Monday, December 27, 2010

Review of FALLING STAR by Philip Chen

Available at Amazon

 4 of 5 stars
I received a review copy from the author.

Philip Chen has written an interesting story weaving threads of alien travelers, a Navajo medicine man, a secret US government agency CSAC, KGB spies and mysterious objects located at the bottom of the ocean.  It is an ambitious novel and Mr. Chen clearly commands your attention with this techno-thriller.  His wealth of knowledge of the military, weaponry, computer systems and ocean submersibles is impressive. 

The characters, especially Mike Liu, are well written.  The author lets you into Mike’s innermost thoughts especially the racial taunts he suffered growing up being Chinese in a white America.  Mike has a short fuse and the reader can clearly understand why.  Conspiracy theories abound in this novel.  Is the cold war really over?  What happened to all those spies when the KGB was dissolved?  Does the US have secret agencies that only a few in the government know about?  Is it true that the Earth has been visited by aliens?   Have they left sign posts for their eventual return?  As you can see, there is a lot going on in this book. 

There is quite a lot of technical data in the book that supports the story, but I found myself skipping over many of these descriptions.  Also if you are at all faint at heart, the detailed descriptions of assassinations may be too much for some. I have a minor criticism.  The author does a decent job of wrapping up the mysteries in the book, but clearly he left many open threads for a sequel.  I was a little disappointed with this, but it means that I’ll have to read the next book to find out what happens next to Mike Liu and the rest of the cast.