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The Drifter Paperback – July 12, 2016
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About the Author
Stephen A. North is a Florida native. He has a BA in English Literature from USF. He served in the Army Reserve as a military policeman from 1984 to 1990. His first "real" job was making camera bellows when he was sixteen. From there he worked in the fast food industry, a book store, then three major retailers.
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Top customer reviews
Drifter reads like a first-person shooter. Even when Cray awakes out of stasis there is the feel of a video game character re-spawning. To further add to this comparison, the story was written in the present tense which makes the action feel immediate, and there is a lot of action! If Cray isn’t blasting his way toward an alien stronghold, then he’s knocking heads in a bar or clubbing mutants with a length of pipe. There are just enough lulls between ass-kickings for the reader to catch their breath and the story to move forward.
If you’re in the mood to read some fast-paced, action-packed science fiction set on alien worlds that feel solidly real, Drifter has it. Cray is what you crave.
As our killer manages to make it through his mission still breathing, though bloodied and bruised, he decides that the opportunity to start over with a program offered by one of the mega-corporations that have off world colonies is his best bet. They offer a memory wipe and a chance to scrub the dirt off your hands and your soul. Unfortunately, Mace doesn't appear to get the full treatment, and on top of that, the colony he ends up somewhere uptime is in a state of disarray. Bombs have been dropped, mutants are running wild, and gangs of marauders are running the place. On top of that, it seems that plenty of people know who Mace is, and are very interested in taking advantage of his unique talents as a hardened killer. But Mace has other ideas in mind, especially when he meets up with a woman on the run who he decides is worth protecting and fighting for, no matter how difficult it may be to keep her safe and alive.
The Drifter is a faced paced, present tense tale about a man who is part futuristic cowboy and part knight errant. Mace lives by his own code, even in a universe that seems determined that he get sucked back into the dark world he used to inhabit time and time again. The story is hard to pin down, since it has a noir-ish flavor to it, with a touch of Blade Runner thrown in. In addition to that, it has an apocalyptic edge as well. Mace travels a world that has been turned upside down by massive destruction and it has an almost wild west feel to it. It almost seems that there is always something more, something hidden from his vision, just around the corner, and it is hard to guess at who he can and should trust at any given moment. The character is fun, ballsy, and brash, and it was easy for me to grow attached to him as he tries to come to grips with memories that have faded alongside those that haven't, which include most of the ones related to his dark past.
A fun, rock `em, sock `em tale, North has created a character that I hope to see again...and again. Mace is a hard case on a mission, and God help anyone who stands in his way.
I wont go into any spoilers, as you really should go into this tale blind. Just be prepared to be surprised with the antagonist, a man who has more dignity than he gives himself credit for, who is not your average killing machine but rather a complex human being who may remind you that humanity is not necessarily lost in some people so much as it is found lingering near the shadows within, willing to break into the harsh light of reality when it needs to and remind us of who we really are, even if we think that who we really were is dead and gone. Mr. North's Drifter may be drifting from place to place, but he is also drifting between selves, and I hope that in the end he arrives at the right one safe and sound.