Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Field Trip, by R.A. Andrade

Selladore Press, ISBN 9780990325420, May 2015

Ross Barton is a botanist, a professor at the University of Indiana. It's established early on that he's a nice guy but socially awkward with women. However, he also has some serious grit, demonstrated by his heroic actions when there's a crash at the airport where he's taking helicopter flying lessons.

But Ross isn't sticking around Indianapolis for the summer. He's heading off to Vermont for a research trip, collecting data for an evolution-modeling computer program. He leaves behind, for further consideration later, a relationship with a girlfriend that he's recently learned, due to an overheard telephone conversation, is a good deal less romantic than he had imagined. Marsha is in it for connection and security, not because she finds him exciting and romantic.

So off he goes to Vermont, where nothing about his first couple of days goes right. The motel is a dump, his upset over discovering Marsha's real intentions led him to leave behind vital supplies he now has to buy all over again, and in the process, he literally walks into a lovely but hostile woman who says her name is Jay.

Then he keeps running into Jay, even once he's out on the trail. And this odd woman is definitely hiding something.

It turns out her secret is literally out of this world. Ross finds himself caught between the US military trying to find the alien visitors they know are in the area (because they damaged the aliens' ship, and captured and dissected some of them), and Jay's desperate mission to rescue Ruthran children on what was supposed to be a harmless school field trip.

I like Ross, and Jay. Oswald the screech owl almost works. The impossible things in this story, though, just aren't adequately supported, and my suspension of disbelief kept breaking. I wanted so badly to like this book, but in the end, like Oswald the screech owl, it only almost works, and is, ultimately, not quite ready for prime time. Hopefully, Andrade will get a good editor, and continue to grow as a writer.

An okay light read.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.