Truth Insurrected by Daniel P. Douglas is a highly effective science fiction thriller about the charged topic of UFO disclosure. Down on his luck private investigator, William Harrison, becomes embroiled in a worldwide conspiracy of the UFO coverup after witnessing a UFO. As he learns more and more people attached to the conspiracy have been murdered, Harrison must unravel this conspiracy that spans the globe, and make sure that he’s not another one of the victims.
Harrison is a great protagonist and springboard for the action. Injured on the job as an FBI agent, Harrison is bored with chasing after marital infidelities as a low-rent private eye. When he begins to receive cryptic messages from a “Deep Throat” informant named “Echo Tango,” he realizes he’s finally found a worthwhile case, and then some. It’s completely out of the realm of his experience, or the experience of his gruff old FBI colleagues. It’s Harrison’s cynicism that makes him a fun and reliable narrator. In a way he’s like a combination of the “X-Files” Fox Mulder and Dana Sculley mixed together, with a little Philip Marlowe thrown in as well.
In addition to Harrison, there’s a wide range of colorful characters: shadowy government figures, hapless scientists, telepathic hybrids, and a truly ominous alien force. Douglas does well to navigate all these different variables. In a conspiracy novel, characters could tend to seem more like pawns in a game than real people. Though this is a larger than life story, the characters are portrayed as down to earth, making the conspiracy seem all the more plausible.
What makes the novel most effective is its believability. As a veteran of the armed services, Douglas knows his stuff. There’s good detail about radar, top secret clearance, and the interworking of the military/political apparatus. The apparatus of government is where Douglas is most effective, especially his descriptions of Area 51. Setting and character is vividly described to give the conspiracy a true sense of reality. A UFO novel has the potential to seem like pure fantasy, and Douglas handles this complicated and controversial topic very well. For example, when we meet the telepathic alien-human hybrids, they manage to seem realistic. Whether you’re a UFO believer or not, this makes for effective storytelling.
If anything, the book is too detailed. As the UFO issue is usually relegated to non-fiction books, Douglas seems intent on getting down as much information as possible. At times, there is extraneous detail of action and setting that doesn’t completely service the story. The book is the most fun when Harrison receives his messages from Echo Tango, but these are more infrequent than they could be. Additionally, some characters leap off the page more than others. The shadowy government operatives, for example, may be shadowy to a fault.
Those criticisms aside, Truth Insurrected is a solid page-turning debut. Harrison is a fun and fully-realized sci-fi private dick, and should make an appearance in future books. The novel is impressive in its ambition and should appeal to both UFO believers and non-believers alike.
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