Spolier Free Summary: It may appear as though I’m just piling stories together to catch up on reviews, but the truth is I don’t want to catch up. I need a solid cache of stuff to review. I don’t like Wednesdays to go by without a review because that’s one of the staples of this blog. The reason, then, I am putting these two stories together is because I consider them two parts of the same story. I also think this was one of the stronger stories in the anthology. I’ll get to that later. Boss by Scott Moon and Leverage by Josh Hayes are the third and fourth stories in the Four Horsemen anthology, For a Few Credits More.
Johnny Boss is after his former team member Jessup, who reportedly killed a peacemaker and stole an immensely valuable slate (memory card). Everyone wants it; Jessup has it, and he’s hidden well. Catching Jessup might be easy, but keeping him is hard enough with a rival company after him. The fact that Johnny’s XO is ready to make a play for the big chair isn’t much more helpful. Mac was on his way to being a Peacemaker before one mission with a particularly brutal training officer caused him to decide otherwise. The individual being brutalized? That would be one Jessup, who Mac discovers is on his planet and in much more trouble. These two stories fit nicely together to give a great narrative from two points of view.
Character: Mac stood out from the group, but the characters in both of these stories all have a depth that’s rare in short fiction. In fact, both of these stories are pleasantly character based. Boss is a man trying to keep control. Mac is a man who sticks to his principles, which is why I’m drawn to him. I like neutral character arcs, and Mac is a great example of how it’s done. Sorry, that was probably author-speak. I like stories that revolve around characters who change others. Think about the arc to Winter Soldier. Cap’ didn’t change, but his actions changed others. Mac has that same feel, so if you like the kind of story where a man stands up for what he believes in, this is your story. The complexity increases because the characters’ motivations are clear. There’s probably only one true antagonist. The rest are just folk trying to get by.
Description: I think I’d have liked a bit more detail. The visuals were great. It felt like a movie theater in the action sequences. But just a touch of description here or there would have taken these stories to an even higher level. That said, if I’m asking for a bit more, fans of hard science fiction are probably going to feel like there isn’t enough. I was happy with it though.
Overall: These stories stand out from the anthology because they are connected. (As far as I’m a novice in the world. Every story here might be connected, but I don’t see how other than they’re all in the same universe. Fans of deeper stories will like the combination of these tales, and they’ll be rewarded with clever endings and great hero moments. I like this story combo more and more as I think on it, and that’s always a sign of a good story.
Thanks for reading,