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Dark Run

(Keiko #1)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  2,094 ratings  ·  303 reviews
In this debut space epic, a crew of thieves and con artists take on a job that could pay off a lot of debts in a corrupt galaxy where life is cheap and criminals are the best people in it.

The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune, and adventurers travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And they never talk about their past—until now.

Hardcover, 339 pages
Published June 7th 2016 by Saga Press (first published June 4th 2015)
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Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
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Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Dark Run by Mike Brooks is a sci-fi adventure novel that first made its debut in the UK in the summer of 2015 to some pretty good reviews, and I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that the book and its sequel Dark Sky were both made available in the US in audio format last month. I ended up deciding to give it a shot because a) I’ve never met a swashbuckling space romp audiobook I didn’t like, and b) the book stole
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dark Run is a predictable, low-engagement outer space western. There is a discernible difference between being derivative and being completely allergic to originality, and this book is a sterling example of the latter.
The story moves along at a brisk enough pace, and Brooks is a proficient and capable writer. All things considered, Dark Run is not terrible. But the fundamental problem, one that kept my ability to enjoy it in check, is the novel's protagonist. Ichabod Drift is meant to be a "like
16/9 - I just can't get this review started. I've had a number of pages marked for discussion for days now, but every time I find the time to get started writing I suddenly decide I need to do something else (on or off the internet) and I never end up getting to the review. I figured I'd give writing by hand in my journal a go and just put pen to paper and see where I end up. So far I've got: a lot more mistakes (no delete button) and my hand writing is barely legible (even to me), but that's no ...more
"Buckle up, everyone. Jia’s taking us down ahead of schedule, and incidentally has lost her fucking mind."
"I heard that."
"You were meant to."

Dark Run reads somewhere between Firefly and The Expanse with greater diversity and light sexy time.

The episodic writing is geared a little too much for televisation, catchy chapter headings and all. The writing, and story, could have flowed better.

There’s enough here for optimism about the series. It’s a high three stars for me and I’ll be reading book
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
3 stars, but a GOOD 3 stars. Lots of books have been compared to Firefly but this is the Firefliest.
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
*Copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

Dark Run is a feisty space opera, with a layer of grit overlaying a much larger sense of charm.

It’s set in what feels like a not-intolerably distant future, after the discovery of faster-than-light drive has sent humankind on a diaspora to the stars. As a result, we’re shown a rather large variety of different locations in the universe. There’s half-terraformed worlds, where air is rationed, and everyone lives under a dome, or under several thick fe
Stevie Kincade
(Audiobook) I am not going to rate this book as I only listened to 90 minutes of it. I do have some thoughts though...

No one has recommended this book to me. If you rate any well reviewed Science Fiction book of 2016, chances are Goodreads will recommend "Dark Run". I knew nothing about it except that it keeps turning up on this site as something published this year I should read.

The writing was just OK. I kind of shook my head at the line that someone was wobbling like a shivering epileptic. Th
Jeannette Nikolova
Read on the WondrousBooks blog.

My issue with this book: there was nothing there. Not a thing. I have read quite a few books in my life and this one qualifies in top 10 books that couldn't grab my attention in ANY way. Usually if I don't like a book, at least I can pinpoint what I didn't like about it. The same can't be said about Dark Run. In a couple of months I'm probably going to forget this book exists. I know it's a harsh thing to say, but I really don't see why this book was written.

Holly (The Grimdragon)
Of all the ways I could choose to die, being blown into hard vacuum by an explosive device was a long way from the top of the list.

Mike Brooks' debut novel, Dark Run, is an unabashedly fun space-Western!

This book moves fast! It is a quick page-turner about a lovable crew of misfits aboard a spaceship. Their relationships; their pasts; their misadventures. Most of the crew is looking for a second chance. They are inherently good people that have gotten into bad situations previously. Working on t
Jacqueline J
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
very satisfying space opera. Fast moving and clearly written. There was no guessing what was going on. No aliens here just humans who have expanded into space. Written in third person from 3 or so different members of the crew of the Keiko a merchant ship which operates a bit on the shady side. The crew is made of diverse people each with a different skill set and no questions asked. Super fun and looks like the first of a series.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's fairly rare when I bother to do written reviews of books. I like them or don't like them to varying degrees and don't feel like it's important to tell people why I like them. That and I don't much like having to analyze a book I read for enjoyment because it wrecks it for me sometimes.

