Crime drama meets sci-fi mayhem in Chloe’s (No Last Tattoo, 2013, etc.) haunting alien thriller.
Natt Whitehall is no stranger to alien life forms—he’s conducted extensive scientific research on the subject—but he finds himself helplessly looking on as his innocent sandwich run turns into an otherworldly nightmare at just after 9:30 on a dark night in Los Angeles. As Natt walks down the street, a mysterious teenage boy plunges pointy objects into the necks of two dark, hooded creatures before departing from the scene. Natt’s frantic 911 call summons the unflappable Gina O’Neill, an FBI agent and former lover with a formidable talent for solving crimes. Together, Natt and O’Neill embark on an investigation into a strange series of attacks that have resulted in skinned human bodies washing up on the shores of Malibu. The investigation leads them to Ziarre, the strange, deeply troubled owner of a car seen at the crime scene, and her grandfather Christian Donaldson. As Ziarre’s story unfolds, so does the dark history of the U.S. government’s involvement with a synthetically engineered breed of aliens known as bio-soldiers. Complicated by the presence of Ziarre’s sinister boss, Joe Evans, the plot unfolds in a heart-stopping web of drugs, sex, violence—and one young woman’s painful trail of self-discovery. Chloe’s writing is alive with detail—brand-name pizza receives just as much attention as alien attacks, and the result is a rare sense of verisimilitude that makes the presence of aliens in modern-day California feel all the more real and chilling. The action unfolds quickly, but Chloe’s tendency to give blow-by-blow descriptions of minor movements can make even sex scenes and alien onslaughts feel belabored and somewhat slow. The rapid shifts in time and point of view can feel haphazard and abrupt, too, and it takes a careful reader to follow the twists and turns of the complex yet compelling plot.
A fast-paced, tangled mystery with an eerie sci-fi twist.