Published by Sphere,
19 July 2012.
I’m fascinated by real-life mysteries, the kind no one has ever satisfactorily explained, which lay themselves open to all sorts of off-the-wall theorizing: thousand-year-old lines in the desert, vast craters in the middle of nowhere, UFOs. Especially UFOs. So when I first encountered The Roswell Conspiracy I thought, that sounds like fun.
If anyone does know what really happened just outside Roswell, Arizona, in 1947, they certainly aren’t telling. And in answer to the obvious question, yes, Boyd Morrison does provide his own explanation, to the Roswell incident and also to several other enduring historical mysteries, and it all makes perfect sense in the context of the book’s pacy, multi-stranded plot. But there’s far more to this book than that.
The Roswell Conspiracy is a thoroughly modern adventure which will keep you on the edge of your seat as it jump-cuts between half a dozen sets of characters, each with their own agenda, and buckets along from one exotic location to another by plane and jet-boat, in four-trailer lorries and anonymous white vans and on plain old shanks’s pony. The Australian desert, Easter Island, the Mexican/US border and the Nazca ruins in Peru all have a part to play, and the action-packed finale takes place in outer space.
It’s a simple enough plot: the bad guys are out to steal and unite two parts of a devastating weapon and put it to world-shattering use, and the good guys are out to stop them. An afterword supplies scientific information which adds plausibility to the basic premise – possibly an attempt to circumvent some of the criticisms levelled that other, more notorious page-turner The da Vinci Code – but what really matters is the way the book grips the reader as the body count rises and the pieces of the mystery fall one by one into place.
And grip is certainly does. The head knows the good guys will triumph, because that’s the nature of thriller fiction – but the heart won’t stop racing as Tyler Locke (a kind of 21st century Indiana Jones, but engineer not archaeologist), his ex-professional wrestler best friend and their feisty female associates battle to stay one step ahead of the villains and don’t always quite succeed.
It's a plot-driven thriller of the thrilling-est kind, but that’s not all it is. The author is clearly familiar with the desert landscape he evokes so vividly; and I’m willing to bet one of the most engaging characters, doughty 75-year-old Fay, is based on someone from his own life. There’s a little romance and some quirky humour, enough action and sticky ends to satisfy the most demanding thriller fan. And for lovers of long-standing mysteries like me, there’s plenty of food for thought.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.