This book, I wanted to do at least a little something for. I don't think it's had enough praise personally.

There are a lot of people that compare this to Firefly*. It does have some of the things I valued mos
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

This was a nicely-paced and fun read, in the vein of space cowboys/pirates/smugglers branch of sci-fi. More plot- and ambiance- than character-driven, but what I wanted to read when I requested this book was a romp in space with action, blazing guns, spaceships, fishy cargoes, crazy pilots and mercenaries... and this is exactly what I got.

The crew members of the Keiko find themselves embroiled into a mission for someone they
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Run is a fun, very Firefly-ish sort of story — in that, I mean both the setting (the world situation, the character lineup, the tone) and the actual storyline are quite like Firefly. There are a couple of lines which seem like homages, like the pilot saying “I am a leaf on the wind”… but since that doesn’t lead to disaster in quite the same way as it does in Serenity, it kind of ruins the moment? Like, I read the line and braced myself, and then it was just… a throwaway comment? Hm. It’s th ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Run is a meaty space opera, charmingly gritty, soaked in a utopian/dystopian diaspora of mankind testing the limits of interstellar travel. There are advanced colonies on distant planets, dingy spaceports and layer-upon-layer of human, grim settlements on terraformed moons, or beneath sprawling cities that sit on the foundations of ones that exist today, like New York and Prague. There’s also a sense of friction between political facets that are vying, it seems, for galactic real estate, wh ...more
Tim Hicks
See Sarah's review.
This is just a generic space pirates story. Meh.
Characters that might have been drawn from a game deck.
Generic superbad manipulator/Bond villain, with the obligatory super-killer on staff.

Writing maybe slightly below average compared to what I have been reading, although I have seen quite a few VERY good writers lately. Weak metaphors, adequate humour. Action scenes competent, explanations adequate, if a tad long sometimes.

And hey, you can't have a character hiding and thi
⭐Anni⭐ (Book Princess)
I got Dark Run at a book sale at the bookstore where I work. The (german) cover looked cool, and I was in the mood for some good old sci-fi/space adventure. And that's exactly what I got. Dark Run sure isn't the most original novel out there, but it's fun.

There was world building, there were a bunch of mismatched characters who go on a mission together, there are conspiracies, lies and a lot of action. There were one or two scenes in particular I wouldn't have needed, I guess it showed that the
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This is another book that will get comparisons to Firefly, two of the quotes on the back of the book even mention it. But unlike The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (LWSAP), a book that gets the Firefly comparison itself, Dark Run succeeds in its plot & excitement but lacks depth anywhere else.

In LWSAP, the ship's crewmembers are genuinely likable, unique and are given meaningful character development. The characters in Dark Run can rarely be described that way. There's the rogue captain, the
Old fashioned space opera of mismatched crew of dubious backgrounds doing various gray-hat deeds, from bounty hunting to smuggling. About half the story is a revenge shoot-em-up to get back at the guy who done them wrong. None of the crew are especially engaging, especially their low-life leader. The interstellar universe is familiar. Decent enough action popcorn story for gunfights and space ship chases if you just want some quick fun.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

That one word sums this book pretty well. How were the characters? Eh. How was the story? Eh. How was the universe? Eh. No one aspect of the book egregiously bad but the whole thing adds up to be incredibly bland.

The only thing I can even find to highlight is the fact that the whole thing reads like a first draft. If there was an editor they did not do a very good job on this one. There are way too many characters. Alex Cruz does literally nothing in the story. Ditto Nana Bastard. Micah von D
Miriam Cihodariu
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england
A really good read, especially coming from a relatively new author, does entirely deserve to sit along with the classics.
I liked how plausible the future of the major political systems of our time was described in the book, and the way a matter-of-fact cynicism and casual optimism blend in. It's totally the way I would see the Russian-influenced countries and the EU or USA behaving in a couple of centuries, presuming we would also begin to colonize other planets.

