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Reviewed by Janelle Alex, Ph.D. for Readers' Favorite
Herb Hughes' science fiction novel, Killing Rhinos, is an intriguing tale. A refreshing novel in a genre overwhelmed with interplanetary and intergalactic battles, androids and alien beings. Agrilot, where Jack Wheat lives, was once a place where criminals of all kinds were sent in an attempt to let them start over. Over time, those criminals did just that and created a decent society to live in, but they have strange monstrous beasts that erupt from under the ground and savagely kill innocent men, women and children. These beasts, though they look nothing like rhinoceroses except for their horns, were given the name "Rhinos." Those who are capable of killing them are known as heroes, but Jack Wheat, best of the best Rhino hunters, has a very deep secret that could send him to prison. Even more, he seems to believe that there is a secret behind the Rhinos that goes beyond what people believe.
Killing Rhinos is such a fascinating tale. It's exceptionally well-written and smoothly blends normal human life with seemingly believable science fiction. The odd chapters with conversations between "self" and "self" are a little funky in the beginning, but eventually readers will come to embrace them as another unique part of the novel. There are some stereotypical aspects to the tale such as Jack's love interest, a bad guy, Bonner, wanting to take him down, and the initial call early in the book for Jack to come save the day in a town infested with Rhinos, but they don't detract from the story. There are a few graphic aspects to Hughes' novel, but they are not over the top. Herb Hughes wrote Killing Rhinos in a way that will keep readers intrigued and curious until the very end. Very well done indeed.