Book Review: Alien Collective by Gini Koch

Posted November 18, 2015 by Stormi in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Alien Collective by Gini Koch

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Alien Collective Published by DAW Books on May 6, 2014
Pages: 544
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon

Ninth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt romantic science fiction series revolving around a group of humans and G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. aliens in Armani Fatigues. The action takes place mainly in Washington D.C. It’s been four-and-a-half years since Kitty defended herself so well.

My Take

There’s enough flippin’ and floppin’ in Alien Collective to satisfy anyone, almost enough to give you whiplash. Nothing like jumping right in, lol. Koch caught my attention immediately with Kitty being “arrested” at a protest rally. Right along with all the other dazzling women she knows.

I do enjoy how Koch uses song titles to make me guess what the next action will be, but I’m getting a bit tired of Operation This, Operation That with Team Whoever. I do realize that it’s part of Koch keeping things zippy, and it does add a sense of fun to the story, but it seemed overdone in Alien Collective. That said, I do love Kitty’s forthrightness and how it makes her so formidable. That sense of humor, as well as her honor, keep me lovin’ her and all the A-Cs and their allies. The series is a great combination of humor and what’s right with lots of action and adventure.

“Mass murder is very bad for business.”

Those entities from the Eagle Nebula have a lot of nerve; I love how Kitty backed ’em off. Way to go! Koch certainly was tricky in how she worked this…and how hard she made me think!

I am being something of a hypocrite. In going back over my notes, I realized that Koch is using a lot of tell and not much show. But she keeps the action, humor, and adventure flowing right along so that you don’t miss it. Where it does become obvious is the sex scenes, and then you start thinking about how tension-less most of the story is. Yes, there is some drama — nicely done, by the way — which, yep, distracted me from that lack of show and tension. Bad Kathy.

“‘So, you’re trying to tell us you were afraid of one woman?’ Tim asked. ‘While you happened to be in a base full of soldiers? You’re not really confident in your ability to handle low-risk situations, are you?'”

Argh! All this secret leader stuff is driving me nuts. Exactly what Koch intended, I suspect. Ooh, at least we get some “insider info” when Serene confesses to Kitty. Very clever! Just goes to show…I hadn’t thought through the implications either until Kitty realized the importance of this election.

Oh, LOL, celebrities and politicians might want to make note of Kitty’s strategy when bombarded by paparazzi…*more laughter*…take pictures of the people irritating you, when they ask why, tell them “you like to remember all the rude people I’ve met”.

“‘…you have to go through the proper channels and procedures. Otherwise you have a fascist dictatorship. Or anarchy.’

Refrained from making a snippy comment about the NSA. Because, you know, they might be listening.”

The Story

Despite not having run for office, nor wanting to remain in office, Representative Jeff Martini is being wooed as the vice presidential running mate for a charismatic senator who seems likely to win the campaign.

While the Diplomatic Corps has to deal with the pressures of a political campaign sure to uncover secrets they don’t want shared with the world, Ambassador Kitty Katt-Martini has other worries — handling the reemergence of her most potent nemesis, thought dead and buried.

The Characters

Ambassador Kitty Katt, a.k.a., “Missus Chief”, a human who has picked up some Alpha Centauri (A-C) super powers — super healing, hyperspeed, and talking to animals — is married to Jeff Martini (the best A-C empath), who was appointed by the president to the congressional seat for the Representative for New Mexico’s 2nd District. Jamie is their super-daughter, a human-alien hybrid in whom ACE (a collective superconsciousness) has taken up residence. Major-General Mortimer Katt is Kitty’s uncle. Caroline Chase is Kitty’s sorority roommate, bestie, Michael’s mourning fiancée, and aide to Arizona’s senior senator.

Alpha Centauri is…

…a solar system in which Alpha Four is located, the planet from which Jeff and his people were exiled to Earth.

