Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc by Ash Bishop
An exciting and wildly fun, and imaginative character-driven story without an overload of tech!
Russ Wesley was a restless wanderer, but when the news came that his beloved grandfather had died, he immediately went home to Evanstown, Wyoming, to be with his grandmother, Norma. His grandfather's business, The Mysterious Universe Bookstore, was a mess: the roof needed replacing, and past rainstorms had ruined quite a bit of stock. Norma had done her best to keep things together, but the bookstore had been Grandpop's endeavor. Now the bank was preparing to foreclose unless she came up with a lot of money soon. Russ began repairs to get the place back up and running, hoping to bring in some cash. He started going through Grandpop's large collection of oddities from around the globe that might serve to generate more income from their sale.
But one night, driving down Route 89, Russ hit a deer. When the critically injured creature ran off into the forested countryside, Russ followed with his rifle to put the animal out of its misery. Russ, truly a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none, had an exceptional talent for marksmanship. He was able to put the deer down from a distance, and as he approached the carcass, he was confronted by a huge cat-like creature that tore the deer in half with one swipe of its massive paw. Russ was also sent flying, hitting his head on the trunk of a tree.
When he regained consciousness, he was surrounded by a group of "hunters." However, their speech was odd, their weapons unusual for hunters, and they were looking for the gigantic cat. But when it returned, it was Russ who saved the day with a single shot. With that show of skill, Russ found himself in an alien ankle monitor and "recruited" to join the Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc., and leave Earth for outer space whether he wanted to or not.
Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc was wildly imaginative and great fun. The dialogue sparkled with wit and snark and had me grinning like an idiot the entire time I was reading the book. I really wasn't prepared to like Russ, his footloose lifestyle and abnegation of responsibility Isn't my thing, but I quickly fell for him and his desire to do right by his grandmother and his friend, Nina. I felt he loved his grandmother and grandfather, and his regret of not being there for them during their time of need set him up to change his ways. Nina obviously loved her parents and was willing to do whatever she could to help them. Both have a compelling reason to get the job on board the Flashaway with its much-needed salary. But their mutual attraction and growing affection for each other create a heartfelt conflict for the characters and a dilemma for the reader over whom to root for. The crew members of the Flashaway were all characters to love. Each had an interesting and distinct personality, and some fun surprises were revealed in their relationships as the story developed.
The author puts the crew through their paces in various exciting scenarios and extermination missions. The planet settings were diverse and well described, and the indigenous creatures were fantastic, shocking, and dangerous; some obviously so, and others, seemingly benign at first, reappeared later to cause problems.
With still so much "territory" to explore, I was delighted with the book's ending because it left things wide open for a sequel. I recommend INTERGALACTIC EXTERMINATORS, INC to scifi readers who like imaginative and exciting character-driven stories without an overload of tech.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from the author through Providence Book Promotions.