Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review: VELOCITY by Steve Worland

VelocityVELOCITY is big on action - a non stop joyride from NASA headquarters to the barren landscape of central Australia where theft knows no bounds and a burning desire for vengeance reins supreme.

Astronaut Judd Bell is plagued by his insecurities and haunted by the untimely loss of a close friend. His crippling dependency on workplace romance turned live-in partner, Rhonda is unhealthy - not only driving him to distraction but driving away the one thing that holds the fabric of his existence together. Somehow, author Steve Worland creates a hero from a mere shell, turning this wayward astronaut into an accidental hero.  

When a space shuttle is stolen by a group of highly organised and well funded individuals, Judd's world falls apart. Not only does he confront death up and personal, Rhonda is aboard the shuttle and headed for parts unknown. Still reeling from a violent encounter with some colourful bad guys, Judd finds himself deported to the Northern Territory and teamed with the humorous and distinctly outback bloke Corey - a tourist pilot with a penchant for high speed, high skill flying.

The duo take it upon themselves to retrieve the shuttle and return its cargo to safety - a feat neither had thought capable. Unfortunately for Judd and Corey, nothing is simple with each attempt and rescuing Rhonda thwarted time and time again - ever drawing closer that blood thirsty reaper.

What I really like about VELOCITY is that the reason behind theft of an aircraft and space shuttle isn't apparent up front. It takes time for the conspiracy theory and twisted rationale to filter through. Exemplifying Judd's plight is the danger not only Rhonda faces as a captive but mankind should the group succeed in achieving their goal. Worland does a great job at instilling a sense of urgency to this novel.

Fans of Matthew Reilly will enjoy VELOCITY, yet Judd is no Scarecrow. He's not some special ops, beefed up marine with a near perfect ability to kick ass and take names. He's a deeply flawed yet endearing character who grows throughout the novel. Not the sort of protagonist typical to this genre - refreshing to read.

I highly recommend VELOCITY and will be delving into Worlands' next book COMBUSTION very soon.

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