Jeff’s family includes…
Lucinda Martini is Jeff’s mom who is taking care of Jamie in this story. Alfred Martini is Jeff’s dad who works at NASA Base, which is located at the Kennedy Space Center. Jeff had five sisters, including Sylvia, the oldest, who had been married to the traitor, Clarence Valentino. Stephanie is their daughter and is working for Vander as one of his assistants. Marianne is the youngest sister; Kimmie is her youngest. Camilla is undercover at Gaultier.

Christopher White, an A-C with imageering skills and Jeff’s cousin. Due to past events (the Surenthumain, aka Superpowers Drug), he has a lot more abilities including being able to go really, really, really super-fast and reading minds. Terry had been Christopher’s mother. Richard White, Christopher’s father, is the former Supreme Pontiff and Lucinda’s older brother, making him Jeff’s uncle. Richard also partners up with Kitty on dangerous missions. Amy Gaultier-White is a human lawyer being blocked from inheriting her evil father’s empire, Gaultier Enterprises, one of Kitty’s best friends from high school, and Christopher’s wife.

Gladys Gower, Lucinda and Alfred’s sister, had been head of security until she was captured by Al Dejahl and manipulated. All three — Richard, Alfred, and Gladys — were Ronald Yates’ only legitimate children and had been born on Alpha Four where Yates had been the Supreme Pontifex until events sent him over the edge, and he was banished. Commander James Reader is human and with Paul Gower, the Supreme Pontifex of all Alpha Centaurions on Earth. Michael Gower, Paul’s brother, was murdered. Abigail Gower is Paul’s sister.

Yates’ illegitimate children, a.k.a.…
Ronnie’s Kids, are a result of Yates impregnating as many young women in their prime childbearing years as possible to, hopefully, father many children with his abilities. Serene was one of them and a full-blooded sister to Ronaldo Al Dejahl (a troubadour who used mind manipulation and bad boy) whom Gladys managed to kill. Mahin Sherazi, an earthbender, switched sides about a year ago. Benjamin Siler‘s aunt was Cybele Siler (which makes his uncle Antony Marling! Through Yates, he’s Richard and Alfred’s younger brother); his mother was Cybele’s sister, Madeleine Cartwright. Uncle Herbert Siler, Madeleine’s brother, successfully hid Benjamin from the rest of his relatives.

Kitty calls the lady A-Cs “Dazzlers” because they’re so gorgeous and have mega skills and brilliant minds. Commander Serene Dwyer is the Head of Imageering and their chief explosives expert, with a young, very gifted son, Patrick, with her husband, astronaut Brian. Doreen is married to Irving Weisman.

A-C Embassy security and staff include…
…the incredibly and comprehensively competent Malcolm Buchanan who was assigned by Angela as Kitty’s personal shadow. Burton Falk is one of Buchanan’s human agents. Field teams include Jeremy (empath) and Jennifer (imageer) Barone, a brother-sister team (she’s engaged to Ravi) and Rahmi and Rhee, shapeshifting princesses (and sisters) from the man-hating Beta Twelve. Rajnish Singh is the embassy’s public relations minister with a troubadour gift. Pierre Duchamps is the concierge majordomo who organizes everything. Francine is Kitty’s double and a troubadour. Walter Ward is the head of security at the embassy while his brother, William, is overall head of security. The human Nurse Magdalena Carter is dating Richard. Dr. Tito Hernandez is the A-C embassy doctor.

The Poofs and Royal Peregrines are creatures from Alpha Four, lately. The Poofs are a soft fuzzy ball of sweetness that can grow to carnivorous monster proportions. Harlie is Jeff’s and the head Poof. He and Poofikins, Kitty’s Poof, are with Kitty all the time. Tenley was the Head Poof on Alpha Four. Mous-Mous is Jamie’s Poof. The peregrines are magical peacocks (and peahens) who can go invisible. Bruno and his mate, Lola, are the head peregrines. Algar is on the run from the Black Hole People, and he’s stopped off on Earth to have fun being the A-C elf, a.k.a., the Operations Team.

Mr. Joel Oliver, a.k.a., MJO, is their pet reporter, a journalist who has risen highly in the estimation of his fellow journalists. Bellie is his woman-hating parrot who adores Jeff. Who adores Bellie right back. It’s enough to make Kitty yowl.

