Bombs and Buddies: Review of “The Enemy of My Enemy” by Richard Bard

We have gunfights, of course–and explosions and bombings and cave-ins and hostage situations and torture and more

enemy of my enemy coverRichard Bard’s second Brainrush installment, The Enemy of My Enemy, is an honest-to-goodness page-turner. Brainrush 2 is like a sci-fi action flick with a director who never yells “cut!”. If you love evil villains, good guys in extreme peril, and an intense stream of confrontations, then this is the novel for you.

Lead actor Jake Bronson is an unlikely superhero who leads a delightful cast of capable friends into ever-escalating catastrophes. Wherever he goes, trouble follows. Wild chases involving cars, boats, and airplanes propel Bronson through a series of incredible encounters. Along for the ride are Jake’s new love, Francesca, as well as an aspiring actress, a brilliant tech guy who loves her, an Aussie Ranger, two USAF mavericks, a former Mexican gang lord (and compatriots), an ex-LAPD tactician, a reluctant teacher (or is he?), and two children and a guide dog. Each of these characters plays a key role in one scene or another.

Did I mention action? We have gunfights, of course–and explosions and bombings and cave-ins and hostage situations and torture and more. A nuclear weapon. Iranian militants. A mysterious arch-villain who was thought to have died in the first Brainrush. But let’s not forget this thriller’s driving force: an intriguing alien artifact that’s a twin to the one featured in that first installment. There’s also a crucial component of that original artifact–small enough to fit in Jake’s pocket and powerful enough to change the future of mankind.

Is it all a little preposterous at times?

Yes, of course it is. And I’m sure that’s part of Bard’s design, to ratchet-up the level of wide-eyed wonder for his readers at the depth of his imagination. And yet, similar to the way Roddenberry always insisted that Star Trek’s technology feel believable, so does Bard weave a fabric of feasibility. He dares his readers to believe, and we willingly accept his challenge.

His writing stays tight and vivid. He carries his motley crew through their adventures with careful attention to detail and timeline. He switches up the pace, though it’s always in one high gear or another. He offers just enough description of the ever-changing settings to keep you in the picture, without ever detouring into flowery meanderings. And he rarely takes the easy way out when his characters are ensnared in yet another seemingly impossible trap.

Now, let me add that this really isn’t my preferred genre. I’m a nuts-and-bolts thriller lover. Give me Jack Reacher plodding along a barren highway in the Dakotas, headed for unseen trouble ahead at a lonely roadside diner, and I’m enthralled. I could read another chapter of Travis McGee taking his retirement in installments any time, if only John D. MacDonald was still alive. Nor am I much of a fan of kids and dogs in danger. But Bard makes it all work.

I read the original Brainrush about a year ago, when I found it deeply discounted. I remember enjoying the tale and making a note to watch for the next novel. Recently, another Amazon promotion pushed the sequel back onto my radar, and I’m glad it did. In this new Wild West of publishing, you have to be careful with low-priced novel offerings–sometimes you’re gonna get no more than what you’ve paid for. Well, whatever the price I paid for this series so far, it wasn’t enough to compensate this author and his editorial team for the quality delivered.

As soon as I finished reading The Enemy of My Enemy, I paid full price for Brainrush 3, Beyond Judgement, without hesitation. In fact, I could hardly wait to read it. If you haven’t read the first installment, go find it now. That’s the one that transformed Richard Bard from struggling Indie author to a Thomas & Mercer publishing star. If, like me, you read the original but forgot to seek out Brainrush 2–don’t wait any longer. You’ve missed enough of the action, so hop aboard and enjoy the ride.

Highly recommended. Five Stars  * * * * *

The Enemy of My Enemy (Brainrush 2) 2013 by Richard Bard. 407 pages, Thomas & Mercer

» Have you read any of Bard’s Brainrush installments? What did you think?


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  1. At this moment I am going away to do my breakfast, afterward having
    my breakfast coming over again to read additional news.

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