Danny Callaghan and Katelyn Burns did not know each other in
Madison, Wisconsin. In the summer of 1977, however, their lives
were inexplicably intertwined beyond imagining when they were both
abducted by aliens and met in the frightening confines of the alien
ship. Years later they met, neither remembering the other or the
event from their childhood, and they were married. During the
course of this marriage they produced a child, Connor.
Connor is no ordinary child. He is gifted. Not in the way that most
parents believe their own children to be gifted. Connor is
undoubtedly the smartest living human being on the planet. As such,
he is socially maligned by the other children in his school.
Struggling to find friendships, Connor has no knowledge at all that
he is a pawn in a very dark and deceptive game.
Lieutenant Lauren Glass, United States Air Force, finds herself
also being manipulated into a shadowy governmental secret, one
previously held by her father. Like her now deceased father, whose
demise no one will discuss with her, Lauren is an empath, and her
abilities are desperately needed. An alien craft once crashed in
the desert and the military succeeded in capturing one of the
Grays, as they are called. Lt. Glass is needed to maintain mental
communication with that Gray, named Adam, who is also responsible
for killing her father with a simple scratch.
The Grays are beginning to show themselves more often, and
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Wilkes, the head of the Gray unit, is
becoming more concerned with complete occupation by the visitors.
When a group of Grays knowns as the Three Thieves allow themselves
and their craft to be spotted in Wilton, Kentucky, they set in
motion a frightening series of events that involve Dan Callaghan
remembering his abductions and coming to understand that Connor is
a product of the testing from so many years ago. The Grays have a
purpose and they are preparing to set it in motion with Connor as
the key to it all.
Overall, Whitley Strieber has devised a very interesting and
entertaining story, one that any alien abduction or "The X-Files"
fan would easily enjoy. Conspiracy theorists will applaud his
description of the government's complicity in allowing the Grays to
kidnap and sometimes even kill U.S. citizens as long as they remain
in isolated areas, a cover-up dating back to Harry Truman's
presidency. There are some moments of horror and the children can
be downright creepy, yet the story is grounded in its own humorous
moments and in the disbelief of those involved, including
The Grays themselves are an interesting race, and without that,
this story would ultimately fail. The concept of them noticing the
Earth from billions of light years away because the signature aura
of emotions attracted them is quite well designed. They are
interested in emotion because they cannot feel it themselves.
Instilling fear is necessary for them to get that need sated.
THE GRAYS stumbles a bit. One problem is the abundance of names
that come fast and furious, which can prevent a decently paced
chapter from moving smoothly. Another is that some of the writing
is weak or, in some instances, confusing, causing the reader to
continually go back to re-read a second or even a third time to try
to determine what was truly being said.
Despite those elements, THE GRAYS is still an enjoyable read for
those who really enjoy science fiction with a touch of
Reviewed by Stephen Hubbard on January 22, 2011