Captain Kirk and his crew (minus Spock, who is on leave) are assigned to a rather routine mission: transporting diplomats in the middle of tough negotiations. Things get tricky when one of the wives of the party is Kirk's old girlfriend - who would like nothing better than to renew the acquaintance (wink wink) -, while another diplomat insists on gifting Kirk three wives. Just when things couldn't get more awkward, an attache is murdered and the prime suspect is one of Kirk's own crew.
A rather dull outing, lightened with occasional humor, but most of the action is focused on a unusually dithering Kirk, confounded by the rather simple murder situation. This might be explained by the fact that the book was originally written during the Enterprise first five year mission and was rewritten to be set after the first movie, but a weak plot is still a weak plot. The answer to the mystery is so obvious, especially to a crew with the Enterprise's experience, that I found myself shouting, "It's a blood shape shifter, you meatheads! Not like you haven't seen that before!" and wishing that Mr. Spock would just come back already.
Summary: Weak plot, poorly constructed mystery, but good prose. If you'd only time for one quick read, skip this and go for Prime Directive or Yesterday's Son.
Character ratings: Voices (inflections, etc) all Bs. Actions and motivations, all Cs.
When a star ship disappears in the Taygeta V system, Captain Kirk enlists the help of a prominent, but tempermental musician and two Klingon warship to help him investigate the phenomenon. The anomaly may be linked to the semi aquatic creatures who live on Taygetian. But with the restless Klingons on one hand, human hunters decimating the Teygetians on the other, and an expert who may succumb to illness at any moment, Kirk might just run out of time...
This isn't the best in the Star Trek series, although the author has a good sense of the original characters, and their speech patterns are pretty spot one (see below for individual analysis). The new characters suffer from lack of depth, especially the villains, who employ every cliche short of twirling their mustaches. A bonus is that Uhura gets more screen time than usual: unfortunately, most it is spent mooning over the expert, a new character who is more irritating than fascinating.
Summary: Tears of the Singers is quick, fun, with a good pace, but rather silly with a heavy-handed moral about animal rights. Good when you need a book to fill an hour or so.
Character portrayals (author understood character, good voice, etc)
McCoy: B (Voice - B-)
(Sulu and Checkov were not in this enough for analysis)
"Moved me close to tears" is not something you would normally write about a Star Trek book, but A. C. Crispin's Yesterday's Son had me reaching for the tissues by the last page.
When Spock realizes that he left behind a son on the planet Sarpedion (see the 3rd season episode All Our Yesterdays, TOS), he uses the Guardion of Forever (see 1st season episodeThe City on the Edge of Forever, TOS ) to retrieve him. Only by the time they find the boy, Zar, he is 28, too old to be easily explained as Spock's son. As the newly-formed family struggles to bond, a Romulan attack threatens the Guardian - and the galaxy as the crew knows it.
This was A. C. Crispin's first novel and it is an impressive debut. Strong writing, good characterizations, and a heartbreaking family drama sets this short novel above the rest. Highly recommended.
Character ratings: All 'A's