Title: Tap-Dancing the Minefields
Author: Lyn Gala
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 334 Pages
At a Glance: Lyn Gala has created a fantastic alternate reality filled with an array of characters who span the gap between human and alien, and tell this story through sharp dialogue and shared experiences.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 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.
Review: Private George ‘Tank’ Tankersley has seen a lot in his twenty short years of life. He spent his high school years fighting demons with his best friends…until one battle went horribly wrong and then Tank enlisted in the military. And how’s that for some situational irony, hm? Joining the Army because it’s presumably the lesser of two dangers. Assigned to deliver supplies to a secret base in Alaska, Tank gets a surprising and sexy as hell welcome-to-my-world from engineering genius Dr. Lev Underwood. Tank also sees too many things he wasn’t supposed to see, or know about, and now finds himself a new resident of the base, whether he likes it or not. Which is a secret for some compelling and valid reasons.
I loved Tank a lot. He uses humor to deflect, to hide his feelings and to self-deprecate, and it took me a while to realize that he wasn’t as flighty as he pretended to be. He’s not as unintelligent as he believes himself to be either. I’ve always been a huge advocate of the fact that there’s smart, and then there’s book smart, and Lev understands this too. Book smart has nothing to do with common sense and innate ability, and Tank is living, breathing proof of that. When he meets Lev during what appears to be a malfunction of one of the base’s more…interesting…systems, their connection is immediate, and while based on sex in the beginning, I appreciated that the relationship becomes about more than just that. Their feelings harbor a sweet and almost innocent quality that contrasts not only how they met but the dangers of their mission too. In fact, there’s a significant age gap between them, but that’s easy to forget because Tank often comes across as so much older than his twenty years. Life experience will do that to a man, though. And Lev, though approaching forty, is still so capable of hope and believing in good, in spite of his own experiences, that he seems younger than he is. They’re just so made for each other, really.
The backstories of several of the characters are well done—Tank and Lev, of course, but Colonel Clyde Aldrich and John Doe as well, John being particularly interesting and even, dare I say, lovable? Anyway, he didn’t scare me as much as he probably would think he should. And I especially loved how Clyde and John were so protective of Lev owing to the specific bond that John, Clyde and Lev share. But, there was also a rather touching connection between Clyde and Tank that tempered the sharp edges of Clyde’s feelings towards the kid, versus what Clyde knows firsthand; that Tank is a walking PTSD time bomb. Tank’s friends Zhu and Marie also figure prominently in this altered-states urban sci-fi story, as they and Tank are all significant blips on the alien radar.
The arc of this novel intersects with Tank’s past and Zhu and Marie, who were part of the demon fighting team—or, at least what they were told were demons—and the only two of Tank’s friends who survived their last confrontation. Turns out that the truth is far more complicated than some biblical mythos, though; the enemy far more advanced, and the motives a danger to the human race. There is too much plot to spoil by going any deeper into the hows and whats, and the why is a mystery. The good news is that Lyn Gala has created a fantastic alternate reality filled with an array of characters who span the gap between human and alien, and tell this story through sharp dialogue and shared experiences. The medium news is that Tap-Dancing the Minefields reads like book one in a new series. The bad news is that to have my dangling questions answered, I have to wait for more Tank, Lev, and the rest of this intriguing cast of characters to see how they’ll defeat the alien incursion. I don’t know where this is going, but I like where I’ve been, and I have a feeling that Gala will make the waiting worthwhile. If this intro is any sort of measure of the fun left to be had, I’m looking forward to it.
You can buy Tap-Dancing the Minefields here: