In Douglas’ debut sci-fi thriller, an anonymous source puts a former FBI agent on the trail of a government conspiracy involving aliens.
Private investigator and ex–federal agent William Harrison doesn’t know who’s sending him postcards signed “Echo Tango.” But whoever it is, “ET” claims that there’s been a long government coverup, starting in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico, where two UFOs crashed. Five military policemen who witnessed the event died soon afterward in supposed accidents. Now the same thing may be happening again, as a UFO sighting mere months ago seems to have resulted in similar mishaps. Harrison teams up with his old FBI partner, Art Holcomb, and Nick Ridley, a Las Vegas cop whose brother-in-law may have fallen prey to the coverup. Once they find ET, the small group plans to bring down the Saint Mary Project, a government initiative to keep aliens a secret by any means necessary. This energetic thriller leans much more toward espionage than sci-fi, but its sprinkling of fantastical elements makes it a standout. Readers aren’t privy to any information about the aliens that the heroes don’t have, and this uncertainty generates a high level of suspense. At the same time, there’s enough sci-fi material to keep fans engrossed; for example, the (human) villains are aware of four alien species, but a largely unknown fifth one has them on edge. There are also a couple of alien-human hybrids, and at least one of them is working for the baddies. A bit of romance between Harrison and Janice, the new intern at his PI office, pales in comparison to the camaraderie among the men, who band together like soldiers. Readers will cheer when one of them saves another and become anxious when one of them disappears. There’s a definite resolution to the story but nary a break in the action until the end.
A multigenre espionage tale that’s unquestionably entertaining.