What’s the connection between the shocking conclusion to a drug-fueled teen party in Nebraska and an outbreak of food poisoning in the nation’s capital?
FBI profiler Maggie O’Dell, sent to the Nebraska National Forest to examine the latest in a series of surgically precise mutilations of cattle, just happens to be on hand to take charge of the scene of a late-night party gone disastrously wrong. Two boys have been electrocuted and a third, loner Dawson Hayes, shocked nearly to death. Dawson, who brought a Taser to the festivities, reports seeing a white creature, a pair of red eyes and a brilliant, unearthly light show in the sky. But only Wesley Stotter, of UFO Network, credits his story and promptly goes hunting for aliens. Half a continent away, Det. Julia Racine, of Metro D.C. Homicide, just happens to be on hand to pick up her partner’s daughter when a violent round of illness sweeps over 100 schoolchildren, bringing Maggie’s sometime lover, Dr. Benjamin Platt, together with Roger Bix, of the Center for Disease Control, to find out why. As usual in Maggie’s adventures (Damaged, 2010, etc.), dizzy crosscutting between nefarious plots intended to magnify the suspense upstages it instead, though Kava certainly keeps things moving along smartly. The question of how such wildly disparate outrages might be connected is ingenious, and the answer reasonably satisfying, especially for conspiracy buffs. But the villains are forgettable, and there’s no one much to care about, including Maggie.
You’d think that the double threat of alien invaders and contaminated school lunches would create an irresistible rooting interest, but you’d be wrong.