Resident Alien: The Sam Hain Mystery #1
After the conspiracy theory that wove through Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde, it’s a pleasure to get back to a more literary small-town mystery.
In The Sam Hain Mystery, Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle — secretly a space alien stranded on earth — is seeking out Sixties pulp mysteries, only to find that one of the genre authors, Rex Monday, may have connections to the town. Few people remember his Sam Hain series character, but Harry would like to find out the truth behind this near-forgotten rumor. Then a mysterious briefcase of documents is found in the attic.
Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse do a terrific job sketching characters in minimal space. Whether it’s just the right bit of Hogan’s dialogue or Parkhouse’s detailed portraits of everyday folk, I feel like these people are solid supporting players, not just plot devices. It’s those details that flesh out the town and make it a pleasure to continue visiting. Now that Harry has moved to town and become the local practicing doctor, there’s even more of an excuse to check in with the variety of folks that come through his waiting room.
My favorite parts of the Resident Alien series are the cultural bits, looking at what strikes Harry as odd about our world and where he has risks with fitting in. Incorporating the background of a historical fiction series, described as “sexy spies and private eyes”, provides an additional layer of interpretation that should be wonderful. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)