A Surefire Way by J. T. Bock
Reading level: Adult
e-book: 393 pages
Publisher: PepperLip Press
Release date: January 26, 2012
Series: UltraSecurity #1
Source: Review copy from Paranormal Cravings
Reviewed by: Jenn
UltraAgent Surefire’s plan is simple: Capture the transhuman thief Raven. Win back the respect of her father. Get a raise.
Except Surefire just broke the number one rule of her employer, UltraSecurity, a niche security firm that solves crimes committed by genetically enhanced humans like Raven. She trailed Raven into a warehouse without backup. And something more powerful than any transhuman is waiting inside.
Raven’s plan is simple: Atone for his past crimes. Return stolen spiritual artifacts to restore the world’s balance. Don’t get caught by UltraSecurity.
Until a spunky UltraSecurity agent is suddenly on his tail, although Raven wishes she was on … well, never mind … he can’t get distracted from his mission. Because she’s followed him into a warehouse filled with his reclaimed relics, and Raven’s ex-partner in crime is about to unleash a supernatural-sized complication into his plan.
His old partner has accidentally summoned an Aztec god who will destroy the world unless Raven stops this spirit with a superiority complex. To do this, Raven must team up with Surefire and reveal the truth about his powers, exposing her to a force that can either save the world or destroy them both.
Following Raven into that warehouse throws Surefire into a surreal world filled with moody gods, day-glo skulls, dizzying dimensional portals, maniacal half-roach magicians, and a sexy thief who is more than he appears under his snug t-shirt. Is Raven a criminal, or is he working for a higher power? Surefire needs to be certain, because if she joins him on this mission, she’ll have to surrender everything she believed in for a surefire way to save the world, discover her destiny and find true love.
**Before I start, I want to give a quick thanks to Iris of Paranormal Cravings for letting me be a part of this review tour! You can find the tour schedule at the end of this post if you’re interested in hearing other people’s opinions on A SUREFIRE WAY. And make sure to stick around to the end of the post so that you can enter the giveaway to win your own copy of this novel!**
A SUREFIRE WAY is the first book in the UltraSecurity series from indie author J. T. Bock. UltraSecurity is a private security force group of superhumans (or transhumans) who have come together to protect citizens from evildoers of all sorts. Synthia St. John (code name: Surefire) is a rookie agent whose special ability is the ability to hit whatever she aims at (hence the name). She’s got a lot of issues with her family but she’s determined to prove herself by catching Raven, a non-human thief with a penchant for Aztec artifacts. And because this is a superhero romance, Surefire and Raven fall into the enemies-turned-lovers trope, and their path to love is littered with Aztec gods, dimensional/time travel, and the fate of the world in their hands.
My favourite part of A SUREFIRE WAY is probably the use of Aztec mythology. All too often, authors use familiar gods and myths from the Greek, Roman, or (to a lesser extent) Norse pantheon so it’s refreshing to see some New World gods popping up. I think the last time I read an urban fantasy or PNR with Aztec mythology may be Laurell K. Hamilton’s OBSIDIAN BUTTERFLY, which came out a few years ago (and was awesome!), so it was great to immerse myself in something a bit different. I’m no expert but it seems like Bock has done a great job of researching the history and culture of the Aztecs; you’ll have to judge for yourself if you give A SUREFIRE WAY a shot.
I was also really intrigued by the idea of transhumans and their superpowers. Characters’ abilities seem to be wide-ranging — there are time travellers, people with psychic abilities, pyrokinesis, and more — and it means the possibilities are endless, which must be a lot of fun for Bock since it’s gotten me quite curious about who we might meet in future stories. There’s no clear explanation for how transhumans came to be but I hope it’s something that Bock will delve into in later books. For now, I was happy to have a bit of insight into what it means to be transhuman in the UltraSecurity world.
This would be a lame romance review if I didn’t take some time to discuss the lead characters, Surefire and Raven. Surefire is the third agent to pursue Raven and she’s determined to catch him, even if Raven isn’t quite the dastardly thief she expects him to be. I found him to be quite winning from the get-go but it takes Surefire a bit longer to be won over by his charms. They have some chemistry and their romance is definitely a strong element in A SUREFIRE WAY but I’m glad their sexy time doesn’t take precedence over saving the world, because that’s one thing that really irks me in some novels. Surefire and Raven are falling for each other but they manage to remain fairly focussed on the task at hand: saving the world from Raven’s cousin and ex-partner, Ari.
I’m a sucker for a good superhero story and, I have to say, A SUREFIRE WAY was pretty satisfying. J. T. Bock’s story is a nice superhero romance that reminded me a lot of Jennifer Estep’s Bigtime series in terms of tone. The stakes are high but there’s still time for flirtation and humour. If you’re a fan of the Bigtime books, you should definitely give A SUREFIRE WAY a try. I can also see this appealing to fans of Kelly Meding’s MetaWars books, though those are a bit more serious.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour (scroll down to the bottom):
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