by Eric Flint and Alistair Kimble
Cover Artist: Adam Burn
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781481482561
Date: 05 September 2017 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
FBI Special Agent Jasper Wilde has been going through a rough period, but he has his situation mostly under control. Then there is a kidnapping by a cult. What he sees will lead him into a very different world which isn't exactly the world in which he is used to living. Although impossible, Jasper is pretty sure he saw a Chinese style dragon in the strange lights.
The occult nature of the kidnapping catches the attention of Temple Black, the head of the new Scientific Anomalies Group (SAG). Temple and her partner head to NW Indiana to see what is going on. As in any organization which is used to some independence, the local FBI management isn't pleased with someone new in their area.
The details of the cult involved slowly roll in and there seems to be something outside the current plane of existence. Bringing in friends and colleagues, a team is developed to investigate the weird details. By the time of the final confrontation, there are new allies and knowledge which will help them.
This is the first novel following the adventures of Special Agent Jasper Wilde and the newly formed SAG. There is the potential for additional stories, but I have not seen any planned publications. The story weaves police procedurals with occult activity. The knowledge of coauthor Kimble comes out in the byplay of the characters. Anyone with government experience recognizes the relationship between headquarters and satellite groups and the friction between those that do and those that don't. I am sure that Kimble makes sure the procedures stay within the bounds of reality.
Having recently driven through a section of Indiana near Gary, I can say that the industrial landscape is true to the area. I can't say that every turn, business, and building are reality based, but it passes my basic sniff test of reality. Someone from the area may be able to come up with details which bump them from the story, but as Flint is based in the area, I would suspect he has it right.
Although I don't typically look for paranormal stories or police procedurals, I enjoyed this novel. The levels of snark and the dynamics between Temple and Jasper make for interesting reading. The authors did a nice job of managing the relationship between the two without falling into the simplest dynamics with two scarred people coming out of relationships. If they continue the series, I'd be willing to continue reading about their adventures.