Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Tap-Dancing the Minefields
AUTHOR: Lyn Gala
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
LENGTH: 501 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 14, 2017
Sometimes the fiercest battle a man faces is against himself.
In the hidden alleyways of New York City, George “Tank” Tankersley defeated what he believed were demons. But the victory cost too much. Tank joined the Army in the hope of outrunning the guilt haunting him—only to stumble into a vast and deadly conspiracy, the enemies he’d hoped to never encounter again, and the arms of the brilliant, eccentric scientist tasked with saving humanity.
In a world where the line between dark magic and alien science is thin, Dr. Lev Underwood must reverse engineer recovered alien technology to give humans a fighting chance against the extraterrestrial beings who consider Earth nothing more than a petri dish. His old friend, Colonel Clyde Aldrich, wants to protect Lev from entanglement with the scarred and emotionally volatile young soldier, but Lev cannot help the pull he feels toward Tank. Still, his first loyalty is to the secret government program, and love might have to take a back seat to protecting the world. But if he can find a way, Lev wants both.
Tap-Dancing the Minefields kinda feels like a post-show look at what happens to those teens in a lot of the high-school supernatural series I watched growing up. It has the same flavor, but a bit more grown-up perspective on how having to deal with that kind of messed up shit while you are still a teen can mess with your head.
George “Tank” Tankersley spent his high-school career battling demons with his friends. But the cost of those battles was too high in the end, so he left New York and joined the Army. Luckily for him he does not end up going from one war-zone to another, instead getting shoved into jobs that involve cleaning supplies and kitchens more often than not, but that doesn’t mean Tank can escape his past. When making a supply run to a shady government base in the wilds of Alaska, Tank is drawn into a world more crazy than the one he grew up in. That is until he figures out that his high-school experiences may play an important role in what the government has locked up in the base he finds himself now “assigned” to.
Having read several of Lyn Gala’s sci-fi stories before, I was really looking forward to this. And while it wasn’t quite what I expected (I actually thought it’d go a bit darker than it ended up) it was an enjoyable read from start to finish. Gala has a great ability to create sci-fi stories that feel both unique and highly relatable. Her take on aliens never feels old. And for all the “sciency” stuff that goes on in this book, it all seemed believable, if at times a bit horrifying (I’m looking at you, “dirt-eating hair-showers”…you are just the freakiest thing I’ve read in years).
Overall the plot was good, though it did seem to stumble a bit near the end. I was expecting something a bit more than what I got–or at least a few answers to the bazillion questions posed in the story–and I felt the book left things a bit too open-ended for me. Though if that means that Gala intends to continue the story in a sequel I’m all for that.
DSP Pubs don’t tend to focus on the romantic relationships as much as the Press books do, but I found the interactions between Tank and Dr. Lev Underwood to be very well done. I do want to give one word of warning, though. During the first chapter of this book there is an event on the base which results in Lev and Tank engaging in sexual acts that are not in the strictest sense consensual. It is neither of the MCs faults, but if that is something that is going to trigger you, you should be made aware of it. I personally didn’t find that it had a great impact on the story, and it is pretty clear when it is about to happen, so if you want to read this without that scene it is pretty ease to skip over.
There is more I can say about this book, but not without spoiling some of the best parts of the story. So I’m going to say that if you have enjoyed Gala’s previous sci-fi works you should enjoy this. Also if you are a fan of the Teen Wolf/Buffy the Vampire Slayer type shows you might get a kick out of the characters and interactions between them. Definitely has that kind of flavor to it at times. I did like the more grown-up aspect of this story, though. Think it really made the story more believable. Which might be a bad thing because now I am kinda paranoid.