Engage at Dawn: First Contact by Edward Hochsmann

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The discovery of a drug-runner's derelict boat, with extensive and inexplicable damage, leads Coast Guard Officer Ben Wyporek and his crew on a dangerous mission to locate a crashed alien vessel before a transnational criminal organization, known as the 252 Syndicate, can find it. Driven by a mysterious government agent obsessed with secrecy, the crew of the aging Coast Guard Cutter Kauai is ill-prepared to handle the mission. The operation quickly turns into a life-and-death race with the technologically-advanced and murderous syndicate to find and contact the first known extraterrestrial visitors to Earth. Exploring the friendship, teamwork, and humor of a typical ship's crew, in the face of unexpected and hazardous challenges, and unexpected romantic entanglements, Engage at Dawn: First Contact provides a fast-paced, taut story – excellent fare for both action/adventure and soft sci-fi fans.

“The entire narrative has a conspiratorial feel, as though it's a true story we shouldn't be reading. The intensity of certain moments, the rapid-fire dialogue, and the incredibly high stakes of the plot make it difficult to put the book down, and Hochsmann knows how to masterfully draw out suspense. Engage at Dawn is an imaginative and captivating story, one that explores the nuance of brotherhood and service, along with plenty of rich twists and extraterrestrial tangles, for a uniquely compelling sci-fi thriller.”

Self-Publishing Review

“A taut and enigmatic SF nail-biter that offers plenty of tension and action…Hochsmann melds high-tech gadgetry and fast action with elements of science fiction in this first-rate action thriller. …The chapters move seamlessly as new revelations unravel at a relentless pace. The interesting speculations about the destroyed alien vessel and floating alien conspiracy theories are integrated skillfully into the plot, and Hochsmann expertly evokes Coast Guard landscape, military protocols, people, and politics associated with wide-scaled extra-terrestrial conspiracies. His deeply realized characters complement his cleverly executed plot. Ben with his well-rounded world-weariness and edgy impatience makes for an electrifying protagonist who is determined to protect his crew and friends at any cost. His profoundly protective nature and his struggle with realistic moral dilemmas gives an authenticity to his character while the run-ins with DIA Agent Simmons add to his allure. The excessively secretive Simmons and the overly-cautious Samuel are both relatable and convincing. The secondary cast is sketched with equal conviction: they're multifaceted humane characters, each with a full array of strengths and weaknesses, each fighting to realize their collective goal. The crew's everyday interactions add levity while their growing bond reinforces that a normal life exists for them onboard despite the circumstances…This is a wonderfully intricate SF action thriller, and one not to be missed.”
The Prairies Book Review, 4 September 2020

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