors. Top notch.

And scroll on down to enter for a chance to WIN ALL THREE books in the trilogy! What a deal – you could get fabulous books at exactly zero cost to you!

Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed. Mars Adrift is their tenth co-authored book.

PUMPJACK PRESS
◆  WEBSITE  ◆

THE AUTHORS ON:
◆ FACEBOOK ◆  INSTAGRAM

CONNECT WITH KATHLEEN:

AMAZON ◆ GOODREADS
FACEBOOKTWITTER

CONNECT WITH CLARK:

AMAZONGOODREADS
◆ FACEBOOKTWITTER

————————————— 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
One winner gets
autographed copies of
all three books in The Halo Trilogy.
(US only. Ends 2/21/22).

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, 
or visit the blogs directly:

2/14/22

Review

Sybrina’s Book Blog

2/14/22

Review

Chapter
Break Book Blog

2/14/22

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Hall Ways Blog

2/15/22

Review

The Clueless Gent

2/15/22

Review

Tangled in Text

2/15/22

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LSBBT Blog

2/16/22

Review

Reading
by Moonlight

2/16/22

Review

Book Fidelity

2/17/22

Review

Momma on the Rocks

2/17/22

Review

Bibliotica

2/18/22

Review

The Plain-Spoken Pen

2/18/22

Review

Forgotten
Winds

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1 Response to Book Review and Giveaway: Mars Adrift (Halo Trilogy #3) by Kathleen McFall and Clark Hays

  1. Love your review, and I also have them on my “read anything they write” list. You’ll love the Bonnie & Clyde books, and I can’t wait to binge-read the Halo Trilogy. Thanks for sharing!

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