Roswell? Area 51? In a book to make X-Files fans twitch in excitement, Mezrich (Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs—A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder, 2015, etc.) connects dots we didn’t even know existed.
“Is there a dead cow in the back of this truck?....It’s not the whole cow.” Chuck Zukowski is the sort of rural cop who calls for a geekier Dennis Weaver or Tommy Lee Jones to portray him, a sheriff’s reserve deputy in the high country of Colorado—geekier because he’s employed in the tech industry and no stranger to the intricacies of computers and telescopes. Yet, Zukowksi is also one of those fellows who “scour newspapers, check Internet boards, searching for anything that mentioned UFOs or unexplained sightings.” Then there’s the business of the livestock mutilations, a specialty of his, which explains the presence of those half-cows in the bed of his pickup truck: “He hadn’t intended to cart his current mutilation into Denver,” writes Mezrich of a typical Zukowski moment, “but as with any vocation, sometimes life got in the way.” As the author notes in a narrative that is occasionally redacted, these mutilations would seem to be endemic to Colorado, dating back to the 1960s and accompanied by sightings of UFOs. The tangled history of those mutilations and the efforts of Colorado citizens and politicians to find an explanation for them is worth the cover price of the book alone, but there’s more: Mezrich joins the odd facts of those unfortunate dead cows and horses to secret landing strips, shadowy corporations, and sunglasses-clad government agents, the usual stuff of every other ET exposé. The author does it better than most, but, apart from a nicely dramatic narrative, there’s not much definitive in the findings. Something’s clearly happening out there in the high meadows and along desert highways, but what it is remains a matter of speculation.
Mezrich probably won’t sway the skeptical, but fans of Art Bell and company will find all the affirmation they need.