Throwback Review: Zero-G by Alton Gansky

Zero-G by Alton Gansky
Genre: Suspense
Release Date: November 2007
Publisher: Zondervan
Reviewed by Josh Olds

To boldly go where no man has gone before…  That’s the job of Benjamin “Tuck” Tucker, Space Shuttle Commander. Problem is, his crewmates must’ve been wearing red shirts. He awakes in a daze, unsure of what knocked him out. Never a good thing while in space. With his mind clouded, Tuck realizes that something has gone horribly wrong. He launched a Space Shuttle and landed a hearse. An investigation would blame a certain medicine as the reason for his crewmates’ death.

Fast forward one year. NASA has pretty much grounded Tuck, who is hailed a hero for his valiant, if failed, efforts. In steps Ted Roos, video game designer and head of SpaceVentures, Inc., a company poised to make the first commercial space flight. Roos asks that Tuck command the inaugural journey and Tuck agrees. But space is a dangerous place, his crewmates’ death a year ago might not have been an accident, and there could still be a killer gunning for him.

Zero-G by Alton Gansky has the right premise. Biological warfare? Check. Space travel? Check. A brilliant yet psychotic killer? Yessir. Unfortunately, I don’t think Gansky pulls this one off. Even though a major plot point is about biological warfare, Gansky says very little about it other than it kills people. The book would have benefitted from some research in this area.

Gansky also has a habit in this book of killing off random people to, I suppose, heighten the suspense of the biological warfare. Instead it comes off as a disjointed scene having little or no connection to the rest of the book. Lastly, the book, in my opinion, is a bit heavily preachy. I’m not against having a book containing Christian thematic elements, as a matter of fact I love it, but in Zero-G it’s written to an almost unnatural and awkward point. The various other side plots also seem to have very little connection to the story.

I wanted to like Zero-G, I really did. And it does have its bright points. I loved the witty banter that several of the characters engaged in. The character of Ted Roos is outstandingly written. The killer is deranged and psychotic. I just don’t think it was pulled together all that well.

If you’re in the mood to read an Alton Gansky novel, check out his J.D. Stanton mysteries, or The Prodigy, those are excellent. If space excites you, read Oxygen by John Olsen and Randy Ingermanson. If biological warfare is what you want, pick up Robert Liparulo’s Germ. Unless you’re a hardcore Gansky fan, you may want to pass on this one.

Review copy provided by Zondervan.

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