Title: Bullet in the Blue Sky
Author: Bill Larkin
Publisher: Spyglass Press
Publication Date: 4 August 2016
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley
In the chaotic aftermath of a massive earthquake that leveled much of the Los Angeles region, a LAPD deputy chief sends an elite team of detectives on a rescue mission. They are ordered to set aside all law enforcement duties, to ignore the destruction and to focus on one task: Find LAPD Detective Gavin Shaw, who disappeared just before the earthquake.
Kevin “Schmitty” Schmidt of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department joins five others on the rescue team. With rioting, looting, attacks and homicides rampant in the streets, the six cops have to defend themselves while chasing down leads on the whereabouts of Shaw. The mission takes them through the dizzying war zone and the more they encounter, the more they wonder why they are searching for one man in these extreme circumstances. Why is this man so important to the deputy chief, and why now?
Schmitty discovers that others with high connections are also after Shaw. The questions pile even higher when they learn of a shadowy history between Shaw and the deputy chief. A history with deadly consequences for the team as they uncover a threat that elevates the mission to a race against time.
I’m a big believer in judging a book by its cover and that is exactly what I did here. The main reason I picked Bullet in the Blue Sky up is because the cover is absolutely amazing and I’m glad that I did because this kind of book is probably something I would have passed up. It took me a while to warm up to it but once the story got going, it became a pretty good read.
Bullet in the Blue Sky is Bill Larkin’s second full-length novel featuring Orange County Sheriff’s Department detective Kevin “Schmitty” Schmidt. When Los Angeles is decimated by an earthquake, the Deputy Chief of the LAPD sets Schmitty and his team one task: to find and recover LAPD Detective Gavin Shaw. As they battle their way through a city in a ruins where gangs rule the streets, they find that they’re not the only one looking for Shaw and yet no one seems to know why he is so important in a time of such crisis.
It took me a while to get into this book because it seemed a little bit jumpy and all over the place at the start. It read a bit like an apocalypse novel or something like the Walking Dead (but with gangs and street criminals instead of zombies) but I didn’t feel like a lot of what was happening flowed on smoothly. Honestly it felt like a lot of action and adventure thrown in together without a lot of reason for it. Don’t get me wrong, Bill Larkin has a nice, simple and smooth writing style, but it felt like the first half of the book was too stretched out and could have been covered in half the amount of pages.
It took about half way through for the story to take shape for me and once it did, I was glad I stuck through the start. The general plot, once it come together, was quite innovative and different from what I’ve read. I don’t know if the science is true, but it was a fresh take on a terrorist story and actually quite enjoyable. There was a lot of action throughout the book and it was all well-done, but it seemed to serve more of a purpose in the back half of the book.
I think part of my inability to get into the book at the start stemmed from the fact that none of the characters were really explained or developed. For the most part they were just names on the page and that made it hard to connect with them on any real level, with the exception being the main character Schmitty. I feel that this book could be improved with a bit more time being put into developing the characters.
All in all, Bullet in the Blue Sky is a good read with a lot of potential but it took too long to get going for me and the characters were a bit flat. However Bill Larkin has a very nice writing style and his action scenes are well done so I look forward to checking some more of his work, especially the first book in the series Detective Lessons.
Worth a read? If you’re an action-adventure fan and enjoy stories with innovative terrorism plots, then Bullet in the Blue Sky is worth a read. There’s action galore and it took a while for the story to kick in, but once it did, it was a good one.