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Publisher's Summary

A seasoned military officer uncovers a deadly conspiracy on a distant, war-torn planet…

War heroes aren't usually called out of semi-retirement and sent to the far reaches of the galaxy for a routine investigation. So when Colonel Carl Butler answers the call from an old and powerful friend, he knows it's something big - and he's not being told the whole story. A high councilor's son has gone MIA out of Cappa Base, the space station orbiting a battle-ravaged planet. The young lieutenant had been wounded and evacuated - but there's no record of him having ever arrived at hospital command.

The colonel quickly finds Cappa Base to be a labyrinth of dead ends and sabotage: the hospital commander stonewalls him, the Special Ops leader won't come off the planet, witnesses go missing, radar data disappears, and that’s before he encounters the alien enemy. Butler has no choice but to drop down onto a hostile planet - because someone is using the war zone as a cover. The answers are there - Butler just has to make it back alive…

©2018 Michael Mammay (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Refreshing Sci-Fi

I’m not sure how many space operas and military sci-fi books I’ve listened to but it’s quite a few. Planetside is a refreshing shift from the majority. It’s not about two civilizations slugging it out or technological wonders of the future but a story of investigation that happens to be set in space. Perhaps it’s due to RC Bray’s narration but it reminds me quite a bit of the surly humor and style of Andy Weir. R.C Bray’s narration lacks in variation for each character but he always makes up for it with perfect timing and a voice they is easy to listen to. Overall a must read (listen) for me.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't put it down!

I started listening to this book the day it came out and finished it the next day. If you like space ships, aliens, wise-cracking MCs, lots of action, and a good mystery, this is the book for you! Plenty of surprises, and Butler is a well-rounded character with a good sense of humor. I especially love the scenes with the reporter, Plazz, because Butler is at his wise-crackingist :) Plus, RC Bray as narrator is the *perfect* grumpy old colonel. Definitely a must-listen!

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Henri
  • Roslindale, MA, United States
  • 08-02-18

Best book so far this year!

This was a great story. Thrilling, humorous, fast paced, hard boiled with none of the whining crap that’s damn common.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent sci-fi

I haven’t listened to a debut sci-fi this good since Taylor’s WE ARE LEGION. This book has all the spacefaring action, plot lines, and tech you’d expect from a book titled PLANETSIDE, but with an element of mystery that really sets it apart. On the mystery side, I have to admit, I guessed the big bad pretty early on, but the ending took me completely by surprise. That was the perfect ending.

As for the narration, RC Bray never disappoints, and this book is no exception. Any fan of Alanson’s COLUMBUS DAY needs to make this book their next listen.

Five stars all around

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Action, Adventure and Conspiracy - Exciting!

“Planetside” is a rollercoaster ride of action, adventure, and conspiracy. It is a military contemporary science fiction story which appears to be right in the author’s comfort zone. The book is authored by Michael Mammay, and it appears this is his first work published on Audible. I could not think of a better narrator for this title than R. C. Bray. He is an exceptionally talented narrator and I have many of his other works in my personal library. The duo is such a great pairing than of both story and narration. The outcome is welcomed in a rather densely populated genre. If you enjoy listening to well written and performed science fiction that contains action, twists, and a sprinkling of humor, I recommend you give Planetside a listen.

The author did an exceptional job of revealing the story which opens by presenting the listener with many unanswered questions along with a few bits of mystery. All the way through the book, there is a level of suspense that keeps one engrossed and attentive. The story and technology felt well researched and believable for a science fiction piece. The technology was not thrown in to make the book feel science fiction; not at all. It was more used to augment or assist the story going forward. The listener really gets the feeling of being a part of the story as the book progresses. It is also clear the author has a military background as the book contains many aspects of formality, rules, and procedures. Something one would expect to find if they were in a military service organization.

