March 28, 2013

Book Review/Author Interview: Sea of Crises by Marty Steere

at 3/28/2013 11:02:00 PM

What really happened to the crew of Apollo 18 in the Mare Crisium, the Sea of Crises? The last of America’s manned lunar missions, it was conducted in eerie silence following the inexplicable loss of all communication with the astronauts during their first moonwalk, just after Commander Bob Cartwright’s enigmatic statement, “That shouldn't be here.”  
And it ended in tragedy when the heat shield on the command capsule failed during re-entry, leaving three dead astronauts inside burned beyond recognition.  
Thirty-six years later, Cartwright’s sons make a shocking discovery: The capsule that came down in the Pacific Ocean with three charred remains was not their father’s capsule. And the body they buried all those years before was not their father. 
What they've uncovered puts the three brothers on the run, chased by a ruthless group who will stop at nothing to preserve the secret behind the fate of the Apollo 18 astronauts. The brothers will need to set aside past differences and pool their talents if they are to stay alive and unravel the mystery behind what really happened in the Sea of Crises.

I first heard about this book when I got an email from the author himself, Marty Steere. I was so ecstatic to be sought out by an author and requested to read and review his book. As this was my first author request, I took my time to read, re-read and re-re-read the book until I practically knew the plot line by heart. Conspiracy theories have always intrigued me, even the really crazy ones, and this one got me hook, line and sinker.

The story starts with Nate Cartwright, eldest son of Bob Cartwright (fallen astronaut of the Apollo 18 mission). Nate gets a call from his little brother Peter to pick him up from the airport. Peter is a paranoid reporter (rightly so), who calls his big brother for help. He thinks he's being watched and followed and he is right. Peter tells Nate his discoveries about the Apollo 18 mission that took their father and the lives of two other astronauts. After an shocking and horrendous warning from a group called the Organization, Nate and Peter search for their other brother Matt (who has his own mysterious background). The brothers set off in search for more answers and this sets off a chain of events that lead to shoot outs, fast car chases, and an even more shocking discovery.

About halfway through the book, when the brothers, plus the family of the other two astronauts, finally have enough pieces of the puzzle, there's a good chunk that tells the real story of what happened during the Apollo 18 mission. I found this portion of the book very fascinating! Marty Steere did a very good job slipping in the past in between the present. The characters were fully developed with their own complex backgrounds. The storytelling is amazing! I felt like I was there with the characters; experiencing the rush of adrenaline as bullets whizzed by and shifting the car into gear to outrun the Organization's cronies. I liked that pace of the story and the sudden turn of events that kept my interest throughout the book. I especially like the "subtle" hints of romantic possibility between Nate and Maggie, Major Dayton's daughter. The last third of the book was, in my opinion, the best cat and mouse game between the head of the Organization and a group of people who want to know the truth.

I give this book (drum roll).......
5 STARS!!!!!

~*~ Marty Steere's Q & A! ~*~

1) When did you start writing? What inspired you to do so?

     As with most writers, I was (and am) an avid reader, and I was fascinated with the process of creating characters and stories in which a reader could become completely immersed.  It was something I wanted to do from a young age.  In fact, with the certainty of youth, I was convinced that it was something I’d always do.  But, of course, life intervened, family and career, so it wasn't until about four years ago that I actually made the commitment to sit down and start writing in earnest. 

2) What other genres do you plan on writing in, if any? 
     With the exception of horror (which just doesn't appeal to me), I wouldn't rule anything out.  I enjoy all kinds of genres, and, if there’s a story to be told, I want to tell it.  My second novel, Defiant Heart, is scheduled for release on April 15.  Set on the eve of World War II, it features a young couple who meet in a small Midwestern town, fall in love, then find themselves torn apart by tragedy and misunderstanding.  Even though, from the genre standpoint, the two books fall in different categories, the characters and the action are, to me, every bit as compelling.  I loved writing both books, and I think readers who enjoy one, will enjoy the other.

3) Did you have any difficultly writing Sea of Crises?

     I wouldn't say difficulty, but there were definitely challenges.  The obvious was the fact that a full third of the story takes place on the moon, and I needed to tell it in a realistic and credible manner.  That meant I had to do a lot of research into the Apollo space program to give me a sufficient grasp of the hardware and science to enable me to fold it into the action in a way that my reader would both understand and believe.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun.  (Which, I suppose, begs the question, is that really work?)

4) What did you have the most fun writing about in your book? 

     Believe it or not, though I enjoyed telling the part of the story on the moon from an astronaut’s perspective, I got just as much enjoyment out of writing the scene that takes place off the coast of Maine near the end of part one.  I won’t give anything away here, but, in the process of setting that scene, I had to learn about lobster fishing – something with which I’d previously had absolutely no experience.  It wasn’t critical to the story – more, as I say, just dressing a scene – but it provided some variety and color, and I got a kick out of it.

5) Do you have any more plans for more conspiracy based books?

     Yes.  I enjoyed creating this one, so I think it’s inevitable I’ll revisit the conspiracy concept.  In fact, I've been asked by a number of people if I plan a sequel to Sea of Crises.  I can say in all honesty, I did not intend to do that.  The book was written as a stand-alone novel, with fully completed story arcs.  But, in honesty, there may have been something lurking in my subconscious, because I have to admit that, at the very end, I did leave a door open, or, if not open, partially cracked.  And I will admit, I love the characters.  So, who knows?  It would have to be great story.  (I think a good series builds and improves on what came before; one that just milks the prior installments is an insult to the reader.)

6) What themes did you want to project in your book? Did you think you were successful?

     The obvious overriding theme was good versus bad.  Our protagonists are being hunted down to keep them from exposing a long-buried secret.  The bad guys are very bad (though I tried to keep them interesting), and the good guys are very good (though they have their flaws and issues).  The more subtle theme, however, was family reconciliation.  And, at least to me as the writer, that was the more compelling.  One was the vehicle, while the other was the precious cargo.  I am pleased with the results, so, on that level, I was successful.  I leave it to my readers, though, to make the ultimate determination.

And there you have it folks. You can purchase Sea of Crises on AmazonIndie Bound, or Barnes & Noble. And you can find out more about Marty Steere and Sea of Crises at his homepage (link below). Thanks for stopping by peeps!



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