by J.D. Cunegan
Reviewed by S.A.
Here comes my favorite day of the month: Self Published Saturday! A day to celebrate some great self published novels that deserve some serious attention. Topping my list this month is the fantastic debut novel by author J.D. Cunegan – Bounty, simultaneously a murder mystery and a superhero novel, akin to the TV show Castle in sheer fun-factor.
Jill Andersen is one of Baltimore’s best and brightest detectives, but she harbors a dark secret — a secret that
threatens to come out when the body of Dr. Trent Roberts is pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay. Dr. Roberts’ connection to Jill reveals a past that involves a tour in Iraq, a secretive cybernetic experiment, and a conspiracy that involves a native son.
Can Jill solve the case while still keeping her secret? Will her partners at the Seventh Precinct find out what she’s so desperate to hide? What was Dr. Roberts looking into that led to his murder? And perhaps the biggest question of all…
Who is Bounty?
If I had to write a one word review of Bounty, I would say this: Fun. This novel was pure fun, start to finish. You never really know what to expect when picking up a self published novel, but this one really grabbed me and would not put me down. I binge read this novel in about two hours, and loved every minute of it.
Jill is one of those characters you can’t help to love. Stubborn and headstrong, she is made up of 100% determination… and maybe some titanium, and a few other upgrades. Part of a secret semi-gorverment project which aimed into perfecting the soldier, Jill is not your average woman. Now a cop in Baltimore, she hides her secret well, while using her upgrades to close cases, and do a little vigilante work of her own.
She was the main reason I loved this novel so much. First of all, I need to mention – Asexual representation! Yes please! But other than that, her determination and smarts really make her a character to cheer for. You want her to succeed. In a way, she reminds me of Beckett in Castle – I actually pictured her as Jill for most of the novel.
Just because she’s quasi-indestructible doesn’t mean she can do everything herself, and she’s not afraid to ask for help from some great supporting characters. Her cop friends at the precinct are brilliantly written characters, bordering on the cliché, while still managing to hold their own and become unforgettable in their own right.
The fun also came from the well written action scenes, and the superb pacing of this novel. Whenever things turned slightly slow, the author would send you back in time to visit history spanning a lifetime. Scenes from a childhood, eye opening chapters revealing what a dead man had once seen and lived, heart-wrenching passages that made you connect with Jill like never before. Back in the present, you have action packed sequences in dark offices or on rooftops. Never a dull moment. And the twist – I should stop before I spoil anything.
I felt like the villains were not fleshed out a whole lot, but that’s possibly because there’s more to come in the sequel (Blood Ties, January 2016). It may be in need of a bit of editing polish, but overall I didn’t feel like it distracted from the reading experience. I was also surprised that a huge, underlying plot was being laid down, but didn’t seem to get fleshed out – again, I bet the sequel will take care of that.