Heather Graham’s ability to write white-knuckle mysteries collides with Jon Land’s brand of blazing-fast thrillers in The Rising, a new thriller that is out of this world–literally.
One day Alex Chin is the captain of his football team, living life as a normal teenager surrounded by friends and family. The next day he discovers that everything he thought he knew was all one big lie.
Alex knew he was adopted, though he never knew why his birth parents gave him up. But after his adopted parents are murdered, Alex makes a shocking discovery. It turns out that his real parents aren’t from earth, and, to top it off, he might be humanity’s only hope for survival from an impending alien attack.
The startling revelation occurred after a football injury landed Alex in the hospital, and a routine CT scan revealed…something. Before his doctor can provide answers, he’s mysteriously killed. So too, then, are Alex’s parents–a Chinese immigrant couple–who did all they could to protect the child they loved as their own. In the aftermath, Alex goes on the run looking for answers, though not completely on his own.
Alex’s nerdy tutor, Samantha “Sam” Dixon, whom he’s also romantically interested in, is right on his heels. Afraid that death follows him, Alex initially warns her to back off out of concern for her safety. The strong-willed Dixon waves off danger to help anyways, and ends up being a valued asset (using some of the knowledge she’s gained from a promising internship at NASA) both to the story and to Alex’s search for answers.
Eventually, it’s discovered that Alex was born off-planet and sent to earth as a way to protect humans. The question is, from what, exactly?
As the plot develops, we learn that Alex isn’t the only one of his kind walking around on earth. However, he is unique in that he serves a greater purpose.
The key is discovering what that purpose is, and how to fulfill his destiny.
Land and Graham go easy on schooling readers about the ins and outs of all the medical and scientific research and analysis involved in making the plot work. Instead, they rely on short scenes and direct dialogue to explain to readers what’s happening.
For instance, specific scenes involving wormholes and a breakdown on DNA are written for anyone to understand, but don’t drag on to the point of bogging the story down. While that tactic may bother readers looking for more science in this sci-fi novel, it keeps the pacing quick and the story light.
In the end, this is a story that’s been told before, but it’s still fun to read Graham and Land’s take on the events. Parts feel like a YA novel, but that’s mostly because the story itself is so character-driven, and happens to center around a young, teenage alien and his earthling crush.
Graham and Land are a thriller-writing dream team, and their unique sci-fi adventure novel reads like a mixture of Smallville and War of the Worlds. Sci-fi fans won’t want to miss this one!
Authors: Heather Graham and Jon Land
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: January 17, 2017 (Order Now!)