A Great Debut from a New Science-Fiction Talent!

Big Red – Damien Larkin (2019)

The life of a reader contains many bittersweet moments.  For me, one of the worst is discovering a writer that is new to me, but that I later find out has already passed, and will no longer be writing new work.  This always fills me with an odd sadness, as if I missed the boat somehow, knowing all I can do is catch up on what I already missed.  The exact opposite situation has occurred as I read Big Red, the debut science fiction novel from author Damien Larkin.  I was hooked in from the very start of this book, and my interest and enjoyment grew with each chapter I read.  Damien Larkin crafted a tight, increasingly suspenseful, and altogether satisfying bit of science fiction. 

Big Red begins with our narrator waking up, unable to explain where he is, who he is, or what has happened to him.  It is obvious he is involved in some sort of military operation, from the people he sees around him.  As we move into the story, the protagonist is grilled by doctors and commanding officers, essentially forced to try to remember what has happened to him.  Mr. Larkin’s cleverness as a writer comes through in the manner by which he divided up the threads of the story as separate chapters, allowing the reader to follow a story that, in a lesser writer’s hands, could have easily become confusing. 

Early on, our hero discovers what we readers have gathered from the novel’s title, the fact that he is not on Earth, but on Mars.  What he felt was to be a straightforward term of service is instantly complicated.  The problem with finding oneself caught in a web of bureaucratic, military, and government obfuscation is that to find the truth, you have to fight through so many layers of LIES that it becomes nearly impossible to know who to trust, and what exactly is happening to you.  As our hero grows in experience and knowledge, so the reader become aware that something is terribly wrong on Mars, creating a real sense of dread for what will happen to our narrator as the story gets bigger and bigger. 

I do not want to go further into the plot points of Big Red.  I leave that for you to find out yourself.  It is an engrossing book, building steam page by page.  I read the last 100 pages in a mad fit of excited reading.  I was completely satisfied.  I love a story that invests me in all the characters, not just the main hero, and that is self-consistent in its world-building.  One of the main thoughts I came away with after reading Big Red is that, for all the speculation, what is being described is so close to what our reality is now that it should serve as a warning to all the people that faceless military and government organizations look to recruit, use up, and throw away.  If you love action-packed science fiction, speculative ideas, and the exploration of one man’s challenge as he faces up against a giant web of tyranny, you will find a lot to dig into in Big Red.  What an exciting debut novel.  I look forward to Damien Larkin’s development, and his future work.

(This book is being released on May 14, 2019)

(This book can be pre-ordered/purchased here: AMAZON )

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this review. It's greatly appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed Big Red!


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