The X-Files: Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Anderson is a veteran author in this fandom and always does justice to The X-Files, so I knew I would enjoy this addition to the expansive universe. The case is intriguing and well-researched: a series of deaths that can only be explained by impossible means (localised atomic bursts with no source and no debris scorching single rooms or backyards) draw Mulder and Scully onto a cross-country and then overseas adventure, eventually into a typhoon, along with a medley cast of atomic weapons designers, atomic weapons protesters and atomic weapon survivors. The author has the lead characters nailed, especially in dialogue, and their dynamic is characteristically easy and compelling. The case, despite its necessary paranormal elements that are too insane for Scully (and sometimes the reader?) to swallow, lends a lot more opportunity than usual for Scully to demonstrate her aptitudes, not only in medicine but in this case as a physicist. There was a taste of some Scully backstory here, but her unwillingness to discuss activism with Mulder kind of shut down any chance of this subplot developing and being particularly meaningful, which was a shame. This, and the tendency of both characters to jump to a few conclusions that didn't feel entirely stable, prevented me from feeling like I *loved* the book, though I did really enjoy it, and the trade paperback size of the book was also hugely convenient for handbag travel. Bonus!
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