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Book Review of: Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind
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Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind, by Nick Redfern (Softcover, 2014)|
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This is one of many Nick Redfern books I have reviewed. Others include The World's Weirdest Places and Keep Out, but I don't think any of the Redfern books that I've reviewed are similar in subject matter.
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.