Numb / by John Otte. 6.13.2014

Marcher Lord Press     ISBN 9781935929994

Adult Rating: 5

John Otte returns with an adult science fiction novel about a cold-blooded killer whose ability to feel nothing–no emotion or pain–makes him the best assassin. When confronted by a target who causes him to feel emotions, he struggles with whether he can complete his mission or not.

In Numb, Crusader kills under the orders of a futuristic, legalistic church (the Ministrix), bringing about their version of justice to those who oppose the “True Church.” Crusader is reminiscent of those knights who during the Crusades killed in the name of the church to rid the earth of the infidels.

John Otte’s Numb is a wonderful addition to the speculative fiction genre. More science fiction than fantasy, it poses the question: what happens when a cold-blooded killer– one that experiences neither emotion nor pain–meets the one person who causes him to feel emotions again? Will he be able to carry out his mission to kill her? What if by not killing her, he becomes an enemy of the state and puts his personal salvation at risk?

Numb is rich in plot development with twists and turns. The story starts slowly but quickly picks up the pace as Crusader and Isolda are on the run. One could easily see this as a full-length action movie (hint, hint, Hollywood!) that would appeal to both men and women. The relationship between Crusader and Isolda develops into a light romance, but it doesn’t detract from the story. First and foremost, this is an action-adventure. The door is left open for a possible sequel, though most of the loose ends are taken care of by the end of the story.

Recommended for public libraries and high school collections.

Carol R. Gehringer, Worthy2Read.wordpress.com

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