THE PORTABLE NINE – by Pete Mesling
Publisher: Other Kingdoms Publishing
Available: January 2021
Verdict: 3.25 out of 5.0
Overview: (Courtesy of Goodreads listing) Davenport. Abel Hazard. Miranda Gissing. Dr. Joseph Intaglio. Mr. Bonnet. Twitch Markham. The Butcher. Lovinia Dulcet. Robin Varnesse. These are the Portable Nine. They operate outside the law, but they are not without a code of ethics. Outcasts all, they are heroes to the underdog and enemies of the ruthless. Intelligent and fearless, they will stop at nothing to see that their brand of justice is meted out.
The Good: Mesling has a way with words. His writing is top shelf, as is the drama he weaves. The idea of doing a crime/noir story in the vein of Ocean’s Eleven is intriguing, and the cover is a wonderful appendage. I also found The Black Phantom to be a violent and despicable man based on his past crimes, even if we don’t get enough action from him during this series of events.
The Bad: The story has several stretches that move slowly, and the ending is anti-climatic. The characters also seem underdeveloped, considering how competent and skilled they’re supposed to be; I never felt like they were different from anyone else, aside from the way they spoke of plots.
The Takeaway: Though The Portable Nine lacks excitement, Mesling writes with skill. He can easily expand upon the world portrayed here, and take us on new adventures with the cast he’s introduced. With what’s been alluded in this novel, it’s no wonder Mesling intends on continuing the series. There’s a lot he can work with in a multitude of ways.
> File Under: espionage … spies … hitmen … plots … villains … evil masterminds … crime … noir … drama
> Also Read: Jagged Edges & Moving Parts
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