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Alien in the House, by Gini Koch
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2013
Review Posted: 7/22/2014
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Alien in the House, by Gini Koch

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

This is the seventh book in the Alien series from Gini Koch.  I'm desperately trying to catch up on this series, since the books are fairly large in size and she's producing them at two per year.  I'm now two books behind, but hope to catch up before the tenth one comes out at the end of the year.  This is a fun, action-packed quasi-SF series, with some romance elements thrown in.  But in the recent novels, the romance aspects have taken a back seat, which makes the books much more appealing to me.  Not that I hate romance, but I'm much more interested in the SF aspects.  And of course the fun.
In this book, Kitty Martini and crew host a party for the DC elite, since they're now part of the Diplomatic Corps, and of course one of the newest Representatives in the House (and an Alien sympathizer) is murdered almost immediately.  Everyone at the party is a suspect . . . except everyone who's anyone is at the party, so it doesn't narrow down the list much.  But as Kitty begins to investigate, they discover that an unhealthy number of Representatives have been "accidentally" killed during the past year, and the deaths are escalating.  When Jeff is asked to replace the Representative killed at the party, he becomes one of the targets.  Now Kitty must find out who's behind the killings before they have a chance to kill anyone else.  But in the process, she finds out that maybe there's really one Mastermind behind not just the deaths in the House, but perhaps all of the conspiracies she's uncovered since she killed her first Superbeing with hairspray and a pen.
Again, this series is really just good old fashioned rollicking fun.  It's fast-paced, with conspiracies oozing out of every opening, bad guys (some thought dead) appearing around every corner, assassins on every rooftop, and SF elements that are more along the lines of the 50s B movies than hardcore science.  Not that it's all fluff.  You have to keep your brain engaged so you can follow all of the unraveling plot lines.  For a brief time in this series, those plot threads were far too complicated to follow, but this book and the most recent ones have backed off on the complexity a little, and I think they're better books for it.  Focusing in one a few of the ongoing conspiracies, while keeping the others in the background, makes for better reading and gives the reader more focus.
This book has a pretty clear plot line, easy to follow, with only a few side elements that confuse the matter in the beginnings.  Basically, those are the red herrings.  I enjoyed the murder mystery here, as well as the added thriller aspects introduced because of the plot; it starts to feel like a political suspense novel with the politics, assassins and conspiracies.  So it has a slightly different flavor than the previous books, which is good.  My biggest issue with the plot is that I felt it took far too long for the characters to figure out the reason why the Representatives were being killed.  It seemed obvious to me what the reason would be almost from the start, and yet Kitty and crew don't figure it out until well after the halfway point, and then they take even longer trying to convince others that this is the reason when those other people should have realized it much sooner as well.  It was a little hard to believe some of the characters took that much prodding to convince.
But, aside from that, I loved the noir-ish, suspense feel of the book, especially the political assassination aspects.  The romance elements in the book were extremely light, which I like, but I know some of you will be disappointed with.  I think it's one of the better of the recent books in the series.  If you're looking for some action-packed SF with romance on the side, check this series out.
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