The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter, Kauai, comes across an otherworldly mystery after going to the aid of a disabled boat off the coast of Florida. The sailboat, filled with smuggled drugs, is badly damaged and her crew are all missing or dead. There’s no evidence to explain what happened. There were no storms and nothing suggests the vessel was attacked. In fact, the damage points to the boat having been dropped from a great height, which makes little sense. Lieutenant Sam Powell and his crew are at a loss but report the wreck and wait for help to arrive. But before it can, Kauai receives a secret message informing them that a Dr. Peter Simmons, from the Defense Intelligence Agency, will be joining them and they are to help him investigate the mystery vessel, and more. Sam and his XO, Ben, are suspicious of the man from the moment he arrives. Simmons is secretive and at first refuses to discuss the real nature of his mission. But after a frightening incident he reveals that he and other scientists believe an alien vessel recently landed on Earth, and they are searching for its location. They believe the unusual sailboat wreck may be a valuable clue. To complicate matters, the owners of the drug shipment on the sailboat are hunting Simmons and may have designs on the aliens themselves. Though he is skeptical and reluctant to risk his crew, Sam follows orders and aids the agent in his search. What they find will change everything they thought they knew, and throw them into the path of one of the most ruthless organizations in the world.
The first in the ENGAGE AT DAWN series, First Contact is a cross between science fiction and military thriller. Edward M. Hochsmann, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, has used his expertise to craft a realistic and fascinating setting and characters, in Kauai and her crew. The book is interesting to read for those elements alone, but the plot itself takes a long time to get going. Except for one scene, nothing exciting happens until the end of the book.
Edward M. Hochsmann’s ENGAGE AT DAWN: First Contact is a fun science fiction novel with a good premise but its pacing problems slow down the plot.
~Heather Stockard for IndieReader