‘Strange Science’ by Andy Hibbert begins with a surreal encounter between a character named Arden and a fat man. Next we are introduced to DS Travis of the Thames Valley CID who is involved in a high profile murder investigation which seems to develop into a string of grisly serial killings. He is called to the scene of the third murder when we meet him. Travis then gets the job to babysit a forensic consultant, the former FBI agent Furie. Travis’ superiors bring him in to get some new perspectives because three weeks after the first murder, the investigation is still without any leads apart from the first victim’s name.
Furie’s first appearance shows him recording a dream he had the night before. He believes that dreams relate directly to past, present and future events and are to be taken seriously. Later, in the pathology lab, Furie uses a gadget called PT (a Psychic Telephone) to communicate with the dead body. The communication results not only in this victim’s name but in some further clues which lead Travis and Furie on the trail of the mysterious and evasive Arden. Three more victims, two cuneiform tablets, a gynaecologist, a demonic assassin and about a 100 pages or so later, the plot begins to thicken.
Then there is a second plot, embedded in the first, which tells of the scribe Kalhuribanipal from Nineveh and his quest to stop Marduk’s growing dominance in the pantheon of gods.
How these two plots, the mysterious terrorist organisation Musmahhu and Magical Weapon Technology fit together, each reader should find out for himself. Andy Hibbert’s first novel combines a fast-moving thriller plot with occult elements, modern biotechnology and a wide array of ideas and philosophies which would have been enough for two or three books.
I found the novel a quite entertaining and thought-provoking read because of its plethora of ideas and interesting plot and despite the sometimes provocative images the author summons up in order to illustrate the perpetrator’s misanthropic attitude. The mediocre writing does its job but will not appeal to readers expecting witty language or clever dialogues. I recommend ‘Strange Science’ for avid fans of ‘The X-Files’ or ‘Fringe.
(pub: Stamford House Publishing/Forward Press Ltd. 234 page enlarged paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 1-904985-38-6)
check out website: www.forwardpress.co.uk