A down-to-earth forensics expert has just discovered a crime scene that is out of this world.
In criminal forensics they train you to uncover evidence, no matter how brutal or bizarre the murder. But what if one night you encounter a crime scene so terrifying that no one on earth can explain it?
It begins deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, at the site of a reported shoot-out. Investigator Colin Cellars cannot find a trace of perpetrator or victim - or even confirm that anyone has been killed. As he doggedly pursues the case, he realizes there is far more at stake here than murder. Someone - or something - will stop at nothing to prevent him from discovering the truth. For the truth is not “out there”; it is locked away in Cellars’ own evidence file. And the evidence points to a killer far outside Cellars’ experience - far outside any earthly experience. But who will believe one maverick cop?
From the New York Times best-selling author of Balefire comes a chilling tale of murder, forensic detection, and vivid speculation that pits a unique crime scene investigator against a culprit who may be unlike any this world ever spawned.
Ken Goddard is the author of Balefire, among other novels. He has served as a criminalist in three California police and sheriff’s departments and as an instructor in crime scene investigation and forensic techniques at law enforcement academies throughout the United States, as well as for Interpol. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, where he is currently director of the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, the only full-service wildlife crime laboratory in the world.
“First Evidence has great suspense, creepy atmosphere, and convincing nuts-and-bolts realism. Ken Goddard has created an interesting take on an old problem and presented it with a ricochet writing style and commonsense characters.” (Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times best-selling author)
“A stunner. A gritty, compelling novel I finished in one night. Goddard is really good.” (Earl Emerson, Shamus Award–winning author)
“Goddard nicely combines our instinctive fear of things glimpsed at the corner of the eye with the mind’s rational habit of assembling evidence and making logical inferences to lead the reader into unfamiliar and unsettling territory.” (Thomas Perry, Edgar Award–winning author)
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High concept bogged down by tedious detail
The narration by Kevin Kenerly made what would have been a listening ordeal merely unpleasent. His rolling, clear tones are perfect for audiobook narration, and I'll be keeping an eye out for stories narrated by him in future...just not ones written by Ken Goddard.
While the basic idea behind the story is a fun and interesting one, Ken Goddard's desire to be as technically accurate as possible bleeds any momentum out of the story, turning into a dry recitation of process and procedure interspersed with a pretty bare bones story and some rather forced action sequences. Characterisation is mostly non-existent and descriptive passages are limited to simple fact and surface detail. In a word, it's dull. I've listened to dozens of audiobooks, and with the exception of one very poorly read by Charisma Carpenter, this is the only one where I've been really tempted to simply give up and switch to something with more pace. In the end I stuck at it because I wanted to assure myself that it wouldn't get any better. It didn't.
Were I to edit this story, I think I would have cut 60-70% of the technical detail. While it's interesting the first time to learn about crime scene investigation and procedure, it is less so the third or fourth time around When it takes three or four pages to describe a trip of less than a hundred yards in which absolutely nothing happens, tedium sets in.
- Chris Halliday