The last installment in the JAG in Space series is not as strong as previous ones but does resolve some loose threads in Sinclair’s private life. Apparently he has been making enemies in all the court martials despite his stellar performance in all aspects of his service. And so his career and life doesn’t quite turn out the way he would have wanted.
The case in this book, dealing with espionage, is not as good as the others. The the focus is on Sinclair’s personal journey. Not bad, but I wish Hemry had ended the series on a stronger note. I also wish he had written more books.
The third book in the JAG in Space series continues in the same vein as the first two. Incident followed by court martial. This time, however, Paul Sinclair’s girlfriend Jen Shen is accused of conspiracy, sabotage and murder after a freak accident on board the U.S.S. Maury.
This is, in my opinion, the best of the series. Maybe that is because so much is on the line personally for Sinclair. Maybe it is because of the kafkaesque elements of the story as Shen is accused and looks to be on her way to life in prison or even execution. While in Burden of Proof, circumstancial evidence was used to chuck a bad officer out of the Navy, now it is being used to build a case against someone innocent. The ethical dilemmas posed make the books interesting, and this one especially so.
The second installment in the JAG is Space series is structured much like its predecessor, A Just Determination. Paul Sinclair is now a Lieutenant JG, still serving on the U.S.S. Michaelson. A deadly accident in forward engineering isn’t investigated as it should. An officer attempts to cover up the truth. Sinclair is in the middle. To mix things up, his girlfriend Jen’s father is a Navy Captain. Major trial in the second half.
This story is a bit weaker than A Just Determination, but still quite good. If you liked the first book, you will undoubtedly like this one. Hemry does well in advancing Paul and Jen’s stories and the changes in their characters.
The first book in the “JAG in Space” series is a short and neat novel about a young ensign, an incident, and a court martial. Hemry delivers a page turner. Not the heaviest reading, to be sure, but there are depths between the lines. There is in fact quite a decent coming of age story between the covers.
I am always partial to books where I can identify with and feel sympathetic with the characters. Hemry is excellent at making the reader (well, this reader at least) identify with protagonist Paul Sinclair during his struggles on his first deployment. The other crew members of the U.S.S. Michaelson are a mix of good and bad, with wildly varied motivations, just like in real life. Overall, the characters feel well fleshed out, and Hemry is skilled at portraying both them and the action, entirely from young Sinclair’s perspective.
It could perhaps be argued that this novel’s setting is incidental, and that it would have worked just as well on the sea. That may be so, but that does not detract from its appeal. A fine read.