Author: K.A. Bachus
Title: Cetus Wedge
Genre: Espionage suspense / Thriller
A mercenary agent, code-named Stephen Donovan, walks into work at the Section, a private government-linked spy business, to a promotion. He is being given the job of babysitter, the logistics coordinator for missions. But his training mission, Cetus Wedge, may be more than he bargained for.
Buddy, his predecessor, takes him along to discover what happened during the unsuccessful mission that ended with nine bodies in the morgue. The pair learn of many truths, lies, and a betrayal that might get them killed, too. And to top it all off, it’s Christmas Eve.
Cetus Wedge by K.A Bachus reads almost like a play. It is dialogue-heavy; most of the information about the characters are learned through the discourses between Frank and Stephen. The story is not stationary in one location, however. The characters move between different settings in Chicago and a home base that is never specified.
Bachus writes beautifully. The descriptions of characters and the scenes are eloquent and exact. It is as if the reader it watching the story instead of reading it. Donovan’s love for flying is tangible through the author’s descriptions and readers can feel his heartbreak over not being a pilot anymore.
Though the main characters—Steve, Frank, and Jay—are distinguishable enough through Bachus’s descriptions, the rest of the enormous cast of characters can be easily confused. In every other chapter, three or four new characters are introduced for a short time. This large number of characters that have dialogue and stories to tell made the plot of the book a challenge to follow.
Steve, who is the book’s narrator, gets only secondary knowledge of the four or five men the mission instructs to find, does not meet them until the very end, and has no emotional ties to any of them. This lack of relationships diluted the tension. Frank had worked with all of them and seemed to function as the focal point of the plot, so there wasn’t as much of a sense of real danger or urgency to the plot twists as there could have been.
The narration was entertaining, however. Steve was sarcastic and witty, and he felt like a multi-layered character. Bachus weaved Steve’s personal thoughts and story effortlessly throughout the events and dialogue with Frank and other characters. Even if readers may feel a tad lost in the plot, the well-placed humor will keep them engaged in the story.
The Charlemagne timeline could be seen as confusing. Readers might wonder about the significance the other timeframes have to the story at hand since they are not mentioned throughout it.
The plot itself is interesting as well. The stories of Mack that different characters told were entertaining. Had there just been a few less characters with stories about them, the plot would have felt more cohesive, and the readers may be able to follow along easier. The histories that Frank imparts to Steve about the men in the mission file are intriguing and original.
K.A. Bachus is a master of description. Her words will make you feel as if you are at the character’s side, experiencing the action alongside them instead of reading the words on a page. Readers who like character and dialogue-driven plots will enjoy Cetus Wedge.
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