Title: A Thousand Suns
Author: Jim Haberkorn
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (March 12, 2013)
Source: Publisher, in exchange for an honest review
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Every six months a Russian agent arrives at the Rockin’ Rooster saloon in Twin Falls, Idaho to fight local cowboy and laid-off spy Rulon Hurt. To the locals it’s great fun and even to Rulon and his punk wife Yohaba, it’s not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night. But when Rulon saves Boris, the latest Russian, from a gang of local skinheads, a feud ignites that quickly escalates out of control. Eventually an assassin is brought in from Germany, and Rulon is shot and left in a coma. Yohaba and Boris are now alone together. Great minds think alike. They back track the assassin to Zurich with the intent of settling the score. [Goodreads]
ReviewThere is something strangely refreshing about the no nonsense writing style of Jim Haberkorn. It’s nice that there’s not much fluff, just to the point, down and dirty, words on paper to get the story told. And he kept it clean. No foul language, no graphic scenes of any kind. Even Yohaba and Rulon are sickeningly nice. If you head into A Thousand Suns wanting the typical nitty-gritty language, gore, and violence of genre, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s not that I didn’t expect some language, gore and violence, and you do get some gore and violence, but it was pleasant that Haberkorn kept this so PG in a genre that is so easily R-rated. This is a book that a mystery/suspense fan of any age can appreciate and get into.
A Thousand Suns is paced just right, with some humor thrown in for good measure.
“I forgot to call the police. Do you still want me to?” Before Rulon could answer, she started up again. “Why do you do these things? You know I couldn’t live without you. Why are you such an idiot? What were you trying to prove?” [page 59]
Yohaba lay next to him on her back. After a long silence, she asked, “How much do they hate you?”
Half asleep, without opening his eyes, Rulon mumbled, “Oh . . .I’d say with the heat of a thousand suns. Yeah, that sounds about right . . .” [page 96]
I had a hard time liking Rulon, however. There was something that seemed too forced about his character. I liked Yohaba so much better when she was off avenging the attempted murder of Rulon. She was so much stronger, more empowered, had so much more depth and character. Part of my dislike of Rulon is tied to how quickly I tired of how often he and Yohaba threw around the terms of endearment “Darlin’” and “Babe.” It was just all too hokey for my taste.
However, Boris has a special place in my heart. If you can’t love Boris, you’ve got a heart of stone. He’s so great. He’s funny without effort, deeply protective, and likeable. Seriously, Boris is so much fun he needs his own book! I liked the interaction between Mrs. Hurt [Yohaba] and Mr. Zokolov [Boris]. I liked that they had banter, mutual respect, but most of all, I liked their friendship. They worked good together as a team. With real emotions, insecurities, and struggles. The emotional growth and depth of the characters in Part 2 was so strong.
I struggled through Part 1 of the book. It’s not that it wasn’t good, it just didn’t captivate me. There was a desperate lack of action that left me feeling a little anxious for something to happen. Then it does happen, and Part 2 begins. I mean, it’s like the story starts there. I would have liked for Part 1 to have been paced a lot quicker than it was. I understand that there was some story and character building that had to be done, and maybe the relationships and motives in Part 2 wouldn’t have been as strong as they were, but Part 1 just felt too slow. I feel like Haberkorn did his finest work when Runo, Idaho, and the ranch weren’t involved in A Thousand Suns.
The side story about the asteroid/meteor/big-rock-in-the-sky and Einstein added an unusual twist. I’m interested to see what happens next with this. Is there going to be a dooms-day/apocalyptic twist? Is this going to turn into a multi-genre series? I this a series at all? I’m curious. We shall see.
All in all, A Thousand Suns is a solid win. Clever characters with interesting pasts, adventure, and story that once it gets going, never lets up. In short: read this.
Get to reading,