Book Review: Universal Alien by Gini Koch

Posted January 8, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Book Review: Universal Alien 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.

Universal Alien by Gini Koch
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Published by DAW Books on December 2, 2014
Pages: 525
Format: eBook
Source: the library

Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Alien Collective, Alien in Chief, Alien Nation, Camp Alien, Alien Education

Tenth in the Katherine “Kitty” Katt science fiction romance series and revolving around Kitty and a mess of aliens.

My Take

Pheebs and Ev were so right, and what the heck was Kitty thinking to be such a schmuck!??

Fate happens and the two Kittys get switched from their own universes to the other’s. It’s that initial wake-up that makes you laugh and want to hit someone over the head. Our Kitty is busy saving t’other Kitty’s family and totally shocked that she’s married to Chuckie, oops, I mean to say “Charles”. Their Kitty is even more shocked since there are no aliens in her universe, and she’s not married to Charles, er, Chuckie. Instead, she’s expected to play public footsie with some stranger while her husband watches!

The Kittys are very similar in some things: both like mostly the same music, both have a Jamie-Kat, both love Charles, both of her fathers are Sol, and James is in both their lives as is Jeff’s Alfred and Kitty’s Caroline.

Both Kittys have their personal traumas to deal with, including whether they want to leave their new, respective universes, the temptation of the hunky Jeff for Other Kitty while Our Kitty already knows she loves Charles. They also are the right person for the universe they landed in. Each has a strength to give to their new people.

“Use the word. Own the word. Find out if the word is right. But stop hiding from the word. Not saying the word doesn’t change the reality. Only doing something positive, or negative, can change the reality.”

There are a number of parallels between the universes, and just enough differences to keep it challenging for both Kittys. The Jamies certainly do reveal some major facts. I love how Other Kitty took down those petty politicians in Australia.

I did appreciate that Koch made it fairly easy to know which universe we were in. I really hate it when authors make me work to figure out who’s talking or where the action is currently taking place.

It’s a fun story, albeit long, with car and motorcycle chases, gunfights, frame-ups, romantic confusions, people to fool — and they figure out who the new Mastermind is!

The Story

It’s too easy to insult an ally when you’re the wife of the Vice-President of the United States. Kitty will have to quickly find a way to smooth it over before the A-Cs get kicked out of Australia and possibly off the planet!

But before Kitty can make things worse, a cosmic congruence and a little help from some powerful beings shoves her into another world — one where she’s been married to Charles Reynolds for years and aliens don’t exist. She’s also landed in the middle of a huge conspiracy and is marked for death . . . but at least that’s business as usual.

Kitty’s not the only one confused, because the Kitty from that world has taken her place in this one. Now Alpha Team and the Diplomatic Corps have to make sure that no one spots that there’s been a switch, while keeping World War III from happening. And they have to do so while keeping this Other Kitty in line, because she has views about what to do and how to do it, and time is running out.

Can both Kittys save their respective days before it’s too late to go home to the universes they belong to? Or will one Kitty decide to keep the other’s life . . . forever?

The Characters

In Our Universe…

Kitty Katt-Martini (Cyclone, Missus Chief, or Cosmic Alternate depending upon who’s talking) is still the A-C ambassador (and the former head of Airborne for Centaurion Division), but now she’s married to the current Vice-President of the United States, Jeff Martini (Cosmos), an Alpha-Centauri alien. Jamie-Kat (Cutie-Pie) is their extra-special daughter, partly due to her daddy’s alien genes and partly due to the Superpowers Drug enemies had forced into his system.

Charles “Chuck” Reynolds (Playboy) is the head of the CIA’s Extra-Terrestrial Division and Kitty’s best friend since childhood. He’s still mourning the death of his wife, Naomi Gower, who is now a super-consciousness throughout the universes. Len Parker and Kyle Constantine were college football players about to go pro when Kitty met them; now they are her CIA bodyguards. Burton Falk is a human bodyguard. Malcolm Buchanan is the wind and the extremely effective bodyguard assigned to Kitty by her mother, the head of the PTCU.

