Short Take: “Ghost Walking,” Michael Todd, Michael Anderle

Pros: The plot thickens!
Cons: I’m pretty sure Holly is the wrong kind of chemist…
Rating: 4 out of 5

Michael Todd and Michael Anderle’s novella Ghost Walking: Soldiers of Fame and Fortune, Book 5 is the fifth book in the series Soldiers of Fame and Fortune Full Series Omnibus: 12 Book series. In books one through four, chemist Holly, considering taking a super-dangerous job in the alien jungle called the Zoo, listened to bartender J.B.’s stories. Now, one of those stories has come to find Holly: supposed “ghost” Billie “Wild Bill” Hickok. Apparently she’s noticed that J.B. is sick–very sick–and she owes him her life, so she’s here to pay up. She needs Holly’s skills as a chemist, paired with her own ability to make successful solo trips into the Zoo, to come up with a cure for what ails J.B. The alien jungle is killing him; perhaps it can save him as well.

My one major problem with this one is that we don’t have enough information to make it believable that Holly has the skills for this. Sure, she’s a chemist, but she’s certainly not a doctor. What we’ve seen of her so far is mainly an uncanny palate with regard to alcoholic drinks. That isn’t a background that would enable this new twist to make sense.

My favorite part of this is watching Billie do her thing. She doesn’t have her usual “control” talking her through things, so she starts making up his part on the fly as she goes through spy hijinks. It makes for a simultaneously hilarious and tense set of sequences and I loved it!

In small notes: it was a relief to have one woman chuckle and one snicker, so that they weren’t all giggling. Phew.

We also get a new hint about the Zoo, as Billie points out that, since all the compounds in the jungle seem to have healing and longevity purposes, perhaps the missile was a gift, not an act of war. I’m looking forward to learning more about that. This volume leaves off on a more noticeable “to be continued” than the first four novellas.

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