Release date: December 23, 2010
More info: Amazon
The first bullet is always free. After that, you gotta pay.
Zero Dog Missions, Book 1
After accidentally blowing up both a client facility and a cushy city contract in the same day, pyromancer and mercenary captain Andrea Walker is scrambling to save her Zero Dogs. A team including (but not limited to) a sexually repressed succubus, a werewolf with a thing for health food, a sarcastic tank driver/aspiring romance novelist, a three-hundred-pound calico cat, and a massive demon who really loves to blow stuff up.
With the bankruptcy vultures circling, Homeland Security throws her a high-paying, short-term contract even the Zero Dogs can’t screw up: destroy a capitalist necromancer bent on dominating the gelatin industry with an all-zombie workforce. The catch? She has to take on Special Forces Captain Jake Sanders, a man who threatens both the existence of the team and Andrea’s deliberate avoidance of romantic entanglements.
As Andrea strains to hold her dysfunctional team together long enough to derail the corporate zombie apocalypse, the prospect of getting her heart run over by a tank tread is the least of her worries. The government never does anything without an ulterior motive. Jake could be the key to success…or just another bad day at the office for the Zeroes.
Warning: Contains explicit language, intense action and violence, rampaging zombie hordes, a heroine with an attitude and flamethrower, Special Forces commandos, ninjas, apocalyptic necromancer capitalist machinations, absurd parody and mayhem, self-deluded humor, irreverence, geek humor, mutant cats, low-brow comedy, and banana-kiwi-flavored gelatin.
I was intrigued by the premise, and enjoyed the story and the characters, but didn't love it. The comedy felt over the top at times though we are warned up front that it contains sarcasm and parody (and oh, does it ever! :D). The team is made up of wise ass, joking misfits who seem mostly unacquainted with the concept of discipline. There was so much comedy that the jokes started to get tiresome. Still, the story moves along at a brisk pace and there are some very funny lines - "The scene drowned in cloying cuteness...and yet the show didn't come with an airsick bag."; "A woman needs a man like a corpse needs Viagra" ( I cracked up at that one), "Hell, a rampaging horde of menopausal lemmings would be more of a challenge." and perhaps my favorites, "God, she was awesome. Of course, she'd come here to kill him, which put a bit of a damper on his hard-on." and "Let's face it. Evil people need love too." :P Melton does have a knack for using humor to show us insight into a character or point out the asburdities in a genre.
Most of the story's tension does not come from the bad guy as he was more of a comedic bad guy. He never felt like a real threat but I did like his geekiness. He wasn't your typical "Dark Overlord" and I did like that, even if he never felt completely believable. The main tension comes from the Zero Dog's captain, Andrea Walker, and the US government advisor, Captain Jake Sanders. There's professional tension as there's the ever-present possibility that Jake might replace Andrea as leader of the Zero Dogs and personal tension as they deal with their attraction to each other and all the complications that entails, including the professional ones.
Overall, The Zero Dog War is a fun book, easy to read, a little light on characterization but definitely worth picking up and I will most likely read the next one when it comes out.
PDF was received from the author for review.