Book Review: Zero Hour (book 1) by Justin Bell & Mike Kraus

First up, I have to say that the story line in this novel is square in my favorite genre, so I am probably a little biased toward it. I want to know what happens as the story progresses.

And there is my first criticism of the book: It’s split into little parts – this first being only 165 pages. Yes, it cost less than a dollar for the Kindle version, but each of the next three books is almost $4 for the Kindle editions, and they all have fewer than 200 pages. The first book doesn’t wrap anything up, so it’s certainly not a series of stories that could stand alone. If they all follow that format, it’s one really expensive ebook, split into four episodes, costing almost $13.

That’s a reasonable price, in my opinion, for one really good novel. Given the low pricing of the competition in this genre, I expected this to be super-good. This one is half-way there.

Don’t get me wrong: I like the story a lot, and I’m willing to suspend belief about a whole bunch of things for the sake of a story like this. It’s not the plot ‘facts’ that are problematic, but the lack of editing which repeatedly sucks me out of the story long enough (and often enough) to notice unnecessary editorial flaws.

With all due respect to the beta readers listed in the frontmatter, the authors really should invest in a professional editor to whittle down the repeated descriptions (just when we think the author’s describing the next part, we realise it’s the same thing, reiterated), inconsistent plot facts (is it the middle of winter or not?) and eliminate all but one of the bazillion things that are “like fingers”. I generally like the way that language is used in this book, and an editor will allow it to shine in its best light.

I also like the story weaving. A lot. I will buy the next installment because I want to know what happens next.

Some of the other reviewers have noted a lack of character development. This appears to be true of the caricatured baddies, but I will respectfully disagree with them regarding the main characters. We see subtle revelations about some of the characters in their behaviors, thoughts and speech – presumably deliberate. For example, I want to know more about the young guy from the factory and also about Jackson, because they both seem to be making a genuine effort. On the other hand, Lisa is more of a dichotomy: sweetly concerned yet ignorantly self-centered. I don’t particularly like her so far, but that is interesting, and I’m keen to see how/if she develops in the future episodes.

To view this book at Amazon, go to

Do you agree with my review?  Let me know in the Comments below, or at Goodreads.

Happy reading!

Kerri sign-off



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