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Death's Head Paperback – May, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the NARC Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A self-confessed science fiction and fantasy devotee, Mel Keegan is known for novels across a wide range of subjects, from the historical to the future action-adventure ... but certainly MK is best known for the NARC series, featuring iconic characters Jarrat and Stone. Mel lives in South Australia with an eccentric family. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Heretic Books (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0854492909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854492909
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,011,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lucas on February 3, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am glad I found and purchased this book. The quality of the storytelling is pretty good, it kept me absorbed and turning the pages three nights in a row, up past my bedtime so I was tired at work the following mornings.
There are two protagonists in the book, Stoney and Jarrat, officers in NARC. They are like futuristic sci-fi versions of the DEA. Keegan is obviously a sci-fi aficionado, the descriptions of the high-tech weaponry, armor and spaceships were very illustrative and added a lot to the story.
The plot - and subplots - were well done. The main plot involves bringing down a drug-running crimelord, Mavvik. Jarrat starts the story out undercover, and of course everything that can go wrong goes wrong, and the heros have to help each other out of various scrapes. The other major plot is the relationship between Jarrat and Stone. The tension between the two was great for most of the book. It kept me waiting and excited about when they finally get together, and was one of the reasons I kept turning the pages. The payoff in that regard was good but not as climactic as I was hoping, although I'm not sure I can put my finger on why. Maybe it should have waited until book 2 (which I haven't read yet but fully intend to), just because it would have built anticipation even more, and in a way distracted from the plot.
The most well done character was, in my opinion, Evelyn. She is a minor character who serves a critical role, and seemed to be the most realistic, well-drawn of the bunch. The most relatable, perhaps. The dynamic between her, her younger brother, and each of the characters she interacts with was tangible.
The sex scenes were explicit, but did not overwhelm the story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book, it's so refreshing to see a gay themed (not the entire theme mind you) fantasy novel that isn't just sex and nonsense. This book was good fun to read through and I just had to get the second one to continue along with. I was impressed with the plot, twists, turns and different kind of relationship that's portrayed between to gay male lovers. Above all it was refreshing to find a gay male book written by a guy that understand that two gay men are meant to be equal and that both play upon their individual strengths to make them both stronger together. Overall I thought this was a breath of fresh air and a fun read all the way through. My only suggestions for improvement though are to diversify the villains a bit more and remove a couple of the sex scenes which I felt (maybe 2) that weren't really needed to improve the plot of the story.

Other than that I would really love to see alot more novels like this one with strong central gay male leads and you know an actual story that's fun!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
DEATH'S HEAD by Mel Keegan

The origin story for the NARC series, Mel Keegan uses this novel to introduce the main set of characters, the background of the narcotics squad, NARC (the RC is riot control) and the premise for the empathic connection between the two main characters, Jarrat and Stone. This will be the "bumpy ride" Bette Davis's Eve told you to fasten your seatbelt for -- the intricacies of the plot, the thoroughly thought out world building, and the complex characterization not only of the main players in the book but the many lesser yet no less vital characters that enrich this exciting story, all combine to make this a book you will not be able to put down until the breathless end.

A criminal organization, Death's Head, is spread a highly addictive and deadly narcotic called "Angel". It takes over your brain and senses and gives you what you perceive as perfect joy. But in little time it ravages your body and mind, and you die. Jarrett and Stone are officers on the NARC starship from very different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common - well, two - their dedication to NARC and the fact that each is secretly really into the other. They are on the planet Chell to look into the source of Angel. When Stone goes undercover he is captured and made an Angel addict. Jarrett goes in search of him, finds him more or less a simpleton at a controversial neurologist's compound, and agrees to let his mind be empathically l inked with Stone's as the only way to break the addiction. In and around the exciting, frightening, and violent story you become acquainted with how the two men can communicate automatically and serve as rescue beacons for each other. One of the things they learn right away is how they each feel about the other.
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By Jeep Tenk on October 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Narc series is chronicled over four novels and a novella (NARC 3 1/2), published over a wide span of years, from 1991 to 2007.
The narrative style is uneven, but improves somewhat towards the end of the series - the author tends to forget that the reader is not inside his head and privy to his thoughts.

The two narcotics agency enforcers and co-captains of space carrier 'NARC Athena', Kevin Jarrat and Jerry Stone, are lovers. In a high-tech, inter-galactic society they fight and crush 'Angel' cartels, Angel being a devastatingly lethal drug. Each of the books of the series deals with the eradication of a cartel on a colony world; the final book with a cartel on the home world. The books are written over a sort of template, which can become somewhat tedious and repetitive.
There are interesting, even likeable, characters in the books and loads of action. There are too much emphasis on guns for my taste, but that could just be me.
I like that the sex episodes are not over the top and fits naturally into the story line.

I am in doubt whether to give three or four stars, but as I bought all five books and read them with some enjoyment, I think three stars would be a bit harsh, so four it is. Could I, like Mel Keegan, use 3 1/2 I'd do that.

I have trouble reconciling myself with the fact that this is the author of 'Fortunes of War' (1995); 'Fortunes' being far the better book, in my opinion - I even included it in my listmania on Amazon.com. But Mel Keegan's authorship is very uneven, encompassing books that are downright annoying and amateurish, at least to me.

NARC 1: Death's Head 1991
NARC 2: Equinox 1993
NARC 3: Scorpio 2004
NARC 3 1/2: Stopover 2007
NARC 4: Aphelion 2007

This book is bought by me as paperbacks on Amazon.co.uk
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