I have been on a weird fiction kick lately. Weird fiction rarely gives answers and is more interested in creating a hazy environment where your imagination infers what the fuck is going on. The best weird fiction reads like a constant state of confusion.
Black Helicopters by Caitlin R. Kiernan fits that description. It is a story about secret government agencies that are trying to protect the earth from cosmic forces. That would almost be a bland topic decades after the X-Files but Kiernan kicks everything into overdrive. The monsters are truly inhuman and disturbing, the characters are such broken messes that Agent Mulder looks like a stable Mr. Rogers and the government agencies are just as wicked and incomprehensible as the cosmic monsters they fight.
It is a challenging book