I was unfamiliar with this author, but the title drew me in, and I was looking for something a little lighter to listen to. It was a good decision. I mean, what could be more fun than wandering around the galaxy, removing intrusive species that could eat you? But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Russ Wilson was simply trying to put a deer he accidentally hit on the road out of its misery when the unthinkable happened: A giant alien creature attacked him. And given that shooting was pretty much his only skillset (other than breaking computers with circular logic), he killed it. It was then that his life went sideways, because an independent alien pest control company (the Intergalactic Exterminators, Inc.), was so impressed by his abilities, they offered him two choices: Join us or get a mind wipe. Being that Russ was never one to commit himself to much of anything, he ran, but too far. He was trying to save his grandmother’s failing bookstore.
Unfortunately for Russ, it is unlawful for a non-galactic citizen to possess knowledge of their business and the intergalactic polity which runs things out in the big wide universe. Russ can’t hide this debacle from everyone and tells his friend, Nina, who eagerly joins the fight. Which is a good thing, because the immigration robots have arrived to take him into custody. Will Russ join the Intergalactic Exterminators? And could he even survive the training?
This fun-filled story is filled with high jinx, great organic conflict, and terrific characters, all with a comedic twist. It’s not quite as snarky as a John Scalzi novel, but it does have its moments. The descriptions of the alien creatures and characters are well done. I particularly enjoyed the robot (Applebaum) and Ensign, the certification trainer. It’s important to note the story also delves into important themes like corporate greed, working-class job loss, and family bonds without being maudlin or lecturing. You feel for these people and the aliens – at least the reasonable ones.
Though I know the story primarily focuses on Russ, it would have been nice to have more balance, structurally, between Russ and Nina. She plays an important part in the story, and I would have liked her to be given more screen time, so to speak. The narration was terrific from both actors. Scott Brick is pretty much on par with Kevin R. Free from the Murderbot Diaries.
All in all, this was a very enjoyable book. The ending doesn’t leave you hanging, but it does leave room for a sequel. I do hope there will be one.
I purchased this audio book through libro.fm which helps support your local bookstore.
Creative Team: Ash Bishop (writer), Scott Brick (narrator), Suzanne Elise Freeman (narrator)
Publisher: CamCat Books
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