Review: “THEM Book Two: Counteraction,” M.D. Massey

Pros: Nice seeing trickery used instead of always brute force
Cons: I want to understand the bad guys a bit more–especially the monsters
Rating: 4 out of 5

PLEASE NOTE: It’s nearly impossible to write this review of “book two” (volume three) without giving away points from book zero and book one. You have been warned.

SECOND NOTE: This is officially volume three of the series. However, the books started counting from ‘book zero’, making this ‘book two’ while, in fact also being volume three. Start with Book Zero and go from there if you haven’t already.

 

It’s been eight years since the bombs fell and the world went crazy. It made it easier for a number of ‘monsters’ to come from ‘across the Veil’–i.e. another universe. M.D. Massey’s THEM Counteraction: A Scratch Sullivan Paranormal Post-Apocalyptic Action Novel (Volume 3) sheds more light on the monsters this time. We’re also finally reaching the point where there are a number of kids who were born after the apocalypse, or who were rather young at the time and don’t remember much. That makes it somewhat believable that Scratch and his people find a group of kids with three adults, LARPers all, still chugging along as if their game was real. Eventually it becomes clear that the adults just want the kids to have some structure, skill with weapons, and a system of honor that would prevent them from growing up to be like the all-too-human monsters walking the streets. One of those adults, Colin, informs Scratch that he was hunting zombies before the nukes went off. Meanwhile, the bad guys have captured Scratch’s girlfriend, Kara–though not for the obvious reason. Scratch has all-new, more-dangerous enemies to fight. There’s a giant pack of Lycanthropes, and their leader is HUGE. There’s a new sort of vamp–he can control people to follow his wishes, and unlike the nosferatu, he’s far from ugly. Scratch ends up having to get clever–the ‘thropes will get them if the vampires don’t, unless Scratch pulls some serious creativity out.

 

It was surprising to see Scratch pull off a ‘stupid bad guy’ trick despite being a good guy–i.e., leaving an enemy with a gun with one shot so he can kill himself. That really didn’t seem his style; he comes off as pragmatic most of the time.

Now that Aidan has visited the facility he and Gabby got treated at, he’s changed. He didn’t gain some of the more interesting abilities, but his reaction time and endurance went through the roof. And of course Bobby, who’s a young ‘runt’ of a lycanthrope, sees Scratch as his Alpha. I love that he handles this mostly by saying, “sure, Boss!” instead of some over-the-top wolf thing. (We’ve already had the latter in series after series.)

How I ever decided that killing zombies was a career choice was beyond me.

Now the stakes go up: Giant centuries-old lycanthrope; hypnotizing, lightning-fast vampire whose plans must be stopped lest he unleash hell on earth. There’s even a Rabbi with a golem.

I could have done without the ‘guy code’ references, but that’s just me. I wanted to see more with Gabby, but in some cases it seems like Scratch is over-sheltering her.

All in all I enjoyed this zombie tale.

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