Thursday, June 09, 2016

“Dead Wrong” by Richard Phillips – The Elusive Sun Staff

Dead Wrong by Richard Phillips - book cover
When the choice between life and death fluttered before the eyes of Jack Gregory, he didn't hesitate much and opted to stay in the world of the living, no matter the cost. As it turned out, the price he paid was a rather unusual one, as an alien entity became bound to his soul, basically using Jack as a host. What's more, Jack quickly found out that this alien has rather homicidal ambitions and a tendency to cause visions.

In Dead Wrong, the second book in The Rho Agenda Inception series by Richard Phillips, Jack Gregory, now nicknamed “Ripper”, is still struggling with the alien inside of him, but that's a problem he'll have to put on the back burner for now. He has been hired for a most complicated mission, one that could be of the suicidal variety. He must rescue an imprisoned shaman in South America in hopes of retrieving the Sun Staff, an indescribably old and immeasurably powerful alien artefact that, needless to say, cannot fall into the wrong hands for it has the potential to change the course of history. The clock is now ticking for Jack, who amidst all of his woes has to contend with neo-fascists as well as the National Security Agency, the latter of which has sicked their best (and apparently most attractive) agent after him.

While it is true that this book can still be enjoyed without having read the first one, I highly recommend you do so if you haven't. Quite understandably, you'll understand a whole lot better what's happening, why and who is who... otherwise, you'll have many questions unanswered.

Continuing the story pretty much where the previous book ended, Dead Wrong wastes no time in starting the show, picking up the pace rather quickly and never letting it go. As those of you who have read Richard Phillips' other works already know, the action advances at a breakneck speed, with dialogues being short and sweet and the writing style very simple and easy to follow. It's the kind of style that can really force you to stay awake at night, leafing through the pages without even being aware of it. There are some descriptions here and there where they are needed, but they're mostly kept at a minimum in favour of progressing with the plot.

Speaking of which, while the plot doesn't really have any earth-shattering innovations, it nevertheless feels fresh and original in its own way, combining many elements which help to give the book a diversity. We have the main plotline of the alien bound to Jack's soul, there are the neo-fascists, the NSA with their beautiful agent, the shaman, and the alien artefact. There are more than enough questions to keep you guessing and interested in what the author has in store for us next. Once again, there is a fair amount of references and nods to the books from the original trilogy, enough to make the fans smile without pushing it too far.

All things taken into consideration, the second book in The Rho Agenda Inception trilogy certainly lives up to the hype and the standards set by its predecessor, being a fresh, enjoyable, action-packed and fast-paced science-fiction story, one that definitely gives high hopes for the next book.

Richard Phillips (May 16, 1955)

Richard Phillips

Richard Phillips an American merchant mariner, and much more recently, an author, who famously served as the captain of the MV Maersk Alabama which was hijacked by Somali pirates back in 2009. He wrote a couple of books detailing his experiences overseas, titled A Captain's Duty and My Story, by the REAL Captain Phillips. His story was also turned into a silver screen adaptation where he was portrayed by Tom Hanks.

More of the Richard Phillips's book reviews:

The Rho Agenda Inception
Once Dead
Dead Shift

The Rho Agenda
The Second Ship

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