Ace, Apr 2003, 5.99, 272 pp.
Post doctorate physicist Sarah Bakker detects the signals that act radically different than anything observed before. Though remaining skeptical, as SETI has had false alarms before, Sarah believes the signal is emanating in an area of space where no star is near enough to cause a natural phenomenon leading to the possibility that intelligent life has been detected.
TV journalist Rachel Davies links Sarah's story to a UFO nut case that State Senator Jason Parker sees as an opportunity to add United in the front of his job résumé. He is in a partnership to further the needs of himself, Davies, graduate student Steven Weiss and UFOlogist Jonathan Travis at the cost of the truth. His actions lead to the Army establishing the Galaxy Expedition Team led by Captain Thomas Hackett. As Thomas and Sarah become acquainted and attracted to one another, they seek the truth, which is out there on the edge of the solar system.
The opening novel of a quartet is an engaging tale that sets the stage for the remaining books. Manipulators for personal gain battle with those who face the reality that they are coming, but for what purpose and will they stay? Sarah is a delightful idealist who wants to do the right thing. Thomas is a charming career soldier who will follow orders, but do his best to insure the right thing occurs. Jason and his cohorts are a cynical foursome though in some ways Jonathan does not quite fit into the group. Fans of first encounter tales will relish Kevin Randle's book that leaves SIGNALS, the first book in The Exploration Chronicles a Sci Fi junkie's triumph and will have fan eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner