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Book Review: Pacific Rising – Author John W. Dennehy


By John W. Dennehy

Severed Press

242 Pages

When a severe storm watch escalates into a full blown hurricane, off the coast of Japan, an ancient creature is exhumed from the murky depths below. Annihilating all in its path nothing is safe. The U.S. air force and marines unite with Japan to try and thwart the mastodon named Kaiju. Will their combined forces be enough to salvage the wreckage of civilization around them?

Pacific Rising will be the second novel I’ve read by John W. Dennehy. Clockwork Universe was a gripping, spell binding tale with a steam punk flavor that packed a hell of a wallop until the final pages. When the opportunity to review Pacific Rising came along, naturally I jumped at the chance, most curious to see what was in store.

This will also be the second novel I’ve read from the fine folks at Severed Press. Nightmare From World’s End By Robert J. Stava was my premier exposure in this genre publication. Nightmare was a phenomenal reading odyssey as well. Suffice to say I was most intrigued to see just how author Dennehy would follow up.

Severed Press is no question a niche market cornering the exploits of all creature related features. It’s refreshing to see a publishing house push away from the norm of zombies, vampires, werewolves or just regular anthologies. One does not have to be a creature aficionado to enjoy these books and each is every bit as unique as the author who had penned them himself.

One cannot deny the parallels in Pacific Rising to Godzilla. Author Dennehy seems to understand his market well and zeros in on an already proven formula. Dialing up the suspense a notch or three, his avant garde to the legendary Japanese tale makes a formidable reading force to be reckoned with.

The writer’s extensive and in depth use of military jargon and verbatim is mesmerizing. Pacific Rising is a testament to one man’s dedication to thorough research. There may very well be a possibility Dennehy or someone he’s close to has had some involvement with special ops, military or Marine Corps. In any event the language utilized delivers a sense of authenticity into the tale. On an almost subconscious level we never really second guess the plausibility of at least this component of the story.

There are numerous characters from a protagonist perspective and varying military ranks. Oddly enough we never really get confused with who is whom. Each personality is depicted and described well. Even in some cases where the involvement of one individual is relatively brief, the reader never really loses track of their presence. Maximum impact on an empathetic level is achieved. Dennehy drafts characters that resonate long after the final pages.

As we get to know some of the main characters a little more intimately such as James Penton and Cpt. Kate Able a fair degree of exposition is utilized in their back story. Exposition can be a most delicate detour when considering the pace of the plot. Used in excess, the back story can create more of a distraction and hindrance rather than enhancing the tale. Dennehy pin points his escapes into the past well and times each with expert precision. His direct instances of exposition elevates the plot escalation further. As a result the readership is further engaged, infectious and spell bound until the very climax.

The interpersonal relationship between Penton and Able is endearing. We get a sense of romantic chemistry or spark upon their initial encounter. Readers that are a sucker for heart to heart madcap will rejoice as their sentiment towards one another continues to elevate page after page. Once again almost on a subconscious level, we as the readers find ourselves routing for the unlikely duo, living vicariously through their soiree knowing at least in the imaginary realm love conquers all.

The duo of Hardy and Stiles creates some interesting subtext. While a great bulk of Pacific Rising focuses on combating the Kaiju. A slight detour from time to time places the readership on a virtuoso of a roller coaster ride. The subconscious guard is down only to be bludgeoned into submission upon returning to the creature excerpts.

Upon first glance, perhaps Pacific Rising wouldn’t ordinarily be my first choice in reading. Upon its conclusion I couldn’t have been more satisfied with the outcome. After all isn’t that just one of the many reasons in which we read, to expand our horizons? I will definitely be exploring the efforts further of one John W. Dennehy.

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