I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Alien Research by Gini Koch
is a Romance, Science Fiction
This edition was published by DAW Books on December 3, 2013 and has 521 pages.
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Eighth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt science fiction romance series and revolving around aliens who fight to save the day. While this story is mostly in Washington D.C., it does zip over to Guantanamo Bay.
Koch uses a lot of music in writing this series, and she really goes for it in Alien Research as secondary communication between Kitty and Algar. Yep, we finally meet the Operations Team!! I still can’t decide if I’m appalled, cracking up, or still stunned… I suspect most of that stunned has to do with the bad guys’ evil plan that almost succeeds. It does succeed in one horrendous detail. One that will leave you crying. And pose a difficult funerary question for the A-Cs. They don’t believe in ’em, and yet the president is asking for one. A formality that requires attendance and focus — and great cover. No enemy will dare not attend, not when public opinion is on the line.
There are so many situations in this that put the A-Cs between a rock and a hard place. They need to keep safe and yet no one wants a massacre. There have been enough. God knows, there have been more than enough. I have to confess that Alien Research is not one of my favorites. On the one hand, for the obvious reasons. On the other hand, this one is too serious. Which, I suppose can be explained by all that sadness.
Part of the evil plan that Kitty points out is how Titan was “building freaking super soldiers that they sent against the President of the United States, and yet there they are, back in business, and everyone’s acting like they just had a little run of bad management”. What’s sad is this sounds like business as usual in the real world. And what does that say about our political and judicial system? Nothing good.
Bits and pieces in the story include that FBI guy, Vander, who has been in D.C. too long, what with all his mind games; Walter’s bit of luck in getting that warning out; the lack of luck when even Hacker International is surprised; thank god for Olga’s experience and memory, although it doesn’t compensate for Chernobog’s existence; and, more fears and terrors.
A bit of the positive is that Malcolm’s having reactions to the drug he was hit with and bits of memory are coming back.
The pluses include Kitty and Jamie’s priorities: Poofs for everyone — and Kitty reckons even the dogs and cats have their own Poofs! Kitty’s brilliant plan to get rid of all the protesters! Go team! No, not that team, this is another, most unexpected one that will crack you up.
Finally, your faith in human nature will be restored by the call Mister Joel Oliver put out. It was answered, and wow, was it ever answered! The Poofs give a hand too, at clothing removal, lol. There are times when the press is our friend…*giggle*…
Finally, there’s a great message at a most emotional time, and one that should reverberate with any decent person…
“…they’re all smart enough to know that skin tones and sexual orientation aren’t what actually matters about a person. How they live their life is what matters, what they do when faced with evil what they do when no one’s looking.”
Kitty is under siege from so many directions: bad dreams, hate groups dogging everyone. But she’s determined to keep up the appearance of business as usual. A goal that will take some doing to escape and head out for breakfast, and it almost looks like it succeeds. Instead, it’s an ambush by the Axis of Evil who are trying very hard to break up the cozy group.
There’s a new acquaintance who has Kitty’s radar up, tempered by the knowledge that Chuckie respects him.
Then comes Walter’s call for help from Dulce Science Center…and no one is answering. Kitty’s certain the baddies are after the kids, and the animals have pretty much confirmed it. Just one of too many attacks.
Kitty is Jeff’s wife, half-A-C due to drugs given her by their enemies in an earlier installment, and the American Centaurion Head Ambassador. She’s also Megalomaniac Girl! Bruno and Lola are their peregrine pair; Poofikins is her Poof. Jeff Martini is a Congressman for New Mexico’s 2nd District, and Harlie is his Poof. Jamie is their 18-month-old daughter; Mous-Mous is her Poof. Kitty’s mother is Angela Katt, the head of the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit (PTCU), although Kitty had thought for the longest time that her mother was a consultant and her father a history professor. Dad (Sol) actually does a lot of cryptology work for NASA. Uncle Mort, Major General Mortimer Katt, is with the Marines.
