Season of the Harvest, by Michael R. Hicks
Mr. Hicks is another of those self-published authors that the Kindle is so good for, and, as many of them do, he has released this, the first book in a series, for free. He has a few other series too, which also have the first installment available for free.
Season Of The Harvest starts off as a crime thriller, in which a policeman's best friend - another policeman, of course - is killed while investigating a subversive group. Our Hero is told not to investigate the crime - he is, of course, too emotionally involved. But predictably, he does, he unearths corruption and then conspiracy, before being rescued from The Conspiracy by the very group he thought he was investigating. Of course, it turns out that that group are the good guys, he joins them, and saves humanity.
So far, so not particularly original.
It turns out that The Conspiracy that they are fighting against is very old, very evil, very powerful - and infeasible. There are only a dozen or so in the inner circle, with a large number of useful idiots working for them, and I do not believe that such a setup can be stable. Conspiracies always fail, because people are no damned good at keeping secrets, and doubly so when they know - and they know because they are being bribed or blackmailed - that the secret they are keeping is Bad and Naughty.
But I can brush that under the mental carpet, as Hicks tells his story so very well. It's a real page turner, running at just the right pace to make you want to keep turning the page until oh dark thirty in the morning without resorting to vast amounts of spurious shooting and explosions, and even though the nature of the conspiracy, and much of the science underpinning it, is preposterous (the science is so silly that I thought quite hard before tagging this review as sci-fi), I very much enjoyed this book. It's trash, quite predictable, but it's very enjoyable trash, and at the price you'd be a fool not to read it.
So why not five stars? The science. And more particularly, the anti-science diatribe in an afterword, in which he attempts to paint genetically modified organisms in the blackest of black, and of course wants to associate them with the fictional evil conspiracy his heroes have just averted. I don't particularly object to science and technology being a bit silly in a fictional work, but I do object when it is either so wrong as to mislead people about the real world, or the author is trying to push a (wrong) agenda. Here, he does both. And for that, just like I did a while ago in my review of Nevil Shute's "On The Beach", I deduct one star.