Wednesday, 11 January 2012
Project Ultra - James Michael White
Title: Project Ultra
Author: James Michael White
"Project Ultra" by James Michael White is a relatively short paranormal thriller with some elements of Science Fiction thrown in. I am not sure it is something that I would have picked up normally but when the author asked to me give it a read I decided I may as well give it a go.
The story itself starts in 1947 and follows Victor Williams, an American CIA agent who was tasked with setting up and running a psychic warfare branch to counter the perceived threat from a similar Soviet programme. The story then follows Victor over several decades as he becomes a scapegoat, then a hero before he finally betrays the programme to help a friend.
I have to say that the book did have an interesting premise and it was enjoyable reading about some of the espionage attempts seemingly linked to psychic powers. However, I do think the short length actually harmed the book a little bit as it did feel like the book jumped very quickly between events and therefore I never felt the characters were built up to mean much to me as a reader. It does keep the book moving at a quick pace, but this isn't really an action book so I would rather have had the pace slowed and a little bit more character building included.
I am also going to admit that I didn't really understand the ending very well, there is a nice little twist in it that I didn't see coming but I then get lost as Victor rambles on some information to his interrogators that I couldn't follow. I am not sure if it was showing Victor having one last laugh or if it was meant to be some deep a meaningful truth. It was a shame really, as I do think the ending ruined some of my enjoyment of the novel. If anyone else has read this book and can explain what the ending is trying to be to me then please drop me a message.
Overall, I am quite torn on how to rate this book. I did enjoy it and was actually quite impressed with the little twist at the end regarding Victor's interrogators but the overall ending itself just didn't capture me. If you are interested in reading a short story about paranormal espionage over the previous decades then feel free to give this book a try as I suspect you will enjoy the majority of it.