Crater Stumble

Fiction - Science Fiction
226 Pages
Reviewed on 11/08/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Essien Asian for Readers' Favorite

Caley Jones's daily tour of duty as the sheriff of Crater Stumbles, a human settlement on Flora One, involves frequently keeping her younger sister Tabitha as far away from trouble as possible and a lot less crime fighting. Recently Tabitha's inventions have raised more than a few eyebrows, even though the current hot topic in the community is the return of Caley's runaway ex-boyfriend. When their home becomes the scene of a recurring crime, the girls are drawn into an investigation with intergalactic consequences. Little do they know that they are about to be thrown into the middle of a war they know nothing about in John Parker's Crater Stumble.

Although the very thought of a story revolving around a colony on a different planet tends to send the reader down the path of a battle to the death between the human residents and their alien oppressors, with John Parker's novel this is curiously not the case. Parker's characters are nicely put together with a degree of simplicity that would have one wonder if this story's setting is accurate, if not for some well-placed comments from elderly members of the community referencing Earth's culture in a manner reminiscent of the past. The conversations between the characters have an amusing tone in general that would likely put the reader at ease before Parker propels them into gruesome battles in the latter stages. I have to give Parker kudos for the idea behind the unusual mating habits of Crater Stumble's residents and the realistic depictions of the alien species. Crater Stumble is a nice blend of romance, action, and adventure that science fiction readers will enjoy.

Asher Syed

In Crater Stumble by John Parker, Caley Jones, the sheriff of the small town of Crater Stumble on Flora One, discovers a mysterious key, setting off a chain of events involving Earth's Security Agency agents Leigh and Cole. Together with her sister Tabitha, they uncover a hidden power source beneath an ancient crater's waters and an entity trying to protect it, warning of an impending threat from the Otarue, an aggressive cosmic race. The town prepares for the potential invasion, relying on a weapon constructed by cantankerous senior weapons designer Milo. Personal relationships and romances develop amidst the chaos. The weapons prove effective, but their use requires a man and a woman with matching DNA. As the Otarue attack, Caley, her team, and an Otarue refugee named Utapchee confront a powerful weapon from the opposing faction of the Otarue, placing Crater Stumble in dire jeopardy.

When I picked up Crater Stumble by John Parker, I definitely expected the story of an alien attack on a small town, and Parker delivered as promised. What I did not expect were the splashes of romance and the personal stories of the characters, which Parker gives enough attention to so that a reader not only falls in love with the town but also with those who live in it. Given the size of the novel and the speed at which it reads, the ability to flesh everything out so thoroughly is a testament to Parker's skill as a writer. I loved the relationship dramas that are sometimes as explosive as the fear of invasion but somehow feel so much more intimate. Still, the highlight of Parker's story is the collective efforts, humorous moments, and bonding amid adversity in Crater Stumble. These demonstrate the power of unity and the potential for personal growth and camaraderie during challenging times and make the novel an excellent read. Very highly recommended.

K.C. Finn

Crater Stumble is a work of fiction penned by author John Parker in the science fiction, action, and adventure subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Readers are introduced to Caley, a small-town sheriff in the peaceful farming village of Crater Stumble, which is unique in one rather significant way: it's situated on an alien planet. Life in Crater Stumble is relatively quiet, except for a culture of competitive knife-tossing females, driven by the fact that women outnumber the men in the town. The story takes a thrilling turn when an alien war unexpectedly engulfs Caley's hometown, forcing her to face up to her responsibilities to her community.

Author John Parker has crafted a fantastic tale of science fiction, small-town life, and the unexpected bravery of those put to the test, creating a unique and intriguing narrative that kept me gripped from cover to cover. The juxtaposition of rural life on an alien planet and the sudden need for defense in a seemingly serene community sets the stage well, with highly immersive and atmospheric descriptive language that gives the work a blockbuster cinematic feel. The work is wonderfully character-driven, and the fresh feel of the narrative is helped by its many quirky characters, wacky inventions, and a dose of humor. Caley is a vibrant figure in the center of it all, and we warm to her through many stumbling blocks and interesting situations that show us her true calling. Overall, Crater Stumble is a highly enjoyable and imaginative read that offers a fresh perspective on both science fiction and rural life, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.