A fun, fast-paced mash-up of dystopian, military/sci-fi and horror genres, The Dead Lands by Dylan J. Morgan (@dylanjmorgan) reminded me a lot of a summer action movie, perfect for a beach read or plane trip. I received an advance review copy of the novel from the author; the novel will be available for sale on Aug. 1, 2014.
One hundred years after a nuclear war devastates the planet Hemera, a distress signal is received on the other planet in the system, Erebus. A small team of hand-picked soldiers is sent to Hemera with the mission of investigating the signal, which was not unexpected.
Part of the team is Lane, a disgraced former soldier press-ganged back into the Army for this mission. Haunted by the mistakes of his past and his current occupation as a bounty hunter, Lane quickly realizes the term “hand-picked” leaves a lot to desired when it comes to his present company. For starters, the ambitious officer who commanded his disastrous final mission as a soldier is in charge.
Then there’s Reese, the woman who was the love of his life until she left him at his lowest point. Sticking close to her is Ludger, who appears to be Reese’s latest beau … which makes him no friend of Lane’s.
But pining for his ex and watching his back from other members of the team aren’t Lane’s only concerns. Hemera may have been devastated by nuclear explosions, but it is far from lifeless. And not everything alive is still human, as the team finds out after entering the ruins of the planet’s capital city.
I read The Dead Lands over a couple days when I was fighting a bug of some kind, and found tagging along with Lane and his crew to be a very agreeable way to pass my time. The plot moves quickly and while there isn’t anything really new here, I don’t think that’s the point. Like a summer action movie, sometimes you just want to munch some popcorn and watch stuff blow up. If the mood so strikes you, this is a fine way to pass some time.
For more about this author and his writing, visit his website.