cover image Project Notebook

Project Notebook

Jason J. McCuiston. Tell-Tale, $3.99 e-book (210p) ISBN 978-1-951716-09-7

McCuiston’s immersive debut imbues a first encounter tale with 1940s noir flavor as an elite team of WWII veterans looks into reports of strange lights in the skies over Washington State. Elzabad “El” Summers leads fellow members of the secret Air Force branch code-named “Project Notebook” to investigate and subsequently wakes up alone in a motel room with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. McCuiston’s succinct, evocative descriptions expertly conjure time and place as El follows dim memories of his mission to Tacoma, where he reunites with his teammates, Olivia and Red. As the trio detect a pattern of eyewitnesses committing suicide and uncover a cell of Soviet agents on U.S. soil, El’s gradually returning memories force him to confront personal issues affecting his relationships with Red and Olivia. McCuiston does not shy away from the trauma of WWII and uses the social complexities of America in the years leading up to the Cold War to inform the character dynamics. The high stakes and rich, atmospheric prose make for a thoroughly satisfying alternate history. (June)