Today, I’d like to make known to the readers of my blog Canadian indie author, Jack Flacco. He’s releasing his second book next week and was kind enough to offer me a copy to review. I highly recommend that you check out his website. His Wednesday “Women Who Wow” ongoing feature is a favorite weekly post!
Ranger Martin and the Alien Invasion is Flacco’s second Ranger Martin book. The first, Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse, came out last year and featured in many Amazon bestseller lists. Geared toward a younger readership, this adventure/zombie hunting series (of two, to date!) is filled with action, real-life locations, and a variety of teenaged characters that Ranger endeavors to get along with while he tries to save the world.
I can hear you now. “Sandi? Zombies? You?”
This is a bit of a departure for me, I grant you. 😉 Nevertheless, here we go.
The opening to this adventure tale is terrific. Immediate action. In this series, that means the messy destruction of the undead. Zombies. There are numerous other terms these creatures are referenced as – something that undoubtedly is better is explained in the first book – and Flacco shows a good deal of creativity as he shares them.
Using a more-or-less omniscient third person perspective, Flacco allows the reader to gain insight into a multitude of characters in limited ways. He also provides wry foreshadowing and moments of humor.
“Either he would put the dragger out of its misery or Ranger would die a victim of his own beloved truck’s anger. He couldn’t see himself dying because of a zombie attack, but he’d rather have his faithful truck eat him whole.”
A dragger, by the way, is one of the book’s words for zombie.
“Once this is over, we should go out and grab a bite to eat.”
“I don’t think there’ll be anything open. ”
Quite a sensible observation to be made when one is doing one’s best to defend the world!
I was often reminded of Stephen King’s work, such as in The Stand, while I got into this Alien Invasion. Flacco brings characters together from different points, with their own agendas and internal turmoils, together for a greater purpose. Also, characters do die in this book – it’s for younger folks, but that doesn’t mean a character’s continued existence is assured.
Though the title indicates there is an alien invasion—and there is—this is still a zombie story, complete with constant attacks by the walking undead as well as government cover-ups and entirely human bad guys. Ranger and the teenagers he finds himself working with do their utmost to keep people safe from all that threatens them. Very heroic. All the way to the end.
I enjoyed the author’s infusion of humor into a grisly landscape; for a reader like me, this was essential. The dialogue was good, too, and made me feel that Flacco knows his teens.
What I found harder to get through, though, was the heavy use of adjectives. They slowed down the pace of what could and should have been a faster action/adventure tale. There were other technical issues, too, but as my copy was an Advance Reader Copy, I know that it is likely improvements were still being made when it was compiled. I hope they’re ironed out in the final edition.
Overall, a sturdy follow-up to Jack Flacco’s first Ranger Martin story. If you like zombies and all the brain-eating, skin-sloughing fear they represent, you should consider checking out both of the Ranger Martin books.
Jack Flacco is the author of RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION. His blend of action, suspense and dark humor offers the reader a new perspective on the horror genre. The second book in the Ranger Martin series will publish on October 21.
Flacco and his family live in Ontario, Canada. When he is not writing, he volunteers his time. Past work includes acting in youth theater outreach for nursing homes, ushering at his church, and getting involved with scouts. Supporting his wife, she served on the leadership council for the local home education network and on the library advisory board responsible for the purchase of new books for children and young adults.
Jack and his wife currently contribute to a wide variety of charitable organizations. Holding dear the importance of universal literacy, they donate books to individual families in need.