Besides that, the book is almos
The Keiko is a ship of smugglers, soldiers of fortune, and adventurers travelling Earth’s colony planets searching for the next job. And they never talk about their past—until now.

Captain Ichabod Drift is being blackmailed. He has to deliver a special cargo to Earth, and no one can know they’re there. It’s what they call a dark run…And it may be their last.

3.5 stars.

Dark Run is a fun space opera. It definitely reminded me of Firefly and also a little bit of Retribution Falls, even though that
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2015-reads
Ichabod Drift - a remarkable name for a main character.
He is the captain of space ship with a faster than lightpower unit.
Ichabod gathered an interesting crew. Each member has secrets and it is a strict rule on board that none is forced to talk about his\her past.

My favorite character is Jenna who is a really talented hacker.

The story starts with a bang and delivers action, character insight and unexpected turns.
The first job ends quite soon and there is a short period where from my point of vi
I am a bit torn with this book, It has everything I like, action, backstory, world building, good characters, interesting concept and decent dialogue, the problem's nothing new. While I enjoyed the read, it was a overwhelming sense of the deja vu, bits and pieces felt like things I had seen here and there. Now your opinion may vary, because my tastes run wide...I tend to see alot of stuff.

That being said, it is a well written entry into what will probably be a fun series, 3 stars if you a
Joe Murolo
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark Run reads like a phenomenal episode of Firefly, and I love me some Firefly. I love the characters and can't wait to read more. How long until the next book? ...more
Tony Evans
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This was a fun read. A lot like the TV show Firefly.
Mackenzie (bookish_black_hole)
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm definitely getting the next two books as soon as I can. This I think would be great for fans of Firefly (the show) and Becky Chambers' Wayfarers books (though I admit I have only read the first book) in the sense that it is a space adventure novel about a crew of misfits/outlaws/runaways who live and work together on a space ship. It's more plot driven than the Wayfarers books but still has great characters. One of my favorite things about this book was that at first, the rule on the ship is ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Run is a book that waves its space-Western credentials proudly from the first page. It’s a fast-moving tale of a maverick captain and his assorted crew across space. With characters named Ichabod Drift, Gideon Xanth, Annie Eclectic and Nana Bastard, you pretty much know from the outset what this plot is going to be like.

To be fair, it doesn’t disappoint. With its fast moving action, wise-cracking dialogue and wry humour, this maverick bunch of characters are as much fun as the ones I read i
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5. Deeply unoriginal but a quick, enjoyable gloss on the Firefly-type motley-crew-with-mysterious-past story.

Pet peeve: another story with mass colonization, FTL technology, hundreds of years in the future, and yet almost all other technology is the same? This is not a book for people who care about rigorous world building...
Aug 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was kinda fun? Maybe? Many have made comparisons to Firefly. That's at least somewhat true. The world is very similar to Firefly and we are following a team of scrappy outlaws.

I thought the characters were not nearly as rich as in a story like Firefly. They are all fairly similar to one another. Despite the fact that we are frequently reminded of their nationalities (Dutch, Chinese, Maori - kinda weird that their heritage is so defining in future-space-time), they all have this
Emily F
This book was a bit of a struggle to finish. I couldn't seem to find anything super interesting to get excited about to make me want to keep reading or find out what was going to happen next. The main character wasn't the most likeable. I mean, I get he's not necessarily a good guy but I've cheered for villains and ne'er-do-wells before, but Drift just wasn't fun enough of a character to be on his side or even completely against him.
I did enjoy the adventure sci-fi concept but there seemed to b
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Mike Brooks was born in Ipswich, Suffolk and moved to Nottingham when he was 18 to go to university. He’s stayed there ever since, and now lives with his wife, two cats, two snakes and a collection of tropical fish. When not working for a homelessness charity he plays guitar and sings in a punk band, watches football (soccer), MMA and nature/science documentaries, goes walking in the Peak District ...more

Other books in the series

Keiko (3 books)
  • Dark Sky (Keiko, #2)
  • Dark Deeds (Keiko, #3)

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