Release Reviews: Mercury Striking: Rebecca Zanetti

Mercury Striking(The Scorpius Syndrome #1)
Rebecca Zanetti
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Expected January 26, 2016

With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

In a disease ridden post apocalyptic world the ultimate victim and survivor, Lynne Harmony comes to meet with the dangerous rebel leader of L.A., Jax Mercury. They both have something the other needs. They are facing continued spread of the deadly Scorpius bacterium and physical threats from multiple sources. No one is safe and Jax feels responsible for his group. He protects them the best he can, but nothing is certain and continued survival and control of the disease is just a slim possibility.
Jax is intimidating, tough, in control, and trying to be a leader among survivors. He takes responsibility seriously and tries to keep his hopelessness hidden. He is intelligent, philosophical, guarded, dangerous, and deadly.  All he can do is fight, try to survive, and bide time before he can carry out his ultimate personal goal and find reinforcements to help them.

Lynne is both hated and feared. Many of the world blame her for the pandemic while others fear she will cause more harm. She's smart and resourceful, and is also a survivor willing to fight for herself and to help save others. She has the knowledge and skills that with the right resources could ultimately help her slow down progression of the disease. But she cannot do it alone.

She is a wild card that has many secrets and some are big ones. And he is mysterious, aloof, commanding, and rough around the edges.  But somehow in the hell and chaos they can make each other feel alive. Somehow they give each other a just a little peace for limited times. And they find themselves not just fighting alone anymore. But trust is fragile and the outside threats are relentless. No one is safe. They are all vulnerable. And they do not have a lot of time or resources.

Joining them is a ragtag group of individuals who are spurred on by fear, loyalty, and a need to survive. But  in the dangerous world they are living in, it is not realistic to think they all will.

This was a nice change of pace from the contemporary and NA reads that I have been reading lately. I have liked Rebecca's Zanetti's other series so I trusted that  she could pull me into a more dystopian story. And she did...she made me admire and care for these characters...all of them...not just the hero and heroine Jax and Lynne, but also the side characters of Tace, Wyatt, Raze, Sami, Byron, Jill, April and Vivienne. It is obvious they all have some stories to tell.

I did not read the prequel novella Scorpius Rising (available in the compilation On the Huntand this story starts out pretty fast and goes right into the action. So it started out mysterious, but I was immediately interested and trusted that it would all get explained...and it was...some quickly and some was held back and slowly revealed. But I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly and was easily immersed in the story. 

It was suspenseful, grim, primal, and violent. But there was also some hope, loyalty, connections, and fighting spirits that pushed them to try to overcome their hellish reality. Only 1% of the US population remains and even they are not safe from further progression of the bacterium and the after-effects to those that do survive. There were various antagonists and threats at play. There were plenty of secrets and hidden agendas. There were multiple points of view. The protagonists have their own strengths, skills, and weaknesses. There were several missions that needed to be completed, conflicts to face,  and issues to be solved.  And to do that they must form a team as best they can or die trying. 

This made for an intriguing, engrossing start to a new series. I am looking forward to more with these characters. The next book will follow a new couple and also continue with the larger story arc connecting them. 

ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Mercury Striking is the first in a new post apocalyptic series. In a world ravaged by a bacteria that will either kill patients or leave them with the possibility of turning into a sociopath, humanity struggles to survive. This has a rich back story, revealed throughout the book as Lynne fights to find the rumored lab and remember research that was lost to her. Part medical thriller, part zombie apocalypse, part romance, there is never a dull moment here.

Lynne Harmony has a target on her back, or literally in her heart. Her glowing heart is a beacon to her identity and the source of the stigma surrounding her. I loved her conviction and strength, her caring and her determination. Though she often has challenges beyond the rest of humanity, she knows what she needs to do and does her best to not let anything get in her way.

Jax Mercury is the leader of a large surviving community, almost begrudgingly. He knows how to lead soldiers, but doesn’t know how to connect to the people. His goals are to keep his people alive and healthy, and avenge his brother’s death.

When Lynne seeks out Jax’s help, she knows there is danger in revealing herself. But she never expected more than a small amount of protection and some help locating labs. These two were an interesting pair. Both so focused on their own troubles, they haven’t stopped long enough to notice anyone else until they are forced to when Lynne arrives at the compound. The surprise as their simple arrangement develops into more is uncharacteristic for both of them.

This is a great group of characters. From the soldiers, to those keeping the community strong, there are so many characters that have intriguing stories, secrets, and tales to tell. My favorite side character, the one that I was anticipating a story focused on him not long after meeting him, sadly won’t be getting his own. But the character that will get the next book is intriguing, mysterious, and definitely knows more than he is letting on. 

This was one of those books where the main storyline almost didn’t need a romance aspect. I like having the romance for my own entertainment, but the story is rich and full even without the connection between the two main characters. It’s the kind of story that will continue to keep me engrossed even after the main couple is no longer the focus, simply because of the overarching conflict. 
ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Rebecca Zanetti Website/Facebook/Twitter

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Rebecca Zanetti has worked as an art curator, Senate aide, lawyer, college professor, and a hearing examiner - only to culminate it all in stories about Alpha males and the women who claim them. She writes dark paranormals, romantic suspense, and sexy contemporary romances.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides in the wild north with her husband, children, and extended family who inspire her every day--or at the very least give her plenty of characters to write about.


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