It’s tough to be a human in space. Other races look down on humans because they think of them as violent sociopaths. With the human empire disbanded, they are spread out across the galaxy trying to make a living. This brings us to former assassin Raena who is trying to get a new start on board the alien space ship,the Veracity. Raena has a complicated past, she was a prisoner as the Templars were wiped out by a genetic plague and the situation has created some bad psychological effects.
Raena is having nightmares of shooting her ex-lover in the head and she has to deal with the fact that the now extinct Templars have left booby-trapped biotechnology throughout the galaxy and her ship is infected. Raena and the pirate crew that she is with must learn to trust each other and figure out how to fix the booby-trapped technology or the galactic economy could collapse.
Kill By Numbers by Loren Rhoads is the second book in the wake of the Templars series and could be best described as a character driven action adventure story. This book starts off slow and gets deep into the character’s personalities before getting into the story. The thing I really enjoy about Loren Rhoads writing is that she creates characters that seem real and gives a lot of detail on them. To me the sign of a great character in a book is if you want to read about them even if there is no conflict with them. I love good character development in a story before we get into the action and Kill By Numbers does an excellent job of it.
I love the concept behind this book, Raena is a human on a ship of aliens so Raena doesn’t fit in. Raena is trying to start a new life and escape her past, the crew of the Veracity is trying to help but what they want for her and what she wants for herself are two different things. Everyone on the ship is a different kind of alien but because of her past, Raena is the oddest one. I liked the idea that everyone on the ship was so different making it like a melting pot of races.
Another interesting aspect of this book is how the media is portrayed in this futuristic setting. The crew of the ship gathers at the same time every day to see the news and then talk about the new scandals across the galaxy. The media are a lot like how it is in the present and everything that goes on in the news is seen as truth even if there are no facts to back it up. The media are a small part of the story but I liked how even in the future people are addicted to getting information about other political systems and alien races. The best part of the book is the relationship between Raena and Gavin. Gavin wants to help Raena with her new life but seems to hurt her as he tries to help. Kill By Numbers is like an action packed soap opera in space and the kind of book that hard-core Science Fiction fans will love.