The first in a new series, The Outlaw River Wilde is a hodgepodge of ancient lore, government conspiracy, and science fiction. The subtitle of the book, An Ancient Aliens Inspired Novel, might make you think of the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens show, and you would be correct with that connection. Only instead of mysteries surrounding pyramids and ancient hieroglyphs, this book takes place somewhere in the U.S. Pacific Northwest along the fictitious Outlaw River, and focuses on missing American Indians, glowing arrows, and strange phenomenon. Mike Walters | Paperback | 2015 | 320pp
The story begins with Mitch Wilde as he is biking down a trail along the river. After a rough spill, he’s nearly pegged by a strange, glowing arrow. Back at home during a neighborhood cookout, his best friend Jack is hit with a similar arrow which glows and disappears into his body. Jack survives, but he’s changed. Aside from his nonsensical babble from time to time, it’s still Jack walking around so it’s hard to convince others that something is seriously wrong with Jack.
Wilde’s outlet for venting is his journal. He regularly records everything, including the things he can’t mention in public without people looking at him a bit funny. It’s also a good literary device that creates summaries every so often.
“No one in the mainstream media saw these crazy events coming. At least no one who was talking about it with the media. I am sure I could go back and find some bloggers who were close to guessing, out of luck, but none had piqued anyone’s interest at the time. The Mayan calendar may have been wrong about December 22, 2012, or at least the way many of the ‘experts’ interpreted it. Nonethless, the world, at least as we know it appears to be ending. Things are a-changing. No doubt about it.”
Enter Jasper, Wilde’s eccentric, conspiracy-theorist neighbor. Jasper believes there’s something strange going on in the neighborhood as well, but he’s a bit more informed. Jasper opens Wilde’s eyes to things that were not beyond his comprehension, but were beyond what he thought was possible. As things get more and more bizarre with strange sightings of Indians in full regalia on horseback, shapeshifters, UFOs, obvious government cover ups, and daily reports of missing Indians, Wilde and Jasper set out to document their findings.
Aside from the mystery of the seemingly hostile events that have been popping up, I really like the addition of another antagonist thrown into the mix. Sheriff Gunther is a bully who carries a deep resentment for Wilde stemming from a high school altercation. When the source of his disdain is revealed, you almost feel bad for poor ol’ Gunther – almost. But his constant desire to bring Wilde down, and his juvenile attempts to do so, casts out those feelings of pity pretty quickly.
Not much is revealed about the mysterious happenings and the reader is left with a ‘to be continued’ scenario right after a ‘wait, what?’ event. I would have liked to have seen some clarification of the strange events before heading to book two but I suppose that’s the hook that will get you to keep flipping pages. Great character development, likable characters to boot, and a mystery that just yearns to be solved.