‘What you hold in your hands’, warns the insider cover, ‘is a piece of a very large puzzle’. Peter Levenda (author of the non-fiction version of Sekret Machines) is not wrong. Based on true events, the story presents the experiences of a multitude of witnesses to supernatural occurrences, as told through a fictional narrative.
We begin in 2014 with Major Alan Young, a pilot on a routine night patrol in Afghanistan. Confronted by an enemy that disrupts his weapons system and is undetectable by radar, Alan is helpless to watch as the asset he was tasked to protect, is destroyed before his eyes. Young dismisses ISIS and the Taliban as culprits, based on the limitations of their real-life arsenal, but is reluctant to reveal what he really saw until his debrief is interrupted by the CIA demanding he sign a pre-written letter of resignation. Whatever the CIA believes Alan was witness to, they want him out of the way.
Meanwhile Jennifer Quinn, daughter of the uber-rich Edward Quinn, despises her father’s wealth but feels comfortable enough to use it as a means to subsidize her numerous charitable causes. Edward however has pulled her funding, forcing her home just in time to be informed that her father has committed suicide. We know different; Edward knew too much, and was forced at gunpoint to leap from his office window to spare his daughter’s life.
In present day New York, Timika owns a conspiracy theory debunking website. On false pretense of a bomb scare, government officials have cordoned off her offices. Timika has received a package from Jerzy Stern, challenging her to read his material. We don’t get much time to digest any of this as before we’re hauled back to 1939 in Poland, where a young Jerzy’s experiences at the hands of the Nazi regime are harrowing enough, even without his supernatural discoveries. This all takes place within the first 90 pages of a 650+ page book and only covers four of a vast array of characters, which should indicate the kind of white-knuckle adventure this story embarks on.
The prose is a joy; effortlessly pulling off the feat of making the unbelievable appear not only plausible but utterly, terrifyingly, realistic. The language is enriched with all the flair that DeLonge employed to great effect in his former incarnation, as lyricist for punk rock band Blink-182. Billed as the first of a trilogy, Sekret Machines redefines ‘provocative’; we defy you not to lie awake questioning everything that you ever thought you knew after you’ve turned the last page.
To paraphrase the author, take off your pants and your jacket, and settle in for the thrill ride of the year.
SEKRET MACHINES / AUTHORS: TOM DELONGE, A.J. HARTLEY / PUBLISHER: TO THE STARS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW