Pros: Excellent characters and world-building
Cons: *grumble* semi-cliffhanger *grumble*
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Darren D. Byer’s Casimir Bridge (Anghazi Series Book 1) is the story of Mandisa (Mandi) Nkosi. She’s a journalist who covered an intense fight in a Nigerian town, only to have her superiors block the story with no warning. Mr. Andrews (of a company called TSI; he has now gone into politics) and his fixer, Erik Hallerson, have been bankrolling the current Euramerican Coalition president. Unfortunately they aren’t getting their money’s worth from him, and he’s started to do some foolish things. Meanwhile, on the planet of Eridani Prime (it has an Earth-like atmosphere), Jans Mikel, head of a rival corporation (AIC), is making progress turning Eridani into a bustling metropolis. AIC has lost a handful of ships to unknown causes fairly recently. Mikel not only knew the crews on those ships, but his not-quite-wife, Sophia, was on the latest of them. This time there’s evidence of an attack. Meanwhile, Danny (Jans’ head of security and number two) believes that they have a serious leak in the company.
It took me some time to warm up to Mandi as a character, but then I’m not overly fond of pushy journalist characters. I definitely came to like her as things went on. Although she keeps running into people who know or know of her mother Gisela, Mandi hates her mother for leaving her as a child. The entire text was very coy about dribbling out hints regarding Gisela, and when it looks like we’re finally going to find out what’s going on there, the author conveniently gives us a “to be continued”. ARGH. It’s a comparatively small cliffhanger, but well, patience is not my virtue. I also have some memory problems, so I’ll inevitably forget to look for the follow-on, or I’ll remember but then be unable to remember half of what was in the first book. It doesn’t help that in Casimir Bridge the author is remarkably coy about any details regarding Gisela, and it gets old. There are questions that characters didn’t ask but should have, as far as I can tell for no reason other than delaying the reveal.
More on characters: I love Andrews’ “fixer”, Erik. He’s smart. He’s technologically savvy. It’s a great break from the typical fixer-character. I also like that Jans Mikel really cares about the people who work for him. Sure he pushes them hard, but he’ll bend over backwards to keep them doing well. Grae is another character I love. At first the attraction between him and Mandi seemed a little forced, but over time I found it easier and easier to buy into. I became very invested in the characters, to the point of shedding a few tears when something bad happened.
Overall, I found myself very invested in the book. I breathed a sign of relief every time the good guys outmaneuvered the bad. There were a couple of coincidences that I found difficult to buy into, but I don’t want to go into spoilers.
I’m annoyed with the semi-cliffhanger. The author has been so very coy with information about Gisela that when we see her in the distance and, boom, he ends the book before we can get anything, it’s annoying and kind of a let-down.
NOTE: Found free on Amazon through review request by publisher