*Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Captain Zachary Crowe (Zaz) created the small company Planet Janitor. Their mission is usually space salvage, though they sometimes help environmental surveys of new planets. Unfortunately, for all the accolades they get, Planet Janitor has an equal amount of condemnations. Hoping to improve his crew's reputation, Zaz agrees to space jump mission that will take 25 Earth years and will lay the foundation for the colonization of a new planet. Once they get there, however, the crew sees nothing but evidence of the genocide of an entire species (literally, bones everywhere). After a few days, the crew meets up with the creatures responsible for the genocide and suddenly this simple job has become a survival scenario.
This book ended up being a lot more of a mystery/thriller than I thought it would be. The mystery of the dangerous creatures and revelation of their background really threw me for a loop. And those creatures were also incredibly scary. There were some scenes that left a strong enough impression to make me hesitate to turn off the lights. All without any really gruesomely detailed scenes. There is mention of blood and guts, but nothing to really churn the stomach.
The cast of characters were equally engaging. Everyone had their place, their role to play, even the seemingly useless stowaway. The crew interact well together, with one or two exceptions that were stress induced. The characters are creative and intelligent and, most importantly, know how to get themselves out of bad situations.
When I was first contacted about Planet Janitor, I was told about its strong comparisons to Firefly. Admittedly, it was difficult not to picture Carl, the self-proclaimed doctor of pyrotechnics, as Jayne and Zaz certainly shares several of Mal's noble attributes, but I feel like this book/world is strong enough to stand on its own. Especially since, in this world, there was no major war (Alliance vs Independents) and much of this book takes place on the same planet.
I really enjoyed reading this book. There is humor, mystery, scares and more. If you're interested in Sci-Fi Survival stories, this is definitely the book for you. I highly recommend giving Planet Janitor a read.