I'm trying to get back on track with my Trek book reading, so last week I randomly grabbed one off the shelving unit to peruse- "Devil World", by Gordon Eklund...
As with most novels, the back of the book gives you a brief rundown of what to expect when you read this; Spock has to beam back aboard the Enterprise in a state of severe shock, a man named Jacob Kell may be his only hope, a mysterious force rules the planet, and all but one of the planet's original 100 colonists are completely insane. Sounds like a pretty straight forward plot, right? Well, the Spock bit is pretty minor in the actual novel, and he's relegated to almost a "guest star" status. There's also no mention of Gilla Dupree, the female lead in the story. She's the one that gets the action started by convincing Kirk to head to the quarantined planet to aid her in a search for her missing father, Jacob Kell. Also absent from the brief synopsis are the planet inhabitants, the Danons, a race of aliens that resemble devils.
The book flows pretty strongly for awhile, with Kirk getting to know Gilla, the explanations as to why Kell went to the planet, and the introduction of the Danons as highlights. But just when things start to get interesting, you're almost at the end of the novel and everything gets wrapped up a little too quickly and easily for my tastes. The book is short at only 153 pages, and I think the ending could have really benefited with the addition of another 50 pages or so to really pad it up a bit. Oh, there's also a subplot with Kirk being saddled with an annoying steward that I could have totally done without.
This is one that I could only recommend reading if you get it dirt cheap and you have an afternoon of boredom that needs filling. The rushed ending reminds of a Coen brothers film, where I'm really into the movie for the majority of the run... but then everything gets rapidly sewn together in the last 10 minutes and leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.