by Vincent Pauletti
The Bounty Hunters is an odd duck. It is difficult to rate it either good or bad. I'm more inclined to give it a "not applicable," but that would involve me creating a new category. The premise of this work is that some Russian is assembling a cast of international assassins, bounty hunters and mercenaries for a mission that has its roots going back to Copernicus in the 16th century. First, let me begin why this is not in anyway a bad short story: the writing. From the very first page, author Vincent Pauletti immerses the reader in a vivid world of mercenaries and guns for hire throughout the world. I have never said this before on this blog, but I will say it now; this author could definitely be a NYT bestselling author right now. The characters in The Bounty Hunters, and there are roughly a half dozen of them from all over the world, each have unique personalities, and the author pulls off their dialects perfectly. I typically hate dialect in writing, but it is well done here. My personal favorites are those of the McManus brothers from Ireland. Additionally, Pauletti has a solid foundation of understanding for each locale his bounty hunters come from. I teach world history for a living so I can vouch for this. Now, why is this not a good short story? Well, The Bounty Hunters isn't really a story at all. It is a bridge between two novels, The Nostradamus Revelation and The Copernicus Connection. There is no plot to speak of, aside from an introductory scene for each bounty hunter where they get a call from "the Russian." After Pauletti introduces the reader to his cast, he includes the prologue and first chapter from the second book in the Omega Sector series, The Copernicus Connection. Perhaps in the context of the series, this short story has more relevance, but as a stand alone work I found it unfulfilling. That being said, I just downloaded The Nostradamus Revelation to my Kindle because I need to see what this Omega Sector series is all about. If Pauletti's writing is any indication, I may have stumbled upon a strong action thriller writer.