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The X-Files: I Want To Believe by Max Allan Collins

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy The X-Files: I Want To Believe in the USA - or Buy The X-Files: I Want To Believe in the UK

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pub: Titan. 237 page paperback. Price: 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-066-6.

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Starting with the inevitable, so did I. It was just too tempting that the magic of 'The X-Files' TV series could be re-created for the big screen, a couple of years after it finally jumped the shark. Alas, beware of getting what you wish for. Just like George Lucas, they wouldn't let it lie. This novelisation is part of the package of the blockbuster that never was this summer.

I haven't seen the film so this novel at least I can judge it on its own merits. The action takes place sometime after the X-Files have been closed. Mulder and Scully are an item but much has changed. Scully is back working as a doctor with only the everyday heart-breaking decisions to make over patients. Mulder is a recluse who feels, justifiably, that everyone is out to get him. He is holed up in his little office at home that reflects the chaos of his little basement in the FBI headquarters. They are stuck in a limbo where nothing is going to change. Unexpectedly, Mulder's presence is requested on a case. He is reluctant to get involved but there is a young FBI agent's life at stake. Anyway, it could be an X File. How can he resist?

The link between the team of Mulder and Scully and the case is a strange visionary who has convinced at least one agent that he can locate the missing woman. There's a problem, he's a defrocked priest who is a convicted child-abuser. Scully has to overcome her revulsion to bring herself to deal with him. He might just be telling the truth. There is a race to find the agent who disappeared on her own driveway leaving only a man's severed arm as a clue, found ten miles from her home. The blood from the arm matched the crime scene and it's the priest who led them to it.

I'd liked to be able to say it made me want to see the film but it didn't. The story is all right but it felt padded and clumsy in places. The final revelation is more slock-horror than X File. Trying to explain the back-story and junk in some details about the relationship left me feeling that a very short story had been unzipped and stuffed full of cotton wool. Next time they might leave it alone.

Sue Davies

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This book has 36 votes in the sci-fi charts

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