Back in print for the first time since 2005, this novel by the author of the Autumn and Hater series tackles one of the oldest themes in science fiction: first contact. Their vessel irreparably damaged, an alien mining crew comes to Earth in the hopes of remaining here until their homeworld can send out a ship to pick them up. Tom Winter, the story’s protagonist (hero doesn’t seem quite the right word), is immediately suspicious because, let’s face it, everything the aliens are doing—sharing scientific and medical advances, for example—is straight out of the alien-invasion playbook. Are the aliens really up to no good, or is Tom just being paranoid? The writing is not as visceral as Moody’s popular postapocalyptic novels, but that isn’t a bad thing: this story, with its slowly building sense of unease and multiple thematic undercurrents (probably the best being the frequent references to popular fictional alien-invasion stories by way of illustrating how our perceptions often conform to our expectations), needs a more delicate touch. Moody’s many fans will absolutely want to read this one.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, October 2012.