But it's not all that easy, as a beautiful assassin and the Red Dragons gang complicate things.
Glowgems For Profit is a novel in the classic sci-fi adventure style, which is one of the reasons I agreed to review it; I've missed that kind of book in the last few years. Zack is a military veteran who now flies cargo around the solar system in his converted ex-warship, while his body carries the reflex-enhancing remains of bio-engineering experiments conducted on him in a Martian prison. It's the kind of story setup where adventures are sure to follow.
Attempting to pay off his debts by transporting a passenger who prefers to remain incognito, Zack first protects him from the bounty hunter he's trying to escape from, then helps the bounty hunter escape retaliation from those who hired her. The plot then twists and turns through the hunt for a legendary cave of gems, run-ins with gangsters and war criminals and several assassination attempts.
While I liked the setting and the basic plot, I wasn't as impressed by the characters. They were varied and their backgrounds were interesting, but Zack caused most of his problems through poor decision-making, so after a while I couldn't feel much sympathy for him. I would also have kicked his love interest off the ship after a few days, if I'd taken her on board at all.
Most times when Zack put himself into a sticky situation, he seemed to get out too quickly and easily for my taste. For example, he is involved in several gun-fights, but his body enhancements allow him to easily beat multiple attackers; as a result the scenes began to feel superfluous because I knew that he would win and nothing particularly bad would happen to him or the other characters. Some problems that other writers might have kept simmering through an entire series of novels were raised and resolved within a few chapters, such as Zack's past history with the war criminals.
Overall, I liked the story but character behaviour was too flawed for me to give it a top rating. Oddly, at the end I felt that I would prefer to see a prequel covering Zack's experiences in the war than a sequel, I think they could make a good book on their own.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5