Rajnish Singh is the American Centaurion Public Relations Minister and a troubadour. Pierre is the Embassy manager. Christopher White is an A-C and Jeff’s cousin; he’s married to Amy Gaultier. Richard White is Christopher’s father and Paul Gower’s and Jeff’s uncle — and Kitty’s usual kick-ass partner. Paul Gower is the A-C’s Supreme Pontifex, their religious leader. Abigail Gower is Paul’s youngest sister. Dr. Tito Hernandez is the team/embassy doctor. Lorraine, Claudia, and Serene (married to Brian Dwyer, a high school boyfriend of Kitty’s) are the three Beauty Queen A-Cs. Dr. Li is a leading practitioner in holistic and natural medicines. Walter is the head of Embassy security. Doreen Weisman is the only trained diplomat with the A-C embassy.

Alpha Team is…
…the A-C military team of which James Reader is the head. Tim Crawford, a.k.a., Megalomaniac Lad; Captains Jerry Tucker, Matthew Hughes, and Randy Muir along with Lieutenants Joseph Billings and Chip Walker are also part of the team. Kitty’s Secret Service bodyguards include Evalyne “Ev”, Phoebe “Pheebs”, and Sam.

Presidential Terrorism Control Unit (PTCU) is…
…headed up by Kitty’s mother, Angela Katt (both Angelas were in Mossad). Her father, Sol, is supposedly a history professor in Arizona, a cover for his real job as a cryptologist for NASA specializing in alien languages. Kevin Lewis is Angela’s second-in-command; his wife, Denise, runs the A-C daycare which also cares for their children, Raymond and Rachel.

The critters include…
Dudley, the Great Dane; Duke, the Labrador; Duchess, the pit bull; and, Candy, Kane, and Sugarfoot are the cats. The Poofs, bred to protect the Alpha Four Royal Family, include Harlie, who belongs to Jeff and is the head Poof; Poofikins is Kitty’s; Mous-Mous is Jamie’s; and, Gershom is the Poof who will attach himself to Other Kitty. Twelve mated-pairs of peregrines were gifted to the earth A-Cs by the king. Bruno normally guards Kitty; Lola is his mate. Sonny and Cher are Pierre’s. Barney and Betty and Fred and Wilma are with Len and Kyle. All three men prefer that their peregrines sleep with Jamie.

Vincent Armstrong is now the president. His wife, Elaine, is the First Lady. Monica Strauss is the bitchy Secretary of State. Fritz Hochberg is the Secretary of Defense. Cliff Goodman is head of Homeland Security, and he’s best friends with Chuck. Evander “Vander” Horn is the director of the FBI.

Lucinda and Alfred are Jeff’s parents. Their children, besides Jeff, include Sylvia who is married to Clarence Valentino; their daughter, Stephanie, is an A-C traitor. Aunt Terry, Christopher’s mother, was the telepathic one — and Jeff’s second mother.

Eddy Simms, a.k.a., Stryker Dane, is a computer hacker extraordinaire and a slob. He and the blind Yuri Stanislav, Ravi Geekwad, Big George Lecroix, and Henry Wu are the geeks who make up Hacker International. Chernobog, a.k.a., Boggy, is working with the A-Cs now.

Peter “the Dingo Dog” and Surly Vic Kasperoff (sometimes they’re Keller) are Kitty’s adoptive uncles and premier assassins. Bellie is Mr. Joel Oliver‘s woman-hating parrot; Mr. Joel is a reporter infamous for his conspiracy theories. Bruce Jenkins is another friendly reporter. Herman Melville is a cop with the canine squad in D.C. Prince is his dog. Akiko is a fashion designer on retainer for the A-C embassy.

Amadhia is the stage name for the singer Other Kitty finds in Paris. Her real name is Emily. Marie is her grandmother who owns the restaurant. Celeste owns the unique gift shop. Aaron is the musician desperate for a singer who can actually sing.

There are embassies who…
…are A-C supporters. Oren, Jakob, and Leah are with Mossad. Mona Nejem is the Bahraini ambassadress. Olga Dalca is the wife of the Romanian ambassador, Andrei Dalca, and was KGB.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Costello and his wife, Margie, are acting all super-offended.

Herbert Gaultier killed his wife, Solange, and then was killed himself, but not before he married his mistress, LaRue Demorte. Dr. Antony Marling is part of their evil cabal.

The Dulce Science Center for Extra-Terrestrial Studies is the A-C’s main science, research, and medical facility and is located in New Mexico.

In Other Universe…

…housewife and mother Katherine “Kitty” Katt-Reynolds is married to Charles Reynolds, who is secretly with the CIA, and publicly a multi-millionaire who works with a think tank in D.C. They have three children: Charlie, Max, and the autistic Jamie-Kat. Peter is their house manager. James Reader is their best friend who lives with them and works as an international male model. A widower, Papa Sol also lives with them. They spend half the year in their house in Australia and the other half in their house in Washington D.C. Stripes is the cat Our Kitty will adopt into the family.

