Rating: 3 stars
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When Captain Alyn Evans accepted leadership of the Red Dragon, the last thing he expected was to run into his most recent one night stand. The Red Dragon has taken some hits physically and in morale. The former captain and company rep were arrested for embezzling from the ship’s maintenance fund. Now the two men will be travelling on the Red Dragon from Deneb to Earth to stand trial, and it’s Alyn’s job to see they get there safely.
Jarvez Kashari, Red Dragon’s new company rep, has a lot to prove. His grandfather runs the company and in order to move up, Jarvez has to prove himself worthy. That’s why he’s on the Red Dragon. It’s his job to find the remaining officer conspiring with the imprisoned captain and the ex-company rep, and turn in his evidence by the time they reach Earth. But sorting between the many shady suspects and battling his growing attraction for the captain make his job all the harder.
Finding the conspirator and increasing crew morale top the list of things to do. Falling in love was nowhere to be found on that list, but Alyn and Jarvez’s attraction is strong from the beginning. Now Alyn must keep his priorities in order, adding Jarvez to those priorities, as well as keeping the new company rep safe as his investigation leads into dangerous territory.
The Company Man is the first book in the Red Dragon series by Becky Black. I liked this book, I did. But I think I was expecting more from it. The story is good, even if it’s a little slow at times, and it’s what kept me interested. But the world building was lacking. When I read a sci-fi/space opera, I want to step into an amazing new world. And where this one had a few cool, futuristic gadgets, the world was pretty much like my everyday Earth with space ships. There’s nothing that made this world stand out to me, and that’s always disappointing.
The beginning of the book reads a little awkward, the middle picks up, the conflict resolution is entertaining, but then the end drags on. The writing was a little choppy in places and the pacing was frustrating at times. The mystery plot is probably the better part of this story, although it’s predictable. I figured out the third conspirator and their role way before it was revealed. The romance was also predictable.
The characters are good. Alyn is a good, strong, moral man. He’s strong physically and in character. He is stubborn and head strong. He’s a leader who, when he makes his mind up, it’s hard to change him. Jarvez is a good match for him. Also stubborn, Jarvez isn’t one to back down. He lives in the shadow of his powerful family, but he doesn’t let them dictate who he is. Alyn and Jarvez are good together – both stubborn, but compassionate. I wish I could have felt a stronger attraction between the two early on, but it eventually got stronger. Alyn and Jarvez are the part of this book I liked the most.
In the end, I liked this book. I didn’t love it, but I definitely liked it. Some things could have been better, but, on the other hand, I suppose they could have been worse as well. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I’d definitely be willing to read more. I would recommend The Company Man by Becky Black to readers who like science fiction and/or space opera, to readers who like instant attraction, and to readers who like some decent mystery mixed with their romance.