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Echo, by Jack McDevitt August 26, 2011

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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Echo is more of a whodunit than a science fiction story, although it does take place in a future with faster-than-light travel and at least one alien species known (but not much liked).  It is the unlikely story, told from the perspective of his secretary personal assistant, of an antique dealer (Alex Benedict) who gets the idea that a strange monument to be sold is an artifact of a yet-to-be-recognized alien race.

The antiquarian’s search for the provenance of the artifact has innumerable twists and turns, each but the last leading to a humans trying to discourage further searching:  First, the last girlfriend of the original(?) owner, who tries to destroy the artifact, then her  former employer, now a hugely successful entrepreneur and ambitious politician, then a retired survey pilot. The antiquarian’s search comes to a strange, tragic end, more truly frightening than the mere uncertainty of first contact.

I found Echo pretty interesting in  a matter-of-fact sort of way; not riveting at all, but I did want to see where the puzzle was going so at least it didn’t bore me very much.  It seems more like detective fiction to me, although I don’t have much experience with that genre.  I’m not sure who the market is for this kind of work, but it seems to combine detective fiction with science fiction in a pleasant enough mix.

Apparently there are other Alex Benedict books as well, but I haven’t had the time (so many books, so little time).

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