Aunt Carla is not Kitty’s favorite aunt; they think she’s a Bigoted Snob. Uncle Mortimer Katt is a general here as well, but currently stationed in Afghanistan. Caroline is Kitty’s sorority sister who works for Senator McMillan from Arizona. Eddy Simms,a.k.a., Stryker Dane, is a popular author who has cleaned up well.

Malcolm Buchanan went rogue from the CIA after an ambush. Esteban Cantu is a desk jockey who is sent out with six commandos.

Cliff Goodman hates and despises Chuck; he’s the head of the Office of Public Affairs.

Auntie Mimi is actually Naomi. Alfred Martini is hiding in the Z’Porrah-created underground tunnels. Seems he’s responsible for most of the technological advancements in this universe. Ronald Yates was a good religious leader who was assassinated. King Adolphus had a lot of people assassinated. Turns out the Exonerates is the name of the A-Cs’ religion.

The equivalent of Our Kitty’s friends and enemies, etc…
Jack Ryan owns a car dealership where the Reynolds’ buy all their cars; his wife, Pia, is fun to shop with. Dr. Marling is an internationally renowned pediatrician who told them that Jamie was autistic. His wife is Cybelle Siler Marling with a sister, Madeline, who works with her and Marling promoting cancer research. Doctor Zainal is their family doctor (he’s the Bahraini Embassy’s doctor in our universe). Jack Johnson is a mellow singer whom Other Kitty adores while Our Kitty hates his music. The Amy Gaultier in this universe is hated and despised by Other Kitty. Herbert and Solange Gaultier are Amy’s parents and considered good people. Len is the incoming quarterback for the Jets; Kyle is the Jets’ new defensive end. Mr. Joel Oliver is a highly respected journalist. Tim Crawford is a kindergarten and first grade teacher in L.A. He’s married to a fifth grade teacher, Lori. Dr. Tito Hernandez works in Las Vegas. Brian Dwyer is in a mental hospital. Lieutenant Commander William Cox is alive in this universe; he’s been newly assigned to be an aide to Cliff Goodman. He’ll become Lunatic Lad.

The Israeli embassy
Oren, Jakob, and Leah are with Mossad and owe Charles and James big time for this capture.

Hershel and Hymie are a couple of old duffers who come to the rescue.

The Australian Prime Minister Tony Costello and his wife, Margie, are Kitty and Charles’ best friends. Lulu is their oldest daughter.

The Corporation is…
…the Cuban Mob and is currently headed up by the Mastermind, an American politician. The assassin team who had been targeting Kitty and the kids includes Bernie and her husband, Raul Diaz; Luis Sanchez; and, Julio Lopez. Leventhal Reid took over the Mob but was shot and his position was then taken over by Papa Patron. LaRue Demorte is known as Señora de Muerte here.

Mephistopheles was the original evil Mastermind. The Z’Porrah are the dino-birds, and they hate everyone in our universe. Club 51 is a hate group that is anti-alien with a huge presence in Australia. LaRue Demorte is evil who intends to take over the universe.

The Ancients are shape-shifting galactic missionaries who are pro-human. Surcenthumain is the superpowers drug. ACE is another super-conscious who lives inside our Jamie-Kat. Bizarro World is the code both universes come up with to refer to the switch. The Elves are what Kitty calls the Operations Team, at least in public as she knows that Algar, a super-powerful being from the Black Hole Universe, is truly the person doing it all.

The Cover and Title

The cover is blues and peaches with a blackened sun in the blue, starmapped sky, Cosmic Alternate Kitty with Stripes on the left and housewife Kitty on the right with a file in one hand and a Glock in the other as a peregrine flies overhead. Below the ladies are the symbols of their universes: Jamie-Kat, Charlie, and Max in front of the Sydney Opera House, Chuck, er, Charles, looming in the middle, and two men in suits in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

The title is oh-so-appropriate, as Kitty turns out to be the Universal Alien in whatever universe she lands in.

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3 responses to “Book Review: Universal Alien by Gini Koch

  1. It is a fun series, Barb. Yes, Kimba, do read it in order. Each story progresses and you’ll be lost if you skip a book. That said, it’s very much in the superhero comic vein with lots of laughs. I do want my own elves. Sigh. No more laundry. Instant food.

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