Aboard the Raven, deep in space, something is about to go very, very wrong. A strange purple haze appears on the ship and Heidi Watts is the first crewman to fall victim to it. As each crewman meets the danger, more clues fall into place as to what they are dealing with.
A three-person crew manages the Raven: Captain Bill Hubbard, Heidi Watts, and Ken Mallory. They’re a good team. This short story made me think of the Bermuda Triangle stories, with something taking out one crewman after another, finally leaving an empty ship afloat. Honestly, I didn’t know until the end if this tale would end similarly or if part of the crew would make it out safely, vanquishing the mysterious purple haze.
Of course, purple haze makes me think of that song, but that’s what the characters called it. But it’s set far, far in the future so maybe our three heroes never heard the song. Anyway, throughout the story we get to know more about each character as they each relive a significant event from their past. That really added some depth to the characters, which I wasn’t expecting with this short story.
I liked the whole ‘mystery contained in a bottle’ feel to the tale. These three are on their own, too far out for distress beacons to do them much good. They have to figure out what is happening and a way to defeat it or perish. I was a little sad to see that we have only 1 female character (Heidi) and she is the first to fall victim. Also her relived memory is a little cliched as it deals with domestic violence. Ken does spend some time thinking about his sister Lindsey and that helps balance things out a bit. Still, I like my space heroines to be a little more involved in the plot.
The story grabbed my attention right away and held it all the way through. Ken turned out to be a favorite character. I was rooting for him. It was interesting to see to what lengths he was willing to go to defeat the purple haze.
As a side note, I won a physical copy of this audiobook. It was shipped over from the UK and at first it looks like a little cassette tape. Cleverly, there is a thumb drive inside that has the mp3 files for the book. Hooray! I really liked the way it was packaged.
I won a copy of this audiobook (via The Audio Book Reviewer) with no strings attached.
The Narration: The audio was OK. Osian Edwards starts off a little rough – I can hear mouth noises and there’s a little bit of an echo. But it gets smoother going forward. The character voices are kept distinct using different regional accents and Heidi’s voice passes for female.