Review by Melissa Conway
I am acquainted with J.S. Colley through social networking, and was privileged to be a beta reader of this manuscript. She is also the most recent writer to have been invited to be a Booksquawk contributor. Neither of these facts should be taken as an admission that the following review is biased; I strive to be objective when I write reviews for the books of people I know.
The Halo Revelations is an intellectual thriller that blends fact and fiction on a grander scale than the works of Dan Brown. Here we confront the science fiction (or, depending on which conspiracy theorist you ask, the science fact) of our planet’s denizens having not only been visited on numerous occasions in the past by aliens from outer space, but guided by them throughout civilization. To persuade the reader to accept this notion, Colley offers up popular alternative extraterrestrial interpretation of the meaning behind items of ancient artwork such as the Drōpa stones and structures like the pyramids and Nazca lines.
The story is told through multiple points of view. We are most often in the head of young Nick, son of an archaeologist whose body has finally been recovered ten years after his disappearance in the Himalayan Mountains. Nick’s reactivated sorrow is tempered by his mortification when someone posts a video of his father that makes him seem like a raving UFO lunatic. His father had been dabbling in the dubious art of archeo-astronomy, plus, he was working with Henry Applegate, the infamous alien-conspiracy-theory author. Nick’s mother Liz doesn’t want anything to do with Henry, and doesn’t know that Nick has secretly been friends with the reclusive old man during the ten years his father has been missing.
Without giving out too many spoilers, Bad Things Happen and the NSA (National Security Agency) becomes involved. Our second main protagonist (or antagonist from Nick’s perspective) is Agent Ronnie Vagnetti, whose job specialty is to “gather intelligence on unusual archeological discoveries and phenomenon - discoveries that might have a profound effect on society.” Vagnetti and Nick are in search of the same thing: the strange object seen in the video with Nick’s dad before he disappeared.
Rumors and speculation about the object abound and it’s soon clear that the bulk of these conjectures are deliberate misdirection by one or more unknown, powerful entities with a keen - and dangerous - interest in the object and the information it may or may not hold.
The characters in this, Colley’s first novel, are well-drawn and sympathetic. One of the central themes - that of history itself having been manipulated by the powers-that-be in any given timeframe - is convincing. If you’re a fan of Dan Brown, I recommend you give The Halo Revelations a try.