Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Saturday, July 23, 2016
Book Review: Wraith by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Wraith by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 2016 by Thomas Dunne Books
OK they had me at weaponized ghosts... Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens are most widely know for writing several of the best Star Trek novels. People who have followed their original work are aware that they write a brand of techno thriller that gets strength from the intense amounts of research they do. That is one reason I really was interested in their take on remote viewing and paranormal spies that has not been done this effectively since Brian Lumley's first three Necroscope books.
The Reeves-Stevens won me over in the mid-90's by writing what I still believe is the best Star Trek novel ever, and consider that I read about 150 of them before I burned out on trek fiction. That novel Federation got crushed by the film of First Contact, which is actually cannon. to bad Federation not only had the second best Trek bad guy ever, but combined both of the first two crews in a logical non-corny way and made one of the worst most boring episodes of Trek into a cool prequel to their novel. Federation is the only Star Trek novel I re-read.
The story of a detective named Matt Caidin who is trying to put back the pieces of his life back together after a nasty divorce. He witnesses a crash at a diner where he is a regular. He is shocked when the woman who he saw die in the car shows up and asks him for help. That woman Laura Hart is a agent for Crosswind at black ops psychic national security agency that needs Matt to get information from her about the counter organization in Russian. He learns that it is her ghost and she died with information about a coming terrorist attack.
This novel has alot in common with Necroscope but with ghosts instead of vampires and of course the lack of cold war makes a different tone. Wraith doesn't have the bloated scope of that series. One of the strength of Wraith is the short and to the point nature of the story. That is not to say that alot doesn't happen in the book, because many things happen in the perfect 315 page length. there are plenty of seeds that could grown into more novels, or a TV series.
You might think that the authors strength for research and technical accuracy would be wasted in a story about remote viewing but you would be wrong. I can only assume that they did their homework because they seem familar with the rumors and lore of remote viewing. Their knack for research comes in handy when the various intelligence agencies try to track our hero Caidin when he goes off the map to try and stop the attacks.
Rogue agents from the counter Russian agency VEKTOR provides many of the novel most interesting moments. While Crosswind is using remote viewing to spy it is VEKTOR that weaponize the psychic field created by it's dead agents. These ghosts called Bezerkers. One of the scenes with these ghosts in a restaurant is very very effective.(page 195-96) Borodin the rogue Russian agent is a great villain and the novel gives him a proper motivation even if he seems like mustache twirling bad guy at first.
I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was light fun. I wouldn't say this is a must read, groundbreaking but it was solid. The cover art is a little corny but don't let that scare you off. Reeves-Stevens are a great team and I am always open to check out their work.