A debut sci-fi novel about the Roswell UFO crash, the ship’s alien occupants, and the photographers determined to expose the truth.
Twenty-eight-year-old Casey Foster is a photographer for the Washington Post. Still a relatively new recruit at the newspaper, he’s typically given fluff assignments, yet he craves challenging work that carries more weight. His grandmother calls from Roswell, New Mexico, to tell him that his grandfather, Newton, has died. After flying west for the funeral, Casey receives a shoebox from his grandmother—Newton’s parting gift. Inside is a series of 15 black-and-white photos, taken by Newton as a young man in July 1947. Casey uses the Post’s photo lab to sharpen and colorize the quickly shot pictures, which depict metal debris, the Roswell Army/Air Force Base medical center, and a body on a table. He quickly connects the pics with the famous Roswell flying saucer crash, which the government is believed to have covered up with a weather balloon story. He calls the Pentagon with a fake name to learn more, but the military proves tight-lipped and begins to track him. A man named Tommy Lee follows Casey and his girlfriend, Leah Anne, back to Roswell to keep tabs on this photographer whose connections and tenacity may reveal a conspiracy that’s more than 60 years old. Author Rosen’s debut features crash courses on the Roswell incident, the efforts of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the Hubble Space Telescope. He leverages the real science—and fun, fictional alien biology, such the visitors’ red insectlike eyes—against caricatures of presidents Barack Obama, both Bushes, Carter, and Clinton (who in one meeting is portrayed as “daydreaming of donuts and cigars”). Sometimes the author’s characterization of Casey as a stud goes overboard, as when Leah Anne tells him, “You kept me up all night. Animal” or he enters a room wearing “nothing but a smile.” Despite the presence of government agents and a knife-throwing Native American, science and politics drive the story. By the end, Rosen brings readers just short of a narrative payoff, which will likely happen in the sequel.
A sometimes–tongue-in-cheek exploration of how humanity might respond to alien contact.