MJ-12: Inception

Michael J. Martinez. Night Shade, $24.99 (344p) ISBN 978-1-59780-877-4
In Martinez’s faltering series launch, ordinary people encounter an unusual form of energy that turns them into superhumans and are then studied by the government, which hopes to exploit their abilities for national security. Readers who’ve never encountered the X-Men may find this premise interesting, but others are likely to find the novel’s history and arc predictable. The action begins right after the end of WWII in Berlin, as American Frank Lodge encounters “a spherical white light,” an experience that leads to his being able to “absorb things” from the lives of the dying. Lodge is just one of a group of so-called Variants gathered (and housed in Area 51) by the U.S. Army, which is seeking both to understand the transformative phenomenon and to harness the Variants’ abilities for the developing Cold War. None of the characters are particularly memorable, and the psychological impact of their new talents is underplayed. Agent: Sara Megibow, KT Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-1-59780-899-6
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