So, usually, I have an order of operations on my reviews, but gosh, this book caught me off guard. I have so much to say. First of all, how did I not realize that Holliday is addicted to coffee? Welcome back to Empire City!
Title: Pieces of Eight
Author: Peter Hartog
Release: June 2021
Genre: Technothriller, Sci-Fi, Crime Fiction
Some secrets never die. When the mutilated corpse of an ex-con is found in the bowels of an old church, haunting Biblical verses scrawled at the crime scene speak of divine retribution, and a killer hellbent on revenge. For Special Crimes detective Tom “Doc” Holliday doesn’t need his fickle clairvoyance to see that a murder like this is only the beginning. With few leads and fewer suspects, Holliday and his quirky team of paranormal specialists embark upon an investigation that will lead them down a dark and twisted path, and test the bonds of family and friendship.
The sequel to Bloodlines is the definition of a sequel. Hartog stays TOTALLY true to the characters but the magnitude of the plot, the evil of the bad guys and the depth of the storyline is epic! Like a sequel should be.
It was a perfect transition from one book to the other. Hartog gives new readers info about the first book without info dumping. You don’t have to read the first book in order to understand this one, but read the first one anyway! The books together paint a “complete” picture of our main character, Det. Holliday and highlight even more details of Empire City. You get to meet and be reintroduced to much loved characters and get right back into the fight with Holliday.
Pieces of Eight is a masterfully written investigative story with sci-fi and techno elements that blend perfectly, again. Bloodlines was the same, but Pieces of Eight takes it to a whole other level. Hartog is a master of twisting the dagger. A master of tricking the reader into thinking they know what the heck is going on in the book. A master of creating the oddest, most skin crawling, deranged villains, monsters and even humans who will give you nightmares.
As for characters, Deacon is my favorite, still, but I love how Holliday brings balance. A book full of a mean cuss can be grating so Holliday’s insecurity and, occasional naiveté is refreshing and shows how human he is. Every character is used as a balancing point for one another. They are perfectly incompatible but also monstrously important to one another’s growth and happiness. It’s wild to see these characters being so different yet so necessary for one another.
The setting and the tech impressed yet again. I loved how they used all the advancements and then there were the supernatural elements. Hartog keeps it simple by using or repurposing many elements that we’re familiar with in sci-fi. No need to reinvent the wheel but again, the way the characters use each item or power makes it feel just right. I loved the magic powers that the characters had. I won’t give those away, some grow and change, but read the first book to be introduced to those and you’ll love the developments in Pieces of Eight.
I have one, small complaint about this book. I found some of the monologues, especially those that came during action sequences, were a little too long. As Holliday and his team are getting to the fight, I don’t want 2-3 pages of Holliday’s inner thoughts as much as I want to see them kick butt! I understand the format that Hartog is going for, the book truly reads like a movie, and I understand the importance of these moments, but they are just a tad bit too long for me, an action addict!
Other than that, this book checks all the boxes. Detectives, investigations, awesome tech, beautiful settings, cool supernatural powers, stunning fight scenes and shoot outs, creepy monsters, evil humans, unpredictable villains, serious family drama, strong and smart female characters, male characters with upstanding morals, and the list could go on and on. Although sophisticated, the book is easy to read from a grammar and technical perspective as well.
I am now a dedicated fan of Peter Hartog and I strongly recommend Pieces of Eight as well as Bloodlines (Book 1). I think you will love everything about this series!