Star Trek 72: The Better Man
Prior to this I had read a partial Star Trek New Generation book that came with my wife's cellphone. The work was called 'The Belly of the Beast' I don't remember the author. I also had occasion to buy a couple of Star Trek books that documented the actual tv episodes in the 60's; I haven't read the collection but I did read one episode. On both these occasions I found myself delightfully engrossed. It is the same way with 'A Better Man'.
I find the Trek Books to be less charismatic than the Star Wars books but once I go into them they capture me. One benefit of having such a long running series is that the Star Trek universe is very deeply realized - just like the Star wars universe. The technology is fascinating, of course,and space is a great place to be, but it is the characters that fascinate most of all. In this case Weinstein, particularly through dialogue, brings out the individuality of the crew of the Starship Enterprise. This is someone who has written nine Star Trek books and, as the authors blurb, elucidates, one Star Trek animated episode.
Enough backgrounder. Looking at the book as a standalone work the writing gets out of the way and simply lets the story tell itself. No artifice, no attempt by the author to create an imprint. This is both a positive and a negative. It is a negative because a really good author bringing to bear his or her literary skill can truly create wonderful reading. On the other hand a hack can ruin a book. A straightforward style is advantageous because it avoids the danger of the story being ruined by an artiste. For a Star Trek novel the straightforward style works very well because the author is forced to lean on the world, or rather, the universe, of Star Trek - one of the most fully realized universes in science fiction.
The book is engaging, fun, it has a solid ending and it points the way for more Star Treck books for this happy reader. Only one question remains: Are the other writers as good as Howard Weinstein?