What can you say? Here is a terrific thriller that you wish hadn’t been a thriller at all but a straightforward mainstream novel minus all gunfire, poisoned needles, villainy, and murder. In Mexico City, a virgin gives birth by C-section, and a tiny tentacled device is removed from her uterus. In Colorado Springs, 45-year-old Molly Reed is pregnant. She and her husband Thomas, long grieving for their drowned son Alex, have sex so rarely that her pregnancy is nearly as great a surprise as the virgin birth. Molly’s C-section discloses a similar tentacled device. A secret organization, Neo Tech, which has been following these paranormal events, brings in Casey Armstrong, once a remote viewer and psychometrist for the CIA, to analyze the device. She sees it as an offering from some power that’s trying to raise mankind to a higher level. When she is asked to view the amazing baby born to Molly, she finds that the baby is actually inside her, that she somehow is its mother or caretaker. Meanwhile, Neo Tech has sprouted links to the Church of Rome, which has murdered the Mexican virgin and her baby. If the strangely knowing Reed infant with the ability to dissolve into a ball of fiery light is what Rome thinks, he’s marked for death as well, although Neo Tech has its own designs on the child’s powers. Thomas Reed’s friend from AA, Father Robert Barnes, who’s lost his faith, tells Thomas that his supremely intelligent baby has done away with all former religions and brought the Truth to unify mankind. But then Father Barnes gets murdered, as does Molly’s obstetrician. The truth seems to be that a new messiah, or as the Eastern religions say, a maitreya—perhaps even a new Buddha—has been born. Cosmic implications fight their way through the conventions of formula shockers. A sequel seems likely.