Review: Hell Squad: Holmes by Anna Hackett

Review: Hell Squad: Holmes by Anna HackettHell Squad: Holmes Formats available: ebook
Series: Hell Squad #8
Pages: 143
on March 8th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's WebsiteAmazon

The battle of survival against the invading aliens heats up…but Hell Squad never quits.

General Adam Holmes’ life is dedicated to keeping his small band of survivors alive. On the run, with only Hell Squad and the other soldiers for protection, they are making their last dangerous drive to the secret stronghold of the Enclave. But there are a lot of aliens between them and their destination, and the survivors are tired, worn, and at the end of their limits. Adam feels the pressure dragging him down, but as their leader, he can’t be their friend and he can’t dump his burden on anyone else.

Long before the alien invasion, Liberty Lawler survived her own personal hell. Since then, she’s vowed to enjoy everything life has to offer and she’s managed to do that, even in the middle of an apocalypse. She does what she can to help the survivors in her convoy, but one man holds himself apart, working tirelessly for them all. Liberty can see Adam is at his breaking point and she vows to tear through his rigid control and save him from himself.

But the aliens are throwing everything they have at the humans, trying to stop them from reaching the Enclave. Adam will find his resolve tested and the pressure higher than ever. But it will be one beautiful woman—one who won’t take no for an answer and who worms under his skin—who can save them all and give him the strength to go on.

My Review:

I did what I usually do when I get a new Anna Hackett book – I started reading this the minute I finished downloading it. I love her Hell Squad series, and I am so happy to finally get a story that I’ve been waiting for. It’s been plain to me from fairly early on that General Adam Holmes was more than just an authority figure. He needed someone to fight for, and fight for him, every bit as much as the men and women who form the squads.

This was exactly what I was waiting for, and reading it made my day.

I’m also glad that even though the series could conceivably end here, it doesn’t. I think the story will move into another phase, but the overall goal of getting the alien invading Gizzida off our Earth still has a ways to go. But by the end of Holmes, it’s clear that the survivors of the Blue Mountain Base, with the assistance of the residents of the Enclave, finally have a chance at getting the job done.

Personally, I’m hoping for an Independence Day type scenario. We’ll see.

But in the meantime, there’s Holmes. Adam Holmes found himself the highest-ranking surviving officer after the aliens tore Earth to shreds and the battered survivors made their way to the Blue Mountain Base in Australia. Whether there are survivors on other continents, or even on Australia’s west coast, no one knows.

All that Adam Holmes knows is that it is up to him to lead the survivors, and to find a way to throw the Gizzida off our world. It’s a burden that he carries alone, and there is no one for him to lean on when things get tough, and when he has to make the hard decisions and live with the awful consequences.

After 18 months of bare survival topped by a deadly mad dash across a desert bristling with enemies, Adam Holmes is pretty much living in his own dark night of the soul. He believes that he deserves to be alone with his choices, and that no one can or will stand beside him as he hangs on to life and hope by a fraying thread.

And into that darkness sashays Liberty Lawler. We’ve met Liberty before, and probably already formed an opinion. She’s been the self-appointed morale officer for the Base and the fleeing convoy, and she’s damn good at her nebulous job. She has also been a “good-time girl”, always interested in hot, fast sex with a soldier to hold the darkness at bay for both of them for a little while.

So she sees Adam Holmes as someone who needs his own darkness held at bay for a little while, whether with a haircut, a strong cup of coffee, or a favorite candy. Or with Liberty in the quiet of his command vehicle, pushing the darkness away one screaming orgasm at a time.

He can’t figure out what she could possibly see in him. And she can’t figure out why no one has ever noticed just how unbearably alone their commander is – or just how hot he is under all his starched uniforms.

But when the aliens figure out that Adam Holmes is the person giving the humans the will to fight back and the plans to make it successful, they target him with all they’ve got.

And try to take away the one person who makes his life worth living.

Escape Rating A-: The one complaint I have about the Hell Squad series is that the books are always too short. It’s not that there isn’t a clear beginning, middle and end, but that I’m always left gasping at the end, screaming for MORE!

I’ve been waiting for several books now for Adam Holmes to get his own story. As much as I’ve loved the rest of the series, I always have a soft spot in my heart for whoever is the leader. Whoever that person is, I always want to see them get a happy ending, and not just the traditional hot hero types, who are usually at the squad leader level in this type of scenario.

The interesting character for me in this book was Liberty Lawler. The times we’ve seen her previously, one would get the impression that she is the base “bicycle” and that everyone has taken a ride. Except, obviously, the General. But looking into Liberty’s background, and her mission with the survivors, I feel that I’ve done her a big disservice, along with a whole lot of undeserved slut-shaming. I feel ashamed of my previous assumptions, and am glad to see her get a happy ending of her very own.

shaw by anna hackettThe journey in this book, is as harrowing, or more so, than the stories in Noah (reviewed here) and Shaw (here). As the survivors get closer to the Enclave, the Gizzida pull out every nasty stop they can think of (and they can think of a lot) to stop the convoy from reaching their safe haven. And with each book in this series, the Gizzida show just how nastily adaptable they are.

Throwing them off the planet is going to be one tough fight. And I can’t wait!