Friday, January 27, 2017

Devil's advocate by Jonathan Maberry

When your father is in the United States Navy you get used to moving around, but that doesn't mean it gets easier.  For Dana Scully the move to small town Craiger, Maryland is one move of many - nothing special.  Her older sister Melissa has made herself at home in their new town, but making friends is harder for the reserved and shyer Scully sister.  Settling into routines is only part of the challenge, Dana has been having vivid and disturbing dreams, and when she sees a girl in the locker room who happens to be dead she finds herself even more on the outside looking in.  There is already a divide between the town kids and the navy kids, and being labelled a freak makes it harder for Dana to fit in.

When it becomes clear that there is a link between Dana's dreams and the teenagers who are dying, she can't resist investigating.  For someone who wants to have faith and wants to believe, it is a challenge to figure out what is real and what is not.  Her new friends may be able to help her solve the mystery, but not everyone is what they seem.  With her dreams haunted by an angel that leaves a trail of death and destruction, Dana seeks help to untangle her developing psychic gifts.  Time is running out though, the angel has plans for Dana Scully, and so does the mysterious Agent Gerlach.  Can Dana untangle the mystery before someone else dies?

I have been an X-Files fan for years, eagerly watching each episode (when it finally appeared on New Zealand television) and ordering copies of the books from the States (because you couldn't buy them here!) so when I discovered the X-Files origin books I was eager to read them to see how the younger characters were portrayed.  I read Agent of chaos first because it had Mulder as the main character, and after reading a few other books to clear the story out of my head I jumped into Devil's advocate and I have to say that after finishing it I was left with the rather unflattering impression that while Kami Garcia nailed the Fox Mulder character, Jonathan Maberry missed something when he wrote the backstory for Dana Scully.

Agent of chaos was effortless to read and I read it in a single sitting, but I had to force myself to keep reading Devil's advocate.  If I had to explain why it comes down to two things - one, the story was too in-depth and convoluted - two, the character just doesn't seem to sync perfectly with the adult version of Dana Scully that has become so familiar from the television show and other novels.  If the focus of the novel had been another character I would have enjoyed it much more, but so many little things kept bugging me.  Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad book - for me it just feels like it was slightly wrong the whole way through.  Judge for yourself though as you may be able to ignore the little niggles and thoroughly enjoy the book.

If you like this book then try:
  • I hunt killers by Barry Lyga
  • The Christopher killer by Alane Ferguson
  • The X-Files origins: Agent of chaos by Kami Garcia
  • X-Files: Ground zero by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-Files: Ruins by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-Files: Antibodies by Kevin J. Anderson
  • X-Files: Skin by Ben Mezrich
  • X-Files: Whirlwind by Charles Grant
  • X-Files: Goblins by Charles Grant

Reviewed by Brilla

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