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Michael R. Hicks

You know it's too bad that Science Fiction is so hard to catergorize. You can have Sci-Fi murder mysteries, Sci-Fi romances, even Sci-Fi shoot-em-up action thrillers. Cue "Season of the Harvest."

The Sci-Fi part is the good old "Shapeshifting Aliens Living Among Us" plotline. This is combined with the "FBI Agent Goes Rogue to Do the Right Thing" theme from the action thrillers. Plus there's a good romance tucked neatly in where it doesn't get in the way too much. Several can't-fail elements for a good tale if they're done right.

This gives Hicks license for an excellent, tense, action-filled story. It starts out with Jack Dawson: FBI agent, Afghanistan veteran with a tragic past, a little too independent for his own good. He discovers a conspiracy inside the FBI to conceal a larger conspiracy which – and I don't think I'm giving too much away here – will allow the shape-shifting aliens to overrun the earth. His search for the truth leads him to Naomi Perrault, beautiful geneticist who is a leading scientist for one side of the battle or the other, but he isn't sure which.

In a clever plot twist, the supporters of the aliens have twisted the facts to make it look as if the small group who are trying to save the earth are actually the terrorists trying to destroy it. Sounds a whole lot like real politics to me. This leads to a very believable overall conflict, and gives fertile ground for a great deal of suspenseful action.

Mr. Hicks writes with polished style, and has the action genre down pat. He has done his research into weapons, FBI procedures, and genetically modified foods, so most of the plot elements are completely believable. Unfortunately, the action-adventure genre has one weakness. Good emotional effect trumps practical plot considerations every time. Mr. Hicks fall prey to this habit in a couple of places. There is a rather large hole in the plot, which I can't reveal because I want you to read the story and figure it out for yourself, and several minor impossibilities. We suspend our disbelief of the major science-fiction elements that create the plot. We are less likely to accept that anyone can, for example, look at an Asian person and state categorically that he is Korean. Acceptable shorthand or lazy writing? You be the judge.

Other than those minor quibbles, this is a great book. If you like standard characters well-written, and plenty of guns, tension, hand-to-hand fight scenes and a reasonable amount of human and alien gore, you're going to love Season of the Harvest.

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