Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #3
The literary mystery concludes in this issue, wrapping up another satisfying small-town miniseries.
Dr. Harry doesn’t have to use his alien abilities to figure out who the real author-in-hiding is, or why the writer went underground for so long. He just has to ask the right questions and understand how difficult it can be for a woman to leave an abusive husband and survive as a single mother.
Writer Peter Hogan and artist Steve Parkhouse have come up with a terrific format for exploring the details of everyday life. Their protagonist, being from another planet and trying to blend in, has every excuse for being curious about the lives of his neighbors. I believe he gives off an air of difference that the characters unconsciously pick up on and so find him an open ear. He’s not one of them, not yet, so they can get past the expectations that comes with knowing someone for your entire life. And so we get to find out how people explain themselves.
Because this is a retrospective mystery, with everything relevant having happened decades ago, it takes particular skill to keep the reader involved. Hogan and Parkhouse, through their fully fleshed profiles based on including just the right details, succeed. As we’re told the tale and caught up in the struggles of the participants, it becomes clear that memories, even past, shape what people become, even if they think they don’t.
I find it difficult to talk about this series, because it’s so quietly well-done, and it doesn’t rely on shocking events or big ideas to make an impact. I hope more people check it out, because it’s solidly entertaining. Resident Alien will continue next year with The Man With No Name. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)