Book Review: The Atlanta Incursion

26 Jul

The Atlanta Incursion (The Long War Book 2)

-Matthew W. Quinn

James Daly thought he was safe at college after defeating small-town cultists and their otherworldly master. He was wrong. Although the Thing in the Woods is dead, there’s more to this world than just one monster.

Back in 2017, Mathew Quinn wrote The Thing in the Woods (reviewed here), which featured a pre-college boy in a small town coming face to face with a monster.  In the aftermath of that story, he was threatened/bribed into silence by the Men in Black and sent to Georgia State University with his best friend Eli Schwartz.  Unfortunately for them – and his girlfriend, fellow survivor Amber Webb – James starts having nightmares that lead him, eventually, to uncover an alien presence in the city, an alien presence that has also kidnapped a reluctant gang member and drawn the attention of the Men in Black, leading to outright war in the streets between humans and aliens …

Quinn captured the feel of all four characters very well.  James is recovering, slowly, from his experiences in the previous book; the others grow and develop as people as the story moves along.  They touch on resentments – personal and racial – then struggle to overcome them as they find themselves confronting a nakedly sadistic alien race.  There’s a very strong sense that all of them will grow and develop, as human differences face in the face of alien threats.  The romance between James and Amber is nicely done, with moments of intimacy that don’t get too explicit.  There’s also some wry commentary on matters such as porn – and its effect on people – and growing up in areas that don’t offer much, if any, support for people who want to better themselves.  This was touched upon in the first book, but the theme grows stronger here. 

On the bigger scale, it’s not clear what – if anything – the aliens are actually doing.  They appear to be committing sadistic acts for the sheer hell of it.  (I had the feeling they were interdimensional intruders rather than extraterrestrials, but apparently not.)  It suggests they’re very interested in fighting a covert war, which suits the MIBs too, but it can’t be long until their presence explodes into the open.  That said, it’s nice to see a government agency that is smart enough to recruit people who’ve already seen the aliens rather than threatening them into silence.  There are some neat Men in Black references too. 

It’s a relatively short story, more of a novella than a novel.  But it’s a nice read and a good continuation that manages to be different while maintaining the feel of the first book.

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