The Devil's Eye
by Jack McDevitt
Published by Ace Books (HC) ISBN 9780441016358
Another Alex Benedict and Chase Kolpath novel. In the far future of Human civilization, Alex aquires antiquities. Chase is his assistant and pilot. She narrates the story.
Alex receives an all-too-brief message from a horror writer he's never met asking for his help. But the message doesn't elaborate. When Alex finally catches up with her, she's had her mind wiped and is living a new life as someone else. Alex and Chase decide to find out why she needed help by retracing her last known steps in her previous life. That path takes them to the most distant human colony, a month away from the nearest planet - and a war could be brewing between the humans and the Mutes.
McDevitt spins a good mystery, good action and adventure - and he doesn't miss out with the personal element. Chase and Alex are real people. We feel Chase's anger and frustration as she deals with politicians, we feel her self-consciousness as her boss catches her sunbathing topless. Through her narration, we feel Alex's desire to know why. We feel his resignation as he realizes he might be stuck on a planet away from his home and business for three years. We are the Mutes overhearing all of her thoughts.
Eye is a mystery at heart, as are most of the Alex Benedict novels. All of the McDevitt books I've read have been good books. This one meanders down a path of mystery retracing the horror writer's last known locations on that far flung world. As it meanders, it keeps us interested with hints and tidbits of the paranormal, of what is transpiring elsewhere in the galaxy, and glimpses into the ongoing lives of our characters as they seek to find out why someone asked for their help and then had her mind wiped. I had no idea what the solution to the mystery was, and it took a wild turn from just being a reason why that writer needed help, to a major interstellar/interspecies event.
There are some authors whose new books I eagerly anticipate and always seem to enjoy. McDevitt is one of them and hasn't failed me yet.