It’s no surprise that the first novel, and first of a projected series, from actress Anderson (The X-Files, etc.) and collaborator Rovin (Conversations With the Devil, 2007, etc.) comes with a strong X-Files tang.
A member of an enigmatic group steals a puzzling artifact recovered from beneath the south Atlantic waves. Meanwhile, as nuclear tensions between India and Pakistan ratchet up, India’s United Nations ambassador Ganak Pawar narrowly survives an assassination attempt. His daughter, Maanik, who was at the scene and escaped unhurt, suddenly begins injuring herself, screaming uncontrollably and babbling in what seems to be an unknown tongue. U.N. translator Benjamin Moss calls in distinguished Manhattan child psychiatrist Caitlin O’Hara. She finds Maanik’s symptoms baffling—especially when Ben listens to her ravings and identifies elements of several wildly disparate languages. Then, in Iran, a boy suddenly and inexplicably sets himself on fire. In Haiti, a student apparently starts to drown—on dry land. Rats occupy New York’s Washington Square. And when Caitlin touches her patient, she experiences strange visions and feels an external presence. The professionally executed narrative moves the stock characters along at a briskly globe-hopping pace but offers no original elements, fresh perspective or innovative treatment. So what’s behind all the obviously linked phenomena—demons? Malevolent aliens? Ancient civilizations? Sinister conspiracies? Mystic powers? Savvy readers will get that sinking feeling when they begin to guess about halfway through—ideas so threadbare they’d come close to the top of any fantasy or science fiction editor’s “never write about this” list.
Still, with that celebrity name on the cover, anything’s possible.