When I picked up this book, I figured it was going to be a go-go-go suspense thriller like something Heller or Ludlum would write. An uncommonly good cat burglar with a past in shadowy government service knocks over a luxury penthouse and is surprised by the occupant returning. And more surprised when the occupant is hit by shadowy government types. The cat burglar finds the goods that the bad guys wanted, but they’re onto him, and he’s on the run trying to figure out what they want and whatnot.
But he opens the contents of the safe, and it’s the Majic-12 papers. Maybe some readers won’t know what they are, but brothers and sisters, I got the papers off of the BBSes before the Internet existed and read them. Back in my youth, I was more speculative, and the thought of aliens coming to get you in the middle of the night was kinda spooky (this is before I became more realistic and focused on the government coming to get you in the middle of the night, which is not so much spooky as frightening since it’s a possibility). So when I found that, I knew this was an X-Files sort of thriller, not a realistic thriller. It’s speculative fiction or fantasy, not suspense. So I was disappointed and knocked right into reinvoking my disbelief.
I hung with it, though, and made it through the cat burglary of Area 51, the rescue of the aliens (Joe and Max Gray–Hah! I snorted when I read their cover names!), the flashback of dubious merit except that it would please Majic-12 believers, the dubious deal to set everything right, and then the discovery that the deal won’t hold and the sequel is on.
It wasn’t a bad book, but that didn’t make it a good book. Maybe I would have been more tolerant if the book had been packaged as what it is instead of a straightforward suspense book.