I tend to favor military sci-fi and alternate history, but I know Gary (loosely). We both write for the Culpeper Times newspaper. He didn’t ask me to do a review, so this is as unbiased as it can get. This is a spoiler-free review.
Gary Close’s first book is a fairly captivating Sci-Fi book. I liked it because all of the places are real, as are a lot of local names. To me that adds a feeling of tangibility to a book…the sense that this could be real. It helps lower you defenses.
This story has an ensemble cast, giving us a lot of different perspectives. Chinese agents, DEA operatives, local police and prosecutors and a long-running NSA project tied to the Roswell alien incident. This book has a LOT going on. Close manages to execute his work flawlessly, giving the reader a lot to digest.
In many respects, I felt as if I was reading two books. One, the longer of the two, laying the foundation of the story. Once we get a feel for what is going on with the aliens (or so we think), it is almost a separate book with part of the cast of characters on Mars. There’s some parts here that seem to lean on an element of The Martian, but I sense that this is unintentional. The pacing at the beginning felt drawn out to me, where it wasn’t necessary. That’s me looking at this as an author with a semi-critical eye. The tradeoff for pacing is strong distinct characters, which the author gives us in spades.
What I really enjoyed was the opening of each chapter where Close gives you some of the historical context of the aliens and the NSA program to keep the entire affair secret.
Part spy book, part thriller, all sci-fi, Breakout: The Roswell Legacy is worth picking up. I give it a strong four out of five stars. Add it to your list and let’s hope that Gary is going to give us a follow-up book.