A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a book cover for an upcoming release. It was bold, it was daring, it was…straight out of the 1950’s and ’60’s. Back in the Golden Age of Science Fiction, all the book covers had similar vibes. A sense of the unknown mixed with flash and wonder. A robot here or there for effect and some futuristic silver spaceship. And of course, our hero, in a ready-to-act pose and a boyish, yet rogue grin. I was hooked. Book covers aren’t supposed to sell books, I reminded myself as an author. But this one did. I loved the old sci-fi books my dad had on the bookshelf as I was growing up — quick little reads with the promise of so much more.
So what book was it? Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese.
I hadn’t read any of Kroese’s books before this one, but I think I’ll have to go back and read some now. I was drawn in fairly quickly by the world Kroese built, complete with anti-hero Rex Nihilo. From the get-go the audience is thrust into a well-built story with all the trappings of a fantastic recurring character.
The following is my Amazon review:
After reading Robert Kroese’s Starship Grifters, I came to one conclusion: everyone in the 31st century is an idiot. Rex Nihilo is either the smartest man alive, or a Forrest Gump of a con artist, lucky enough to stay alive in the face of ridiculously deadly circumstances. I’m still not sure — I’ll get back to you on that.
In fact, the only one in Rex’s world that seems to have any brains is his robot, Sasha, who is programmed to turn herself off whenever she actually has an original thought. In a world like that, Rex seems to surround himself with the power players of the galaxy who all turn out to be bumbling morons.
I don’t often laugh at the books I read, but I found myself chuckling, chortling, at times flat-out guffawing — at times uncontrollably — at Kroese’s humor placed in the best places in the story.
At the end of the story, we do get answers to questions I wasn’t sure we were asking, but it certainly paved the way for more Rex Nihilo books, which I will gladly shell out money for whenever Mr. Kroese decides to write them.