Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets by Jeffrey Cook
A YA Science Fiction Novel published by Fire and Ice (01/29/15)
Mina has always been the good influence, but when she strikes out on her own to clear her friend’s name she runs into all sorts of trouble. Mina hoped to get the ballerina chip, but was resigned to follow in her parents’ footsteps running the family business, Emerald City Flowers and Design. Instead she got way more than she could have hoped for: The Inquisitor Chip for the Secret Police. Flower deliveries is the perfect cover for a member of the Secret Police and her first assignment is to lay low and observe. She’s young, she’s confident, and she has not yet learned to follow directions. How could she when she suspects something more sinister is going on and doesn’t know who to trust within the Allied Investigative Agency? Along with her friend Amiko, the reliable antique Chevy Vlad, and her own natural inquisitiveness, Mina will do everything she can to solve the kidnapping of her friend Scott and find out what’s really going on in the AIA.
Strong Females, Diverse Cast, Action, Thriller, Mystery, Seattle, Secret Police, Futuristic, Technology
Mina is a character I can relate to because she doesn’t get everything that she wants. She’s confident in what she believes. She stands up for her friends and seeks out action. Not everyone gets to be a ballerina, and Mina is no exception. She is too short and stocky, in her mind, to be chosen for the elusive ballerina chip.
In a world where adolescents can work their hardest trying to paint their own futures and make their own destiny, it is their chipping that ultimately decides their fate. This is a wonderful and very futuristic technology that Jeffrey Cook exploits to the utmost of his imagination. “Implanting someone with everything they needed to know to do their assigned job perfectly had become a mostly exact science in the century-and-some it had been in use, but complications still came up.” (Page 23).
This is every school kid’s fantasy. What if you didn’t have to read and study for years on end, what if you could just download all that information? I bet most kids have salivated over this kind of technology at some point in their lengthy education. Cook fleshes out what it would really be like to be able to download a college’s worth of information in an instant and be able to hop right into the middle of a career. Of course, it’s not without its limitations. To be a ballerina one must have the years of physical training and ideal body type. To be a member of the Secret Police requires similar physical training and a great cover identity. “A chip might give an ambitious buyer perfect knowledge of human anatomy and perfect reactions to deal with every mishap that might arise. If, however, the recipient didn’t already have perfectly steady hands and a curiosity regarding the connections of muscles, nerves and organs, the chances of a surgeon’s chip malfunctioning went up exponentially.” (Page 23).
One of my favorite parts about Mina Cortez: Bouquets to Bullets was the world Jeffrey Cook built and his fascinating tidbits of futuristic technology. The way people communicated was different. The way people traveled was different. Every so often Cook would throw in something specific that was different more than a hundred years in the future.
I loved all the main characters. They each had a unique trait that the reader could hold onto as an identifier. Miko has a lead foot and a penchant for aikido. Scott is addicted to video games and is a picky eater (allergies). Mina never seems to be able to stick to her Inquisitor instructions and she’s constantly getting into and out of a sticky situation. She also can identify both her assailants and her friends through scent alone. How cool is that?
If you want action, you’ll get it with Mina Cortez. If you want a strong, kick-butt female main character and a chirpy optimist sidekick, Bouquets to Bullets is your book.
This novel was published by Fire and Ice January 29th, 2015 and is available on Amazon here.
TL;DR Star Rating: 4.75
Links for more information:
Jeffrey Cook on FreeValley Publishing