Wormwood, Nevada
David Oppegaard
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Buy *Wormwood, Nevada* by David Oppegaard

Wormwood, Nevada
David Oppegaard
St. Martin's Press
256 pages
December 2009
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Part The X-Files, part Twilight Zone, and part Close Encounters of the Third Kind, David Oppegaard's Wormwood, Nevada follows the inhabitants of the book's title as their dusty, desert-like existence is shattered by the arrival of aliens. There is terrific tension built up but it all falls apart a bit at the end. The aliens arrive and depart, and the writer isn't quite sure what to do with his characters.

Anna and Tyler Mayfield have journeyed west from Nebraska to this one-horse town. He starts seeing almond-shaped creatures in the backseat of his car and in his yard and doesn't quite know what to make of it. She is afraid of aging and can't seem to get comfortable in her new surroundings.

A meteor strikes, a resident declares "The end is near," and a local UFO club gears up for a visitation. There is tension and drama and humor, but not enough. The resolution simply isn't very exciting or convincing. The aliens take off and don't communicate with the Wormwood folks, don't interact, and don't care. They just leave, and that's it. There are too many dangling threads: Why did the aliens come here? What does Anna really want? Does the crashing of a meteor have anything to do with the landing of the craft?

This is close, but Oppegaard needs to sharpen his pencil and more carefully construct his next story. Still, an entertaining book about the science of fictional creatures.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Steven Rosen, 2010

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