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Hey El Moochadores! Last month Titan Books released a new novel that delves deeper into the mysterious and exciting world created by FOX’s cult favorite show, Fringe! Written by Christa Faust, Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox takes us back to a time when professors Walter Bishop and William Bell were professional partners working for MIT. Here’s the books synopsis:

In 1971 university students Walter Bishop and William Bell use an exotic chemical compound to link their subconscious minds. Unexpectedly, they open a rip in space through which comes a menace unlike any our world has ever seen – The Zodiac Killer. His singular goal is death, and it falls to Bishop, Bell, and Nina Sharp to stop him.

The Zodiac Paradox is one of three novels Faust is writing that covers the history behind the televisions series principal characters. Though I can’t say I’m a fan of the show, I have seen several of the episodes and I very much enjoyed reading about a young Bishop and Bell who weren’t afraid to experiment with perception altering drugs. Faust’s use of hallucinogens to create portals to other worlds has an almost Lovecraft like vibe and setting the adventure back in the early 1970’s added to the stories drug addled fun.

I’m not sure how I feel about the use of the Zodiac Killer as the main villain for this story. The real life version of the murderer, and what he did to people, is horrific enough. Despite the books title I feel this story could have had any sort of completely fictional monster and didn’t need to try and meld a serialized fiction with real life history. I also felt that having the murderer gain additional, radioactive, powers wasn’t needed. I know this story is on the level of the X-Files, and other spooky procedurals popular on network television, but they pulled a psycho through a frigg’n portal they created with their acid induced minds! For stories that want to wow people with the fantastic and unknown, that’s good enough! I feel that giving the killer an additional ability to melt faces off people pushes the story into a more ridiculous realm and it lost a chance to be truly terrifying. Plus, The character of Allan (the Zodiac Killer) was a great combination of creepy and deadly on his own before gaining a fist full of gamma radiation.

That being my only complaints for the story, I would very much recommend this book. Faust has a knack for characters, dialogue, and (regardless of how I felt about the villain) kept the story fun. Which is the most important element to any novel I read. It has to be fun!

So that’s it for this book review El Moochadores. Make sure to go get your copy of Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox at your local book retailer or online at Titan books! Then come back here and share with me your thoughts on altered states and bad trips!

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