Posted on January 26, 2017 by Billzilla
Available from Amazon.com
Into The Mist
by Lee Murray
Published by Cohesion Press (Australia)
In Lee Murray’s most recent novel, Into the Mist, we follow the exploits of Sergeant Taine McKenna’s squad of professional soldiers, responsible for the safety of the group of geologists and biologists sent out to follow up on tantalizing news of the discovery of a large gold nugget. The squad is assigned to baby-sit this group of civilian scientists as they wander into the bush in search of the site where the gold was discovered. To make matters more complicated, shadowy corporate entities are interfering with the expedition, hoping to get the jump on their competitors and claim the mineral rights for their own firm. Tuhoe separatist rebels make an appearance as well, and they show up at a most inopportune time as the scientists and soldiers are struggling for their very lives against not only the elements and the rough terrain of Te Urewera National Park, but also against something more sinister — and hungry: a creature that seems hell-bent on picking them off one by one, and that shows a level of unnatural patience and cunning in hunting them down.
When things start to go south for the expedition, Taine is faced with too many decisions, including who to sacrifice — and when — so that the majority of the group has the best chance to survive. One of those he must help protect is Dr. Jules Asher, biologist, and herself no stranger to field work. Guilt over tragic events of a past expedition may hamper Dr. Asher in the field, and in this situation, hesitation could very easily mean death. Worse, Taine begins to develop feelings for Dr. Asher that could interfere with the Sergeant’s ability to remain objective, particularly when that objectivity could mean the difference between life and death.
I enjoyed this book a great deal. It had the right amount of tension to keep me interested, the pacing was solid, and the story included a dash of romance, making this a real page-turner for fans of action fiction. Ms. Murray does a great job of making her characters believable and sympathetic, and by the end I was completely hooked. Murray tells a fine tale, and brings her characters to life. By the end I had my favorites, and was rooting for them to see things through and emerge victorious. This book is not without casualties — some were predictable, and a few came as a surprise.
Australia-based, small press publisher Cohesion Press, the publisher of this novel, specializes in action-based military and creature-based speculative fiction. I had a bit of a challenge obtaining a copy of this book to read as Cohesion has undergone a reorg of their distribution into the United States. These issues seem to be cleared up now, as I was finally able to order the book from my favorite local book store without a hitch back in November.
It’s difficult to write a review of a thriller like this without giving too much away. Suffice to say that there is plenty of action and adventure to keep the reader’s blood flowing, and I was thoroughly intrigued by the small bites of Maori culture sprinkled throughout this book. It was a delightful change of pace for me to have a glimpse into that world, and I hope Ms. Murray is able to continue to infuse her work set in New Zealand with indigenous people and cultures. There are hints that this may evolve into a series featuring Sgt. McKenna; I look forward to more news and further developments.
I highly recommend Into The Mist to anyone with a taste for action and adventure, with a few chills along the way. As a pleasant surprise, Into The Mist made the preliminary ballot for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards. Congratulations to Ms. Murray for the nomination, and best of luck in the balloting!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.