Airborne Command is…
…a squad of Navy Top Guns assigned to A-C defense. Commander Tim Crawford is the current head with his fellow flyboys: Joe Billings (the Dazzling Lorraine‘s husband), Randy Muir (the Dazzling Claudia‘s husband), Matt Hughes, Chip Walker, and Jerry Tucker.

“Uncles” Dingo the Dog, a.k.a., Peter Kasperoff, and his brother, Surly Vic, a.k.a., Victor Kasperoff, are two of the best assassins in the business, and they figure they owe Kitty.

P.T.C.U., a.k.a.,
…the Presidential Terrorism Control Unit is headed up by Kitty’s mom, Angela Katt, the antiterrorism consultant and the only non-Jewish Mossad agent ever. Kitty’s dad, Professor Sol Katt, is a history professor for Arizona State University and secretly a cryptologist for NASA. Duke is the Katts’ Labrador. Kevin Lewis is Mom’s right hand man and the Alpha Centaurion Defense Attaché. His wife, Denise Lewis, is human AND gorgeous; she runs the A-C daycare.

The alphabet agencies include…
…the CIA with Charles “Chuckie” Reynolds, the extremely brilliant Conspiracy King, who heads up their Extra-Terrestrial Division and has been Kitty’s best guy friend since ninth grade. He’s still mourning the “death” of his new wife, Naomi Gower-Reynolds. Len and Kyle are former USC football players who work for Chuck and are now Kitty’s official driver and bodyguard. Clifford Goodman is with Homeland Security. Evander Horn is with the FBI. Officer Melville and Prince are part of the Washington D.C. K-9 squad along with the officers Kitty refers to as Larry and Curly.

Hacker International is…
…a group of computer geniuses now working for the A-Cs through the CIA and headed up by Stryker Dane, a.k.a., Edward Simms, who has been a friend of Chuckie and Kitty’s since high school. Big George Lacroix is Europe’s best hacker while Dr. Henry Wu is China’s best. Ravi Gaekwad and Yuri Stanislav may seem normal, but that’s only by comparison. Ravi is India’s best hacker, and he’s engaged to Jennifer Barone. The blind Yuri has to yield his title of best Russian hacker and be content with second place.

Political and foreign embassy A-C friends include…
Senator Vincent Armstrong is running for president and wants Jeff as his running mate. Senator Don McMillan endorsed Armstrong. Nathalie Gagnon-Brewer, a French ex-fashion model whose sudden widowhood pushed her into her husband Edmund’s seat as Representative from California is a friend of the A-Cs. Adriana Dalca, Olga’s granddaughter whom Olga, a.k.a., the Oracle, a former KGB operative and Andrei‘s wife (the Romanian ambassador), is teaching to spy using the old tried-and-true methods: intelligence. Other A-C allies include the Bahrainis and Israelis. Mona Nejem is the Bahraini ambassadress; Kalid is her Royal Bahraini Army bodyguard. Jakob, Oren, and Leah are all Mossad, but technically with the Israeli Diplomatic Mission.

The French assassin, Benjamin Siler, a.k.a., Helpful Servant (at the Bahraini embassy), a.k.a., Nightcrawler, has the ability to blend into his surroundings. And hyperspeed.

The Dealers of Death are…
…the primary and most powerful lobbyists for weapons making, alcohol, tobacco, fast food, hazardous waste, oil drilling, firearms, and big pharma. Lillian Culver, a sort-of A-C ally, is a top lobbyist, for most of the big defense contractors; Abner Schnekedy is her husband. Vance Beaumont is married to Guy Gadoire, a tobacco lobbyist; both are hoping for a three-way with an A-C. Simon Hopkins is head of the alcohol lobby; he preferred the previous A-C diplomatic corps. Niles Berkowitz is the heady lobbyist for oil and is friends with Ansom Somerall. Talia Lee is firearms, and she’s friends with Janelle Gardiner from Gaultier Enterprises. Myron Van Dyke is big pharma and tight with Quinton Cross, also from Gaultier. Lux Carr is hazardous waste while Kingsley Teague is fast food. Both Lux and Teague are tight with Amos Tobin, the current head of YatesCorp.