As for what Kitty thought Chuck was, well, she thought her oldest and best friend, Charles Reynolds, was a self-made millionaire and international playboy. Not the head of the C.I.A.’s E-T Division. He and Naomi got married six months ago, and they’ve been so happy. Naomi “Auntie Mimi” Gower-White (and A-C godmother) and her sister, Abigail (Auntie Abby), are the embassy cultural attachées. Erika/Ericka is their mother; Stanley is their father. Her eldest brother, Paul Gower, is the A-C’s Supreme Pontifex and married to James Reader, Jamie’s human godfather. Richard White is the former Pontifex, Kitty’s partner in the field, and hooked up with Nurse Magdalena Carter.
Christopher White, Jeff’s cousin, (and the Minister of Sulky Pouts) intentionally enhanced himself and is married to Amy Gaultier-White, Jamie’s human godmother. Toby is his Poof. Brian Dwyer is Serene‘s husband, and Patrick is their hybrid son.
Michael Gower (his Poof is Fuzzball), the astronaut and Paul’s brother who’s engaged to Caroline.
Pierre is the embassy concierge and majordomo. Doreen and Irving have been herded by the peregrines into the daycare center. Dr. Tito Hernandez is human and the A-C doctor looking into the Yates Gene. Francine from Euro Base is Kitty’s assigned imitator. Nadine is Serene’s imitator. Mister Joel Oliver is an investigative journalist the A-Cs and Kitty trust.
Lorraine and Claudia are Dazzlers married to flyboys, Joe Billings (their son is Ross Edward) and Randy Muir (their son is Sean Zachary), respectively. Emily Balducci and Melanie Colangelo are Dazzlers and Lorraine’s and Claudia’s mothers. The dads are Zacharacy Balducci and Edward Colangelo and some of the rescued. Tim Crawford; Jerry Tucker is Kitty’s favorite flyboy and flight instructor and has ensured that Kitty could fly anything necessary; Matt Hughes; and, Walker are more of Airborne.
Len and Kyle are still Kitty’s bodyguards, well, driver and bodyguard courtesy of the CIA. Malcolm Buchanan has security override. He’s been appointed Kitty’s bodyguard by her mother. Burton Falk is one of his men. Jennifer Barone, an imageer, and Jeremy Barone, an empath, are siblings and at the same security seminar. Camilla is the best A-C liar and she’s currently undercover at Gaultier.
Walter Ward is usually in charge of security at that embassy; William is his older brother and filling in for Walter. Gladys, a memory reader-empath, is in overall charge of security, and she scares Kitty’s pants off.
The embassy Troubadour-at-Large is Rajnish Singh; he’s also the Embassy Public Relations Minister. Denise Lewis runs the embassy daycare. She’s human and married to another human, Kevin Lewis, Kitty’s mom’s right-hand man in the PTCU as well as the embassy’s Defense Attaché. Aikiko is the embassy clothing designer.
Algar is the elves, the Operations Team.
Viola Sciacca is in charge of sciences, she thinks. Carmine Giordano has Security and the Gates. Romeo Ruggero is military.
ACE is an alien entity who was living inside Paul until he sacrificed himself for the A-Cs. He thought Kitty walked on water.
Princesses Rahmi and Rhee are from Beta Twelve, the planet of Free Women, Amazonian warriors and shapeshifters. They’re also sisters and Queen Renata‘s daughters. Adriana is the granddaughter of the Romanian Ambassador and his wife, her wheelchair-bound grandmother with MS, Olga, who is training her in the old ways of the KGB.
… is the computer lab where Stryker Dane, a.k.a., Eddy Simms; Big George Lecroix; Dr. Henry Wu; Ravi Gaekwad (he’s engaged to Jennifer, a Dazzler); and, Yuri Stanislav, a.k.a., Omega Red, who is blind and buff, are the computer geniuses now working for the A-Cs through the CIA.
Cliff Goodman is Head of Special Immigration Services and reports directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security. And one of Chuckie’s few close friends. Evander “Vander” Horn is the new head of the FBI’s Alien Activities Division. Officer Melville is now head of the K-9 department and a personal friend. Colonel Franklin is the new man in charge at Andrews Air Force Base after Colonel Marvin Hamlin who had been in charge, went AWOL and then kidnapped by the now-late Clarence Valentino.
Rosemarie and Douglas operate the the Teetotaler, the Katt-Martinis’ favorite restaurant, and keep Kitty and company happy.
