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Earth had been invaded by aliens from outer space, the Visitors. After a devastating war, humanity drove the invaders off. The victory was costly, but eventually the Visitors withdrew to Mars.
“The Family Business,” a science fiction novel by Mike Kupari, takes place in that invasion’s aftermath. Nathan Foster is a bounty hunter. He occasionally tracks down murderers and drug dealers, but his primary quarry are war criminals and human traitors who collaborated with the Visitors.
Located in Prescott, Arizona, it is a family business. His understudy and assistant is his fifteen-year-old teenage nephew Ben, Nathan’s only surviving relative. Also assisting Nathan is Shadow, a genetically enhanced Doberman-Shepherd mix, a trained attack dog. His partner and office manager is Stella Rickles.
The business exists due to changes in Federal law after the war ended. The federal government attempted to permanently perpetuate its wartime emergency powers. The veterans who fought the war, including Nathan, decided they did not fight to overthrow alien tyrants to submit to a human tyranny. A series of Constitutional Amendments sharply limited Federal power.
Many arrest powers were ceded to licensed and bonded civilian recovery agents. Not being civil servants they can be held accountable for errors and illegal actions. It seems screwy and inefficient, but separating powers of arrest and detention curbs government excess.
Now Nathan is called in to hunt for Emmogene Anderson. While in her teens Emmogene worked with the Visitors. She was experimented on, implanted with something allowing her to control others through mental activity. She escaped from Federal detention where she was serving a multi-year term for collaboration. Rather, she was taken from custody by a team led by her obsessive ex-lover, a Visitor commando unwilling to concede the war was over.
Although recruited by the Federal government, Nathan learns he is not being told the whole story. He believes the Feds may want Emmogene as a way of restoring Federal primacy. Or there might be more behind Emmogene than anyone aligned with the Federal government or the Visitors realizes. Nathan and Ben must decide what is right in a largely lawless world, and their decisions may decide the fate of the world.
“The Family Business” is a fast-paced adventure, set in a US altered by a war fought on its soil. Kupari tells an exciting tale, one which entertains, while simultaneously examining the enduring vision of the United States’s Founding Fathers.
“The Family Business,” by Mike Kupari, Baen Books, 2021, 336 pages, $15.99 (paperback), $8.99 (ebook)
This review was written by Mark Lardas who writes at Ricochet as Seawriter. Mark Lardas, an engineer, freelance writer, historian, and model-maker, lives in League City, TX. His website is marklardas.com.Published in