Mars Adrift by Kathleen McFall & Clark Hays REVIEW + GIVEAWAY


by Kathleen McFall & Clark Hays

Publisher: Pumpjack Press

Date of Publication: February 14th, 2022

Pages: 300

Categories: Science Fiction / Mystery / Hard Boiled Detective

An interplanetary mystery and a searing critique of the contemporary billionaire quest for Mars. The year is (still) 2188 and Crucial Larsen is officially done with Mars. But just as he’s set to head back to his beloved Earth, meteors crash into the orbital platforms, ravage the luxury domes and knock Halo—the powerful AI running Mars and Earth—offline. And this is no random cosmic event. An invading force has the technology to redirect space rocks at will and intends to level the Five Families.

Their first act? Put a bounty on missing Staff Scientist Melinda Hopwire, Crucial’s ex-lover—the only person left alive who can find the back-up servers to introduce the AI empathy hack, the endgame of the beleaguered Resistance. Crucial has to claw his way across the deadly Choke armed with nothing more than a glue gun, expired maple rum and Sanders, a malfunctioning cybanism, to find Mel and her synthetic perma-kitten Wisp. If he fails, it’s the end for both planets.

Click Here to Purchase: Amazon | Pumpjack Press


Mars Adrift was beyond simply an entertaining story. It held a message far deeper than anything I was expecting to accompany an action-packed mystery. The plot and interactions between past and present were brilliant. I loved that the authors not only created this layout of flashbacks and sneak peaks into the new age but used this structure to dive deeper and present a message that will resonate far beyond the story.

The entire future plot of this building history course was fascinating and exhilarating for the philosopher in me. I can't get over how much I loved the relevancy of interpreting history and separating facts versus feelings. Presenting both the empath and the removed devils advocates seeing the same events happening with different motivations and end results. I ate up every interaction in that classroom and it left me with a way of thinking that I didn't go into this book with.

Beyond this history building element, I also adored the parallel references from having to create and learn empathy again as a world to the constant feeds in our heads and our dependency on them to get to know others. I hope we never get that bad as a technology-driven world, but I could also somehow already relate to this nonstop chaos in my head and fear of silence and sadly my dependency on social media to see how my family and friends are doing when I'm too lazy to pick up a phone and talk with them.

My one snag that created a slow start for me was the beginning. For me, it didn't necessarily contain anything that hooked me in and was maybe too focused on setting the scene. It was a lot to take in between an introduction into this new age and understanding why and where we were as a reader then also getting those reminders and references from the previous books sprinkled in to catch you up to speed. It was very busy and a bit overwhelming.

Overall, Mars Adrift had energy, action, and a great depth of story with a deeper added bonus message. I would recommend this to an age range spanning decades. I know my space-loving preteen niece will love this and get lost in the detail the authors take into describing life on Mars, but as an adult I could also appreciate the adventure and thoroughly enjoy the philosophy side of things.


Clark and Kathleen wrote their first book together in 1999 as a test for marriage. They passed. Mars Adrift is their tenth co-authored book.

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