Some of the A-Cs’ government friends include Senators Vincent Armstrong and Donald McMillan and Representative Nathalie Gagnon-Brewer who was asked to take Edmund’s seat in the House when he was assassinated (she and her late husband introduced Kitty and Jeff to the Teetotaller). Caroline Chase is McMillan’s Girl Friday, Kitty’s sorority bestie, and Michael’s fiancée. Vance Beaumont and Guy Gadoire attend the funeral. Lillian Culver is a lobbyist for defense contractors, and she’d never dare go against Kitty, thanks to Kitty’s “uncles”. Abner Schnekedy is her husband.
Langston Whitmore is the Secretary of Transportation and not one of Kitty’s fans.
Mahin Sherazi is Iranian with an American mother, a reporter from YatesCorp. Her hybrid power is manipulating dirt. Her Poof is Fluffball.
Kitty’s Personal Axis of Evil: Gaultier Enterprises, Titan Security, & YatesCorp
Ansom Somerall is the current acting chairman of the board for Gaultier, and he and the creepy Quinton Cross and Janelle Gardiner are the main force fighting Amy for control. Thomas Kendrick is former military and head of Titan, appointed by the DoD, so he might be okay. Amos Tobin is in charge of YatesCorp…the Southern godfather.
Ronald Yates had two children we know of: Ronaldo Al Dehajl and Serene Dwyer, younger siblings of Richard White and Lucinda (Jeff’s mother), and Gladys Gower. Jeff and Christopher are his grandsons making Patrick (Brian and Serene’s) and Jamie Ronald’s first official great-grandchildren.
Ronaldo Al Dejahl is probably still alive. He’s dangerous due to his imageer ability to convince anyone to think he was someone completely different with a troubadour talent to reinforce that, and excellent at mind control. There aren’t many humans or A-Cs who can escape it.
YatesCorp has a standing rule out, the Relative’s Clause, that any Yates’ descendant can join the board. A problem as they’re likely to be powerful hybrids or full blood A-Cs. In truth, it’s simply a ploy to gather up all the samples they can of the Yates gene.
Herbert Gaultier was Amy’s father and dead. Thank god. Even better, Leventhal Reid, a representative from Florida, is dead, although his kid clone is alive and evil, leering away at Kitty. LaRue Demorte Gaultier was Herbert’s second wife and killed by Esteban Cantu who was killed by other bad guys. Yeah, her kid clone is up and gloating too. Raul and Anniette Dier are assassins.
Chernobog the Ultimate is the supreme hacker of the world. Russell Kozlow is her imprisoned Israeli son. Yep, cyber crimes. Darryl Lowe is an airbender.
Kitty’s Israeli friends, Oren, Jakob, and Leah, are checking on Kozlow.
Club Fifty-One is an anti-alien group who’s jumped on the bandwagon protesting the suspension of the constitution after events in Operation Destruction when the aliens attacked. Harley Gutermuth is part of the anti crowd. Farley Pecker is the Head Asshat of the Church of Intolerance
Poofs are fluffy balls of fur who look like stuffed animals, bond with whoever names them, and get large-and-in-charge if anyone threatens their human.
Katherine is just one of many decent people who show up.
The exiles from Alpha Four are religious ones. The neighboring building has been nicknamed the Zoo and is handy for overflow personnel. Surcenthumain is a drug that will make humans and A-Cs enhanced. The Z’porrah construct is an alien box, the cube from earlier stories, that the Poofs prefer to keep under their control. They’re allied with the Royal Peregrines who have become very welcome gifts from King Alexander; they make great guardians and help the gifted with their powers. Dazzlers are how Kitty collectively refers to the A-C females because that’s what they do: they dazzle everyone with their beauty, intelligence, and compassion. Imageers manipulate images electronically and in front of you and can learn all about a person simply by touching an image. Empaths feel emotions. The Elves are Kitty’s term for those invisible helpers who produce anything and everything…and clean it as well. They exist in any habitation for A-Cs.
The Cover and Title
There’s a Mad Max feel to this cover with huge military vehicles blowing up in the background, a huge gun in the far back with Jeff riding one of the exploding vehicles. Yeah, he’s in Armani casual while Kitty is more casually dressed for success in black jeans, a white wifebeater, and some big shawls in dark clay and turquoise, her hair flying, a gun in one hand, and a laptop in the other. This one’s serious…
The title is most depressing as it is Alien Research that is the greatest threat.