Review: The Alpha Deception

The Alpha Deception


It’s not Jon Land’s fault that his first Blaine McCracken book left big shoes to fill. How does the second, The Alpha Deception, fare? In it, Blaine McCracken has another crazy adventure as he fights a rogue Soviet general with a death ray and an army of cheap thriller flunkies.

The book starts with a scene where a Hind-D helicopter is treated like it’s some kind of Airwolf-style superweapon. It only gets more ridiculous from there, from a fight with a pet panther to McCracken being subjected to a combination Dr. Evil Deathtrap and Greek mythology reenactment to a giant submarine/crab-mecha.

There’s a few stumbles with the plot. First, the ending is, well, a little Indiana Jones-y, and not in a good way. More important is the plot centered around the villain’s takeover of a small town and the resistance of its residents, which is far less interesting than McCracken’s own exploits (until, of course, they intersect). But those stumbles are very small, and The Alpha Deception maintains all the charm of the first book and then some.


Review: The Omega Command

The Omega Command


Jon Land’s The Omega Command is the first entry in a series of thrillers starring someone with arguably the best thriller protagonist name ever: Blaine McCracken. It starts with a typical cheap thriller plot involving a space shuttle getting blown up, and then goes on a one-way trip to Crazyville, going from New England to Atlanta to secret mercenary islands to supervillain lairs to outer space.

Blaine McCracken is a “Rogue Agent Who Doesn’t Play By The Rules” cliche. The supporting characters are equal mixes of cliches and stereotypes. The plot can basically be described as this conspiracy theory pileup of escalations, swerves, and “twists” without foreshadowing. 80s Computer Technology is involved, and I would feel comfortable in saying that this is a technothriller. However, it is an off-the-wall bonkers goofy ridiculous monster of a technothriller, and I loved it all the more for it.

This was amazing to read. Simply amazing. Not really a “good” book in the true sense of the term, although the action and pacing essential to every cheap thriller were by no means bad. It was a spectacle, and an ridiculous, stupid, bizarre, and somehow totally satisfying spectacle at that.