An alien living a quasi-human existence investigates a black hole in the English countryside.
Urgently summoned to step up in the face of enigmatic danger by The Colonel, his boss in the covert agency The Organization, Ishmael Jones isn’t sure what he and Penny Belcourt, his girlfriend and partner, are in for when they drive to Brassknocker Hill, just outside Bath. The townspeople tell tales of a shadowy Beast with nefarious if unspecified intentions. A small team of specialty scientists, led by professor Sharon Bellman, has already been called to learn more about the hole, but one of them has been lost to the hole’s almost magnetic forces. Was his disappearance nothing more than a misadventure, or was he pushed? This isn’t the first time Ishmael’s been up against something apparently supernatural (Into the Thinnest of Air, 2018, etc.). Most crimes and misdemeanors—more specifically, in Ishmael's investigative experience, most murders—aren’t otherworldly but relate to base human desires. So while Ishmael’s main role is to protect the team of scientists investigating the hole, he’s not above trying to figure out what’s happened. He could keep the scientists he’s charged with protecting safe if only they followed his and Penny’s sound advice to stick together. While the scattered team is picked off one by one, Ishmael begins to learn that he may have his own personal connection to the hole—a connection that may have something to tell him about his own alien origins, if he’s ready to listen.
It’s hard to believe that maimed scientists and a black hole are among the tamer elements in a story that’s surprisingly dark given its plot-driven focus.