by Blaine C. Readler
Full Arc Press

"The alien wasn’t able to manipulate the larynx and mouth enough to form words, let alone sentences – a daunting amount of coordination that Darren had always taken for granted."

Darren, a young American man, unexpectedly finds that somehow he has “volunteered” to take care of his cousin “Crusher.” Never a very bright bulb, Crusher sustained massive brain injuries while trying to make a video of himself diving headfirst off a high dive, leaving him speechless and immobile. Confused, Darren suddenly sees mysterious messages appear on his computer monitor telling him not to worry. It is a squid-like alien who needs to take over Crusher’s body so he can prevent a race of bird-like aliens from fooling humans into letting them invade en masse. Darren, the alien-operated Crusher, and Darren’s newly arrived step-sister Adelaide contact NASA, who then hand them over to an FBI agent whose only concern, it seems, is protecting the bird-aliens that have already gained the government’s trust. The exotic trio then tries to go cross country to Nevada in an attempt to foil the bird-alien invasion.

This science fiction novel is a lighthearted romp. Four young people, accompanied by an alien-controlled Crusher who can only grunt and scream, battle against a horde of murderous bird-aliens, government forces, and their own foibles, fears, and emotions. Witty dialogue, especially between Darren and the alien inside Crusher, keep the narrative entertaining. Meanwhile, Darren and Adelaide slowly develop a closer relationship, even though they argue passionately over issues like the morality of the alien’s treatment of Crusher’s body. It turns out that a captured bird-alien is capable of human speech, and this provides even more plot twists and interesting dialogue that helps move the plot forward. The theme is one of the invasion of earth, of course, but there are sub-themes of little people against big government, trust, deception, and courage. The suspense keeps the action moving enough for a good, fun read.

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