Phoenix (The Carter Files Book 1) By Lori Janeski

Lori Janeski Í 8 summary

Phoenix (The Carter Files Book 1)

This is a long cop story, 550 pages worth, set 400+ years into the future where inter space travel has become the norm. Mars and the moon (or Luna) plus other planets are now all colonised and in fact Earth is the ‘expensive’ colony where interplanetary government now resides.

David Carter and Veronique De Tourney, special agents, are in charge of finding a terrorist cell bent on destruction and the massacre of millions of people. Carter’s got a reputation. He’s a hero but also acknowledged as ruthless in his methods and not very likeable. De Tourney is a rookie agent but brings special skills with her from her desk job: being able to read people’s facial expressions and such like. I really enjoyed this duo.

They’ve both got backstories and coincidentally, both are struggling from unsolved familial tragedy. Carter’s is driving him to find the killer of his sister and De Tourney wears hearing aids having lost her hearing in the bomb blast that killed her mother and sent her father into a suicidal funk.

The futuristic world isn’t well described, and the author appears to lean on what the current world looks like. I wasn’t sure if this is simply sentimentality or lazy story crafting. Inter-planetary travel is via monorails and intra-planetary via maglevs, both of which presently exist. With both technologies I didn’t get any great sense of them being any more advanced than the present except that they often stopped at stations in the air. Interestingly, the author appears to have a liking for Sydney, Australia which made me smile.

The story would have been a lot tighter if it had been 200 pages shorter. Tension and suspense were repeatedly lost simply because there was too much writing between the action. I found that I often ‘missed’ when something happened suddenly simply because of the lack of tightness in the plot. I suspect this is a mark of inexperience and I hope if the author writes a sequel (which is set up) they will cut back the bits between the action and simply move the story along on action scenes.
Phoenix (The Carter Files Book 1) Classic space thriller with good characters

The author pulls off the most important task for any novel very quickly: getting you to care about the characters. In a few pages, you understand who the protagonists are and why they are interesting. This is what keeps you committee to a book, and too much mainstream fiction fails to pull this off, because they think it is circumstance rather than character that drives a novel.

In this case both characters are compelling, and both have things to learn from each other. They do so in the midst of a civilization-threatening conspiracy that keeps you guessing until the very end, which is also something that keeps you engaged.

In short, if you are looking for a book that keeps you wanting to read more, this is the one to buy. Phoenix (The Carter Files Book 1)