Thursday, August 17, 2017

Not Alone, by Craig A. Falconer

Audible Studios, August 2016 (original publication December 2015

Dan McCarthy, a young man who has long believed aliens are real and the government knows it, stumbles across proof that aliens are real and the government knows it. He immediately leaks this proof--attempting, unsuccessfully, to do it anonymously--and immediately finds himself at the center of not just a national but an international firestorm. A high-powered PR firm sends someone to represent him, without asking him first; a former war hero, former US Senator, current head of an offbeat federal space research agency, decides he's going to discredit and destroy Dan to keep the secret; Prime Minister Godfrey of the UK decides that supporting Dan and his claims is the best way to simultaneously distract from his domestic woes and hit back at US President Valerie Slater.

Panic, hope, and confusion sweep the world.

Dan is totally unprepared for the tangle he finds himself in, and gets a rapid education in how twisty and dangerous the world of politics is.

I found two things particularly satisfying about this book. One is that, despite some concerns I had initially, it's not agenda-driven. It's not making the case for or against the reality of alien visitations in the guise of fiction. It is, in fact, just a "what if" story, built around a good plot and interesting characters.

The other is a relatively realistic view of politics and politicians. Politicians may or may not be honest. They may be strongly driven by ambition and the desire for power. But good people or bad people, they may still be either competent, or not, and sometimes, the power-hungry, competent politician is the one you need. Not always, but sometimes.

William Godfrey slowly becomes one of the most interesting characters in the book. Richard Walker, on the other hand, is one of the least interesting, having all the character flaws and little positive to offer either the reader or the other characters around him.

All in all, I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Recommended.

I bought this audiobook.