High Octane
by Kathleen Scott, futuristic (2010)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-897-0


Major Geneieve Lockhart and her team of Jumpers - folks who "jump" through dimensions while on missions - are on their way back to the jump port of the Didan Provinces when they are suddenly attacked by ships of at that point unknown origins. They are on a mission to trade with the Didan folks for precious fuel, but it looks like they may have ended up caught in some kind of civil war between the local political factions. She fears that they would all be decimated when rescue arrives from an unexpected quarter. A merc ship shows up to rescue them.

She repays the help by charging around demanding to see the captain or she will shoot everybody. Nice. It turns out that the captain is Dante Brown, her lover until he went MIA and was presumed by all to be a traitor. Naturally Genie starts waving her gun and shrieking that she's arresting him while he looks at her in bemusement and asks her whether she's better off making sure that her people are safe as he takes them all back to safety.

The pattern of Genie behaving like an over-emotional addled twit continues for the rest of the story. Ugh. I don't know why some authors make it a habit to annoy me with their so-called "competent" heroines that behave like nitwits. She antagonizes Dante, doesn't seem capable of stopping to take stock of a situation she is in, and is incapable of obeying orders. As for Dante, of course he is not a traitor - he faked his death a while back in order to go undercover for a top secret mission. But because we need conflict, he won't tell her the important details of his mission. As if Genie needs any more excuse to behave like an out-of-control hysterical dingbat.

High Octane could have fun if the conflicts between the hero and the heroine aren't so contrived and the heroine has actually behaved like a competent person of authority for once. This story has some interesting potential, but the characters' silliness kills any chance of High Octane delivering the adrenaline rush.

Rating: 66


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