We’re all part of the same universe… aren’t we?
Here’s a novel that courageously tries to be a number of things simultaneously: bafflingly murder mystery, apocalyptic science fiction, a polemic on racism/systemic bigotry and historical allegory. It’s all woven into an engaging mix, fuelled by a question for the ages that everyone, from philosopher to fisherman has asked at one time or another, Does God truly exist?
Brian Cohn’s is a straightforward apocalyptic story that begins with news of an alien invasion. While on a routine murder investigation, Detectives Adrian Grace and Yuri Petrov soon lose interest in the crime scene when the sun is blotted out by an unbelievably huge spacecraft. Two years later, the aliens ¾ known as the slicks for their skin texture and tone ¾ rule the Earth. Food is scarce, electricity non-existent, real booze and prescription (even non-prescription) drugs run out and the less fortunate of the survivors of the alien v. human war are summarily shipped off to labor camps never to be seen again.
The godless slicks seem to be soulless creatures who are only interested in their conquests, survival, and domination. They believe themselves to be the superior race. It doesn’t take long to get the feeling that either Hitler or Stalin (or both!) were Cohn’s models for these world-controlling invaders.
Murder, as it turns out, is unknown in the alien race. They simply have no concept of this. So, when the apparent murder of one of the slicks, causes the Authority to call upon Grace, imploring him to use his considerable skills and solve the death of the unlucky “visitor,” the story really gets going. Aside: The Authority is a group of humans who have circumvented the labor camps by offering their services to the aliens.
From that point on, readers will soon learn to realize that no one tells the truth (even a Roman Catholic priest), that nothing is what it appears to be (imagine “fake terrorists” getting away with murder), and how love in the age of alien invasion plays out.
Fans of this genre will likely enjoy this fast-paced sci-fi despite some editing bumps in the narrative, and be talking about it for some time after they finish. Most, in fact, may be looking for more from this author.