Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind, by Nick Redfern (Softcover, 2014)|
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Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
This is one of many Nick Redfern books I have reviewed. Others include
World's Weirdest Places and Keep Out, but I
don't think any of the Redfern books that I've reviewed are similar in
I enjoy Redfern's books for several reasons. One is his somewhat hyperbolic
writing style. As an editor (magazine articles), I normally find this
grating to the point of intolerability, but for some reason I really enjoy
it when Redfern does it. Only with one book did he go too far with this, and
in Close Encounters he found his rhythm again.
Because of Redfern's writing style and word combinations, I feel transported
back to my youth, when I listened to Radio Mystery Theater or heard Rod
Serling make his commentaries on episodes of The Twilight zone. Few can
master this, and Nick Redfern has done so.
Another reason I always enjoy Redfern books is the amazing research
behind each one. These books are full of arcane facts. Maybe it's his
writing style that permits the reader to enjoyably absorb them all, or maybe
it's that writing style combined with how he threads them together combined
with the fact they are downright interesting.
This was, as usual for a Redfern book, a good read.
In Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind, Redfern discusses 18 different accounts of
mysterious death (or deaths, because in some accounts there are several
deaths that are oddly related to a particular incident).
As the cover art and subtitle suggest, a major theme here is UFOs.
Actually, the theme is the many mysterious deaths related to UFOs and to
such things as the Strategic Defense Initiative (Reagan's "Star Wars"
system), which, according to Redfern, appears to be UFO-related.
Maybe one or two of these deaths would not create a pattern with
noticing. But when you gather these up, the sheer preponderance of them
raises a red flag. And as you start delving into individual cases, things
just get curiouser and curiouser.
Some of these cases are surprising, at least to me. For example, I was
surprised to find out that UFO concerns had something to do with the demise
of James Forrestal. I had previously understood the reason for his demise
was his insistence that we take care of the Soviet Union problem following
WWII. Such insistence is probably why General Patton emerged unscathed from
the battlefield only to die in a car "accident." A study of the Forrestal
story would be quite interesting. We get only a slice of it in this book.
As usual, Redfern digs up information that even avid readers can't have encountered
already, adds in some things only the best informed of us already know, and
stitches it all into a compelling page-turner of a narrative.
As usual, there's the standard government cover-up in many of the bizarre
stories. But then, we've come to expect lying and killing from a government
that treats the law the way a dog treats a fire hydrant. So references to
Men In Black, cover-ups that must have originated in high places, very
questionable "suicides", and citizens inexplicably disappearing do not
surprise anybody who has been paying attention.
Perhaps a 13-page bibliography is excessive for a text that runs only 191
pages. But perhaps Redfern is deeply committed to doing an awesome job of
actually knowing what he's talking about. For Nick Redfern, a freakishly
long bibliography is normal.
Is he just listing sources, regardless of their quality? Maybe some
sources are dubious (for example, he lists the Huffington Post in his
bibliography). But he steers clear of noted disinformation sources such as
the New York Times (I didn't see it listed in a scan-through looking for it,
and apologize if it is).
Many of today's "non-fiction" authors are in the employ of
state-run media outlets and seem incapable of differentiating fact from
fiction. They have a particular worldview that arises from a lack of
critical thinking skills, and from an insular way of accessing information
(they access disinformation, almost exclusively). Consequently, their works
are riddled with factual and logical errors. I have yet to catch Redfern
producing such a work. Considering how many Redfern books I have read and
how varied the topics are, that is saying a lot.
Redfern just won't present
something as fact unless he's verified it as such. Most major news outlets
seem to take the opposite approach!
The book is also indexed, which is helpful for those using it as a
reference text. Given how loaded this book is with facts, that could be very
helpful in discussions with others when such discussions turn to the many
mysterious deaths of UFO researchers.