The Apollo Murders

Mysterious Book Report No. 467

by John Dwaine McKenna

The Apollo Murders, (Mulholland, $28.00, 480 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-26453-2), by Chris Hadfield, is an alternate history of the cancelled Apollo 18 moon mission.  In the novel it takes place in 1973 and is re-imagined as a military reconnaissance mission to spy on a Soviet space station known as Alnaz.  Alnaz is nothing more than an orbiting ‘eye in the sky’ aimed at gathering intel from the United States.  Fearing that it’s a threat to U.S. national security, the Apollo 18 crew is tasked with sabotaging the Russian orbiting camera.  But, as we all know, nothing ever goes according to plan.  First, one of the Apollo 18 astronauts dies in a suspicious plane crash that puts the mission at risk.  An investigation is launched to determine whether the aircraft was sabotaged.  That’s when a flight controller named Kaz Zemeckis pulls out all the stops to keep Apollo 18 on track . . . unaware that a Russian mole has penetrated the American team.

With intricate detail and an insider’s knowledge, author Hadfield, (who also wrote the best-selling non-fiction book An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth), ramps up the tension and terror with the skill of a maestro conducting the New York Philharmonic, by turning a simple construction detail into a major mission-ending and life-threatening problem.  This one will keep readers glued to the page . . . just as surely as Neil Armstrong had the whole world holding it’s breath, as we all watched him take “One giant leap for mankind,” back in 1969.

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