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Posted on Monday, October 17th, 2011

Dave!People offer to send me free things all the time in the hopes that I'll review their stuff on my blog. I always say "no" because if somebody gives me something, then I feel obligated to say something nice even when it's a lie. Sure it means I have to pay for crap that I could get for zero dollars, but at least then I can say what I really feel.

So when my blogging pal Rob "Diesel" Kroese said he wanted to send me a preview copy of his new book, Mercury Rises, I was torn. On one hand, I really liked his first book, and so I'd probably like the sequel too. But, on the other hand sequels can be bad, so what if it sucks ass like REVENGE OF THE NERDS II: NERDS IN PARADISE? What then?

I'll tell you what.

First you make a donation to my favorite charity Doctors Without Borders in Rob Kroese's name so you don't feel bad about what you're saying about his book...

Rob Kroese Tribute Gift Card

Then you sit down and write a review on your blog because you promised you would.

Mercury Rises is a story about rebel FBI agent Bruce Willis protecting some autistic kid who has unwittingly discovered the key to cracking a top-secret government code. Because of this, the government wants him dead, and only Bruce Willis can save him. Formulaic absurdity ensues. About the only bright spot in this entire mess of a book is villain Alec Baldwin, who manages to deliver some of the cheesiest dialog ever written in a way that makes you not quite want to kill yourself. Which is about the best thing I can say about Mercury Rises.

What I want to know is what Kroese was thinking. I mean, his first book, Mercury Falls, had memorable characters, witty dialogue, and some genuinely funny situations. Why did he jettison all that this time? I guess the pressure of writing a sequel to a successful book was more than Diesel could take, so he traded in his unique and humorous voice for big budget stars and a by-the-numbers action-thriller that fails to deliver. Overall, a big disappointment.

If you're a die-hard (heh) Bruce Willis fan, this might be worth a look. Otherwise I'd skip it.

UPDATE! Umm... it was just pointed out to me that I was confusing Rob's book Mercury Rises with the film Mercury Rising. I could say this is my fault, but honestly... it's easy to see how I would get the two mixed up. Quick suggestion to Mr. Kroese... name your next book something more clever (like Mercury Rises: Nerds in Paradise or Mercury Rises: The Phantom Menace or Weekend at Bernie's II, for example) so people don't get confused.

Anyway, here's me reviewing the BOOK version of Mercury Rises...

Mercury Rises Cover

It's a pretty darn good read.

IF you've read the original book Mercury Falls. Otherwise, the sequel won't make much sense because there's noooooo hand-holding here. The story picks up right after the original with absolutely no recap or explanation as to what's going on.

But if you HAVE read Mercury Falls, then you're in for a treat, because The Apocalypse is back on and only rogue angel Mercury and recently-out-of-work reporter Christine Temetri can save the world. Again! Along the way we get a peek into the distant past with the origins of Tiamet's Apocalyptic scheming and even more of Kroese's crazy characters and outlandish situations. But past, present, or possible future, it's all wrapped up in the same witty, pop-culture-infused trappings that I enjoyed the first time around.

In more ways than one, Mercury Rises is a more challenging read than the first book. There's a lot going on, a lot to process, and a lot to wade through as the plot moves along. I kind of appreciate this, because it gives me something interesting to latch onto now that the "newness" of Mercury and his heavenly bureaucracy has worn off. But you do have to prepare yourself for some uninterrupted reading time to fully appreciate where the story is taking you. Try to read this one during commercial breaks in Dancing with the Stars and you're in for a tough time of it. Still, it's worth the effort.

I'm giving Mercury Rises ★★★★☆. If you enjoyed Mercury Falls (★★★★★), then you'll probably enjoy the sequel as well. It's available in paperback by following this link to Amazon (or you can buy it for a mere $2.99 by getting the Kindle Edition).

And now a warning.

SHIT! Just a second...

Rob Kroese Tribute Gift Card

About the only thing I didn't like about Mercury Rises is that it's not complete. It is, in fact, a cliffhanger set-up for the third book, Mercury Rests.

I really, really hate it when this happens.

What if Diesel dies before he can finish the tale? What if Mercury Rises only sells five copies and the publisher doesn't want to print the sequel? What if the ACTUAL APOCALYPSE happens before the third book is released? What if I die and never get to find out how the story ends?

A part of me wants to say the same thing I say whenever I talk about a book with a cliffhanger "ending"... wait until the actual ending is released before you buy it so you can be sure you'll be able to read the complete story. But, in this case, that would be a shame. Mercury Falls is one of those books that leaves you wanting more. Well, here it is. If, like me, you've been waiting... I begrudgingly say take a chance and pick up a copy.

Mercury willing, the grand finale of the trilogy will find its way to us soon enough.

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  1. Sybil Law says:

    Sounds excellent!
    Love the donation receipts. 🙂

  2. the muskrat says:

    I never read fiction, but if I start, I’ll support good ol’ Rob (especially since he was willing to drink beer with me before Dragon*Con 2 years ago)!

  3. Rob Kroese says:

    Thanks, Dave! I agree with everything you said. A few people have told me they enjoyed Mercury Rises without having read Falls, but I think most people are just going to be really confused if they read Rises first. So if you haven’t read Falls, get that one first! Both books are super-cheap on Amazon right now (especially on Kindle).

    As for the cliffhanger… well, yeah. Sorry about that. I’m hard at work on #3. 🙂

  4. Hilly Sue says:

    I love Rob’s books. I won a copy of the first one and had to immediately read the second one!

  5. Ren says:

    I went ahead and bought Kindle versions of both books. I’m so far behind on reading (Twitter!), but these prices were too good to pass up!

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