Author: Carlton W. Austin
Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, 2004
Genre: Science Fiction/Apocalypse
The following review was contributed by: John Walsh & CLICK TO VIEW John Walsh's Reviews
Angels appear to be walking the streets and the dead may be coming back to life. A mysterious package from Mars suggests startling revelations and the inevitable shady CIA-based committee (we are very much in America here) is dedicated to maintaining national security by killing anyone who seems to know too much. In the midst of these events, various human dramas are played out, not least between Molly Lavisch and the father she believes sexually abused her as a child and between Molly and the ex-fighter pilot Peter McKenzie who has ghosts in the past of his own. The setting changes from America to the Middle East to Africa as the characters seek to find out the meaning of the mysterious artifacts while hoping to avoid the depredations of the numerous bad guys on their trail.
The title of this book gives away enough clues for the reader to reconstruct an outline of the plot from the start but, nevertheless, this is actually a superior entry into the genre. There is a sense of depth to the characters which elevates it above the ordinary, even though none of the characters is terribly likeable. The plot maintains a high pace and, although it would be easy and perhaps unfair to pick holes in it, it more or less keeps on course throughout the three hundred or so pages. As seems to be par for the course these days, most of the characters utter a fair amount of right-wing nonsense and some of the racial stereotyping would have been subverted by a more skilful author but each has a vividness that comes close to élan.
For a book which features so much near-death action in the air (the author is an aerobatics instructor among other things), I would be reluctant to recommend it as a good companion for a long flight but readers with a lengthy train journey in prospect or considering sitting on a beach for a few hours could do far worse than taking this novel with them.
John Walsh, Shinawatra International University, June 2005. Blog: http://jcwalsh.bravejournal.com