Prison One
by G.V. Chillingsworth
Trafford Publishing

"After the glare from the explosion had passed and he was once again able to focus on the surroundings, he could see the war station still battling the drones."

Stories about aliens from outer space living covertly among the populace have been popular for decades. Television sitcoms such as Mork & Mindy, My Favorite Martian, and 3rd Rock from the Sun tend to offer a lighthearted look at otherworldly residents as opposed to dramas like Roswell, which focus on the darker and more dangerous aspects of their presence among us. Atmospherically, Chillingsworth's novel feels a lot like the latter but layered with a space opera backdrop to comprise a tale that could easily be adapted to the screen.

James Hogan takes his studies seriously. He has aspirations to someday work for NASA, never dreaming that "outer space" is much closer to home than he realizes. On a fishing trip he learns that his father, Lee, instead of being just the school maintenance man, is actually the administrator of a secret underground prison for politically important aliens and that their family friend, Uncle Banksa, is really from another planet. Soon James finds himself spying on the new kid in school, John Wilson, who is also an alien, as well as the man posing as Wilson's father and their shape-shifting guest. Meanwhile, in an area of space known as the Dark Sector, a battle is being waged against an aggressive enemy that desperately wishes to find and liberate their emperor, a ruthless leader currently residing in one of Lee's cells.

This first installment in what promises to be an intriguing series is highly character-driven and flows more like a TV show than a novel with its short chapters and quick scene changes. The friendly banter between James and his friend Troy is spot on, and while the book is not without its flaws, it is still an enjoyable read.

Return to USR Home