Boyer’s debut novel, the first in a trilogy, is a UFO melodrama with manly, lustful scientists, hysterical heroines and wise, helpful Native American shamans.
Andie McKenna, an orphan, was raised by a forbidding priest in the Mexican jungle after she experienced an act of traumatic violence as a young child. Now, without alerting anyone, beautiful but broken Andie has left the set of the shoestring movie she’s producing in San Francisco. She plans to run off to a dingy hotel in the Yucatán near the priest’s compound after receiving a telegram that says her father is dying. But who’s her father? At the same time, virile Dr. Jack Dosch is called back to his lab at the secretive Universal Resources company because it’s finally happened: The aliens are sending us a signal, apparently from the tail of a comet heading toward earth. Out in the desert, the shamans are performing a fire ritual in order to save the sexy, blue-skinned, teenage alien ghost, who turns out to be riding the comet. He’s a murdered boy–king who can only be revived by his daughter, abandoned on Earth many years ago. Government bureaucrats, either ignorant or evil, try to thwart this reunion with frightening violence against the scientists, the blue ghost and his daughter. Boyer ably builds suspense, and the hooks of her melodrama will pull the reader along, but that doesn’t make up for clumsy writing and poor characterization, especially of the women. “Over the years she’d prepared herself for every horrible thing that could possibly go wrong in her life, and because it was her life, that meant just about everything.” In an unfounded reveal midway through the story, Boyer discloses that Andie and lovelorn scientist Jack are separated from a marriage to each other; this comes after the author has thoroughly portrayed Andie as someone too traumatized to ever enter into a relationship with anyone: “She trusted no one, needed no one.” The teenage ghost is one of few sympathetic characters, along with his assistant, a Little Blue Rock (the name of his species)—a quirky R2-D2–like helper who provides a good amount of humor. There are also some solid, tight action sequences, particularly when male and female astrophysicists and doctors become pugnacious against the bureaucrats.
Fun for fans of melodramatic, light sci-fi, but not as appealing for others.