What can I say about The Terminal State, the fourth installment of Jeff Somers' Avery Cates series? Let's see. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, once again putting Avery in a god-awful situation to start. And with, shall we say, a little augmentation, Avery shakes some dust off those old bones and gets into action.
Manipulation I think is the best word to describe the overall vibe of this book. Around every corner, down every dark tunnel, are forces manipulating each other, and especially poor Avery. But when you're the best gunner around, it comes with the territory.
When the Army snatches up Cates for a hand in the newest war against all-out annihilation, he unwillingly drags his feet, and is quickly resold to the highest bidder. Sent off to work a special mission with two odd accomplices, one a tattooed freak calling himself The Poet, and the other a mysterious female that feels oddly familiar, Avery is forced to start off on a job lacking the one thing he knows he needs most...a gun.
Filled with all the run-and-shoot action fans of the series have come to expect, this ride is non-stop, until the very end. At times I actually felt like I was playing a video game, with warnings, ammo count, and my heath meter dwindling away.
One is left wondering just how much of this world is left to explore, it remains quite bleak by the end. And I know Somers is planning to "end a major arc" in the overall story in the next book. I'm already pining for next year's release.
I'd also like to send a shout out to cover designer, Lauren Panepinto, for an excellent job with the newly designed paperback (and for the new look of the mass market paperbacks of the previous books in the series as well). I loved the Jae Lee artwork on the previous trades, but this new treatment pretty much rocks.