Top Publications, Sep 2007, $14.95
Overcrowding on a planet caused some of the inhabitants to colonize two orbs, Earth and Tarizon. A terrible ecological disaster on Tarizon forced the people to erect and live inside domed cities while women had a difficult time becoming pregnant. The governments of Tarizon and that of the earth’s United States signed a treaty allowing a citizen of the former to marry an earthling, have children with them, and after a few years on earth return to their Tarizon with the children leaving behind an abandoned bewildered spouse to explain to her family what happened.
Lawyer Stan Turner’s son is on Tarizon as a means of controlling the former and having him do what his CIA handlers demand. At present they want Stan to get an acquittal for Charlotte Wenzel whose husband and sons disappeared. Their father was from Tarizon and there is no hard evidence. That changes when the policefind the body of one of her children. When the beam bringing him to the ship failed, he fell back to earth. Besides that case, Stan is also working to make sure his friend Ben Stover isn’t convicted for money laundering due to the manifestations of a vindictive son-in-law who embezzled from their firm. At the same time Stan’s partner Paula is trying to get an innocent man cleared of the murder of Chester Brown and his family.
This is a fascinating science fiction legal thriller in which the government trades children for advanced technologies. The story is told throughout the book in bbeween believable legal strategy amidst the three cases. The CIA and the American government come across as avaricous turncoats as they manipulate people for personal gain. William Manchester goes into incredible depth with the trials and the missing alien and his half-breed children so that the audience is immersed in a legal procedural in a world somewhat similar to ours, but with a radical ET difference. ACT NORMAL will appeal to science fiction and mystery fans; obviously especially those who appreciate the joining of the two genres.