The author included a fair amount of background as the first half of the book is about them traveling to become planetside. This first quarter of the book is not something that can be skipped so one can jump right into the action. He uses this time to develop the book’s characters, give us a view of the technology, and provide us with an overall view of the world and situation at hand. I like when an author takes time to develop a story using different and interesting creatures. We are not simply presented with your run of the mill alien. One wonders if these are friend or foe, and here is where things get very interesting. The author used a level of detail that helped me to see the world I was a part of. From the flow between action and narrative, it was well balanced. With the solid storyline and the great narration, I felt at times that I was watching a movie via my ears. It all really clicked and worked. There are little bits of humor thrown in to help relieve tension. One of the spots that had me laughing out loud was when a character yelled, “Bad guards!”. If you listen, you will know what I mean. I find it refreshing also to listen to a book that when it is over there is not another to pluck and continue. Most of the story plots are closed up and there are no requirements to listen to additional books for the conclusion. Just note that the book’s conclusion comes at a rapid pace. I was not sure how the author was going to accomplish this task, but it was well done and, in the end, it did not feel rushed.

The book’s narration is of the highest level of both professionalism and quality. Mr. Bray does a great job voicing the many different characters and gives each of them personality making it easier to distinguish one from another. His rich and deep tone help set the stage and overall feeling of the book itself. There were no audio artifacts or other blemishes I can recall while listening, something I would expect from a seasoned narrator. I can say that I have never been disappointed with any of his narration works and always enjoy when I get a chance to listen to him.

For parents and younger readers, I would not recommend this book to younger audiences as there is a fair amount of vulgar language and sexual topics throughout. It is not more than one would expect from a military science fiction story, but it is there and heavy at times. There are also some scenes consisting of graphic violence; yet, again not a surprise for the genre. It is a very well written book, yet I would suggest it is more geared toward adult or mature readers only.

In summary, this is a contemporary science fiction story that at first masquerades as nothing more. Yet, it when it opens up and one begins to see the many facets, this is where the book shines. If you are a fan of either science fiction or like a good military mystery, I recommend you pick up Planetside and give it a listen. I also look forward to more books by this author in the future.

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.
Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.
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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Brewster, NY, United States
  • 08-08-18

Ending was uh...

Ending was great and a crappy cliffhanger dammit. hopefully a book 2 is in the works.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Well thats one way to prevent a war

The book while having a small character count, does a very good job at fleshing out these characters and is a very good military detective kind of story. There are plenty of twists, a lot of secrets and a very bloody ending. However you look at it though, R.C Bray does well to narrate Mammay's debut novel. If this is what hes starting off with I can't wait to see what he produces in the future.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Engaging Story With Disappointing Wrap Up

The story was entertaining and well paced. The main character was interesting, and we got to know him well. He was a good cross of a hard-boiled detective and an experienced military officer. All of the others characters seemed pretty two-dimensional, but there was enough focus on the main character that I didn't notice it until the end.

The last 15 percent of the story only makes sense if you can believe that everyone in a leadership role was either stupid, clueless, or crazy and somehow no one noticed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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When is genocide expedient, or how to stop worrying and love Gen. Jack Ripper!

A police procedural wherein the detective solves the mystery and defends the galaxy from evil aliens that ends with a twist!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great read!

I loved this story line. The ending is definitely a cliffhanger. wasn't expecting that at all. Well worth the read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 08-01-18

A Distinguished Butler!

This is an absolutely stonking read! It pretty much has all I want from a military sci-fi book and then some, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it appealed to a wider audience than those who normally read this genre. First of all it goes without saying that the narration is damn near perfect for this type of book. RC Bray delivers an effortlessly urgent narrative that simply lights up the text. If you need a narrator to maintain a high tempo he is the man to deliver it.

This story delivers great action like good military sci-fi should though you do have to wait for it. Michael Mammay first lets us meet his leading man, Colonel Butler. He is no dashing young, laser-toting cowboy, he's an experienced hard-bitten commander who's been there and seen it all. The author doesn't make the mistake of making him infallible, this is a tough old bird who has retained his humanity despite the galaxy's efforts to strip him of it. As the mystery unfolds so does his character and background, by the end I was almost feeling Butler's aches and pains in my own joints, he doesn't get an easy ride.

The mystery is well-developed and multi-layered without ever getting too bogged down in anything overtly technical, the mystery aspects are given as much prominence as the sci-fi itself making for a genuinely engaging story. If I was to make on criticism it is that some of the writing did get repetitive in a small way, I lost count of the number of times Butler "failed to get a read" on someone else.

