Book Review: Walk in the Flesh by Peter Bailey

Walk in the Flesh by Peter Bailey – 3 stars

Terrorists killed his wife.

In the aftermath of a terrorist attack Neil is given the chance to serve his country by serving up revenge. He soon becomes England’s premier spy and assassin. As a man he was unpleasant, dangerous and of little use. As a cyborg he is unpleasant, very dangerous but extremely useful. His suicide missions fit his strengths and his weaknesses. He exacts vengeance, kills without mercy, then destroys the evidence, himself. The aftermath is someone else’s problem.

The scientists who created this nanotechnology knew they were creating a monster. They did not know that Neil was already monstrous. What can they tell their superiors when Neil’s atrocities escalate? With every mission a success, will the bureaucrats even care?

But Neil is worse than homicidal and psychopathic, he’s untidy. When he leaves his severed head intact in Iran, he leaves the pathologist a dangerous clue. If she discovers his secret it may destroy England’s only chance to survive in a terrorists’ transformed world. The humanity of every member of this top secret team will be maximally tested when they are ordered to send this powerful psychotic assassin on a rescue mission.

This book has a good, solid plot. The characters are well crafted and rise above caricature. Everything that happens makes sense, and it’s a clever sci-fi spy thriller. It could be a great book. Except for one thing: editing, or rather, the lack thereof. I try not to be too nitpicky, especially given that I’m not perfect (neither is my editor, but don’t tell her that), but there’s only so much I can ignore or forgive in a published book.

In print, this book would be roughly 275 pages. Of those, 275 have 4-7 major grammatical errors. By ‘major,’ I mean things like run on sentences, comma splices, dangling modifiers, and incomplete sentences. It also has the more common problems of random missing words, mismatched plurals and verbs, and minor typos. In order to read it, I had to put on my beta reader goggles and go very fast.

Underneath all that is a great, entertaining book. I sincerely hope that it gets fixed up, because I’d love to recommend it to people.

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