Thursday, October 27, 2016

New Release and Review: Salt in the Water by S.Cushaway and J. Ray

Blurb: There are a thousand ways to die in the desert-- desperate outlaws, deadly predators, murderous elements, and betrayal. . .
Kaitar Besh, a veteran scout as legendary for his cynicism as his skills, is ordered to brave the deadly Shy'war-Anquai desert one last time. Escorting Leigh Enderi-- a greenhorn Enforcer with a reputation as shady as his own-- he soon realizes the ghosts of his past have come to haunt more than his nightmares.

When the mission breaks down in the wake of bitter hatred and mistrust, even Kaitar's fabled skills may not be enough to bring them home again. Stranded in the red wasteland without contact, food, or water, they uncover a betrayal that could bring all they hold dear crumbling to the dust. . . and tear down the wall of lies surrounding them.
Review: Salt in the Water is one of the best dark Science Fiction books I've read in some years. Kaitar Besh is an Enforcer, one of the few who roam the desert trying to keep the peace in a world full of violence and cruelty. When he and Leigh Endari, a rookie Enforcer, are sent on a mission to find a missing fellow Enforcer, everything goes wrong that could go wrong. It doesn't help that the two mistrust each other from longstanding ethnic hatreds or there are multiple dangers in the desert threatening them at any moment.
The story progresses through the happenstances of various characters, both back at the town and those who the Enforcers encounter on the mission. There are some truly evil people, others who are just trying to get by, some who've been trodden upon, and pretty much the span of human existence. Yet the authors have finely drawn each personality. Even those you end up hating are indelibly etched upon your mind and I found myself reliving the story over and over. 
Kaitar is a mystery that you want to solve. Hints of his prior existence are woven in throughout the book, each piece adding to the puzzle of the man and leaving you, the reader, wanting more.
The worldbuilding is just excellent. As you read, you can feel the grit in your mouth from blowing sand, or the fear engendered by the threks tracking across the desert. (Not telling what a threk is as I don't want to spoil it).
I was lucky enough to get an ARC copy of Salt in the Water in exchange for an honest review.  I begged and got an ARC copy of Ghost in the Glass, the next book, because this series is sooooo good.