Walt O'Hara's Reviews > Echo

Echo by Jack McDevitt
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Jun 02, 2011

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bookshelves: science-fiction

Well, I've often said about this writer: "it's true, they tend to blend together and resemble each other after a while, but a day with a bad Jack McDevitt novel is better than a day without ANY Jack McDevitt novel". This story, ECHO, is set in the "Alex Benedict Universe" which is the setting for what I consider McDevitt's finest novel to date, A TALENT FOR WAR. The Alex Benedict sequence is uniformly narrated by his assistant, Chase Kolpath, and perhaps he is allowing her to become more blase as the series matures, but I'm not as charmed by her I once was-- maybe because we've all read about Chases' motivations and concerns several times in the past and they never seem to progress beyond "I work for a guy who gets no respect" and "I guess I should settle down some day, but not this week".

The plot is concerned about Aliens. Not the mutes, who were discovered before the series began, but OTHER aliens... or maybe not. Of course, like many McDevitt plots, the whole story starts with an innocuous object discovered in chapter one, which leads to discovery after discovery, near misses, assassination attempts, long space flights, a near fatal encounter in the last chapter, and of course, a fantastic discovery for Mr. Alex Benedict. That's been the plot trajectory for most McDevitt stories for a while now. That is, believe it or not, okay with me. I love these.. I can eat them up in one sitting (it took me less than a day to read ECHO). True, they are becoming somewhat predictable but I still enjoy them tremendously.
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