Crash (Inspector of the Cross, book 6), by John B. Rosenman [Review]

“A pleasant and engaging read that I highly recommend for sci-fi and adventure fiction fans.”

This is my first foray into the works of John B. Rosenman, who creates fascinating characters and intricate plots, resulting in an enjoyable and captivating novel.

The intriguing opening of Crash finds the protagonist badly injured after his spacecraft crashes on a desolate planet. The inhabitants, whose ancestors were colonists there centuries ago, provide medical attention and rebuild his mangled face. Unfortunately, he cannot remember who he is or why he came to the planet. He is welcomed into the community of “Grays,” who are one faction in a hundred-year war against the “Blacks,” who were part of the same colonization effort. Now, they only try to kill each other.

This setting makes for some interesting political commentary as our hero, known as the Visitor, tries to figure out his new world and tries to regain his memory. (This is book #6 in the Inspector of the Cross series, so readers who already know the hero will likely figure out who it is, but new readers, like me, picking it up in this book will find the mystery intriguing.) There is an attractive doctor, a stern commanding officer, and a host of characters that add color to the broad history of the colony on Masada. 

The middle portion of the book drags a bit as the author gives us a Romeo and Juliet story of two teens from the opposing camps who find young love amidst the conflict. Then the author gets down to the reveal of what’s really happening and who the Visitor really is. There is a complex back story and some convoluted interactions between the hero and the ultimate villain. There are two climax scenes and then another reveal that leads into the next book. The author provides us with glimpses and references to events from the earlier books in the series, which provides appropriate context. This story stands on its own even if you have not read the earlier books (as I have not) Then, the next adventure is clearly foreshadowed at the conclusion.

Impressions: The Visitor and his love interest, Dr. Angela Marsh, are the most interesting and deepest characters. Most of the others are somewhat one-dimensional, except for the villain, who is multi-dimensional. The story seems to be one thing, then morphs quickly into something else, leaving a few loose ends, but setting up as many new story lines for the next book. There is one semi-graphic sex scene, but the rest of the book is very PG-13, which is fine as it reads very smoothly. I noticed a few copy editing issues, which I’m sure the author will correct in later editions. Overall, this is a pleasant and engaging read that I highly recommend for sci-fi and adventure fiction fans.

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