That's a minor quibble though, this is a seriously good sci-fi mystery / action thriller. It's always great when new authors come into land with such style and aplomb and I am very pleased to note that a sequel is on its way next year!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Morris
  • 08-29-18

Now Waiting For Part 2!

While browsing the new releases section on Audible, I came upon a new science fiction novel by an author I hadn't heard of. I was unsure whether to check this book out but as soon as I saw that the narrator was the superb R. C Bray I immediately clicked on the "Play Sample" button. Within 30 seconds of listening to this I decided to use my last credit to purchase this title. The little I heard convinced me that it was worth a punt. R. C Bray is one of those rare breed of narrators who has just about everything. His delivery is unmatched and his reading style is so fluid and natural you'd think he was just telling you his story from memory. Any half decent author's work is greatly enhanced and brought to life by having Master Bray narrate it and it was this that got me to read this excellent book.

Bray is so dynamic that he could make a shopping list sound good. This is not to say that Michael Mame's writing is lacking in any way. No, on the contrary, he is an excellent writer with a style that is brought out to its best with the likes of R. C Bray reading it.

Michael Mame appears to be a new breed of sci-fi author that has a brilliant writing style that feels so natural and effortless but stands testament to the raw skill required to put together such fluid, dynamic and flowing prose. He doesn't waste pages on uninteresting elements to pad out his story nor does his pace fall off. Suffice it to say that I am very impressed with what I assume is either his first or one of his first books.

So, what about the story? Well, Planet Side is essentially a "Who Done It" type mystery where our protagonist is sent off to a far flung outpost to investigate the disappearance of a high level official. Sort of a Magnum P.I in space. That analogy might make it sound somewhat cheesy but it isn't at all. It is an entertaining page turner that will keep you interested all the way. I did have my suspicions as to what may have happened to the missing man by chapter 15 and I was close to the truth so was pleased with myself for that. That's not to say the plot was obvious so don't be put off by that remark.

There is a few twists and turns here so nothing is predictable in that way. One element to the story that puzzled me though was the lack of co-operation and downright hostility our protagonist met while investigating a lead that took him to the base hospital. Given this was a military and not civilian base complex and so too was the hospital contained within, that I do not understand this. Surely a high level officer sent by a higher level authority within the military would garner full co-operation from all departments of the base? I feel this aspect was somewhat contrived and can see no reason for it.

Minor plot oddities aside, this is an excellent read with real three dimensional characters and leaves us with the prospect of a sequel to this unfinished story. I, for one, will be adding that book to my basket as soon as it is available.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew M.
  • 10-15-18

Brilliant

Loved this mix of sci fi mystery. Excellent performance from Bray as usual. Really recommended listen for military sci fi listeners.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Greg Hale
  • 09-28-18

Meh!

Poor Poor storyline
Shallow pulp detective mystery with a poor ending …
RC Bray was superb as always , infact the only reason I continued to the end!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-17-18

Addictive military sci-fi

Hard to stop listening. Fast paced story with a great lead character. RC Bray nails it as usual. Would appeal to seasoned sci-fi lovers and beginners alike. A great listen!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • a khan
  • 09-12-18

Investigation in backdrop of a space opera

It is a brilliant mix of two genres. Loved the detail and story. Rc bray brilliant narration as usual

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jon
  • 09-09-18

Average Story and Poor Ending

The story had potential, but seemed to lose it's way and had a very poor conclusion.

R.C. Bray provides fantastic narration, but it is not enough to save the book.That said, the writing style is good, concise and easy to listen to.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • paul walukiewicz
  • 08-31-18

Brilliant!

Didn't expect to but finished in one day. Really well written and hooked after the first few minutes...despite initial low expectations. Big fan of the Expeditionary Force series and also the Michael Connelly Harry Bosch series. Surprised to find all of that with hint of 'Apocalypse Now' Vietnam incorporated. R.C Bray is brilliant as always but the author should be commended for a cracking debut novel

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dustyfox
  • 08-29-18

Gem of a book

Listen to that all in one day...R.C Bray reading at its best and a very good story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 08-22-18

Great listen

Really enjoyed listening to this book which is brought to life by R C Bray

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  • Joshua
  • 09-23-18

Great book.

I enjoyed this, very original, the author has the beginnings of an interesting universe here, the ending seemed a bit abrupt thou. I hope a sequel is in the works!