The First Mastermind was…
Ronald Yates, codenamed Mephistopheles, a joining of alien parasite and A-C to become an in-control superbeing. A really, really bad guy, the Bad Guy of Bad Guys. As Yates, he built YatesCorp, a media empire with its tentacles everywhere including Gaultier Enterprises and Titan Security. He’d also created the Al Dejahl terrorist organization. The next Mastermind was Leventhal Reid, a psychopath whom we thought had died. Wrong. The current Mastermind has figured out how to clone people — and LaRue Demorte Gaultier is one of them, a clone of Amy’s wicked stepmother who was the brain behind many of the evil plots. Annette Dier is a top assassin (in her own estimate) who hates Kitty.

The presidential candidate for the other side is Gideon Cleary with Cameron Maurer as his running mate on an anti-everything platform. Crystal is Cameron’s wife. Nancy “Squeaky” Maurer is Cameron’s terrified mother. Senator Zachary Kramer is one of their cronies. Secretary of Transportation Langston Whitmore hates the A-Cs.

Chernobog the Ultimate is the best hacker in existence; her real name is Bogdana. Her son, Russell Koslow, has no talent. Bruce Jenkins, a.k.a., the Tastemaker, is a tenacious, deep-digging, widely believed investigative reporter who spreads the gossip via a column in the Washington Post. Thomas Kendrick is with Titan.

Hate groups who have been targeting the A-Cs include two of the most prominent ones: Club Fifty-One and its head, Harvey Gutermuth, and the Church of [Hate and] Intolerance. Farley Pecker‘s group provided the distractions. The Z’Porrah are an alien race who hate the Poofs and other extraterrestrials and tried to invade Earth once already!

A collective superconsciousness is…
…a watchdog sent from another planetary system to keep an eye on us crazy earthlings. ACE was one and had been set up by Alpha Four to keep an eye on the earthbound A-Cs. He’s only back with us now because Naomi sacrificed herself to spring ACE from the superconsciousness version of a Supreme Court.

Sloshy, a.k.a., Sandy, was the first from the Eagle Nebula to arrive on Earth in Alien Collective, and he challenges Kitty, who, naturally, finds his Achilles’ heel. The others who show up, the Superconsciousness Seven, are Doc, Sleepy, Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Dopey, and Happy.

Standard Issue Clothing, a.k.a., Armani Fatigues, are white Armani oxford shirts, a black Armani slim skirt or trousers with black Armani jackets, and black Aerosole pumps. A-Cs have two hearts; most hybrids are human on the outside and A-C on the inside. Gates allow one to travel from one place to another in a matter of seconds. Imageering allows one to know everything there is to know about a person simply by touching their image. Empaths read people’s emotions; a blocker can prevent that. Troubadours influence the mind through emotions. The Supreme Pontifex is the reigning religious leader of the A-Cs.

Dulce Science Center is the main base for all of Centaurion Division worldwide. Home Base is in Area Fifty One at Nellis Air Force Base by Groom Lake. Colonel Arthur Franklin was formerly in charge. Captain Gil Morgan is Franklin’s adjunct. Colonel John Butler is in charge now. Zoya Darnell is Butler’s personal secretary. Colonel “Hammie” Hamlin is an ally in hiding. Lieutenant Colonel Sergio Gonzalez is second-in-command at Home Base if Butler is indisposed. He’s worked with Jeff before. The Dome is the A-Cs’ most strategic and vulnerable location.

The Cover and Title

The cover is in Kitty’s signature ice blue with Kitty on the run in her formfitting blouse and tight, black Armani skirt hitting mid-thigh, her blonde hair flying back, holster empty as Kitty fires her Glock, Prince snarling beside her. The background is a torrent of election signs, water drops, and fleeing and firing people against that, yep, range of icy blues.

The title could be taken as a summary of two alien groups: the Superconsciousness and/or the Alpha Centaurions and their allies, for either one can be considered an Alien Collective…although I suspect Koch leans to the new “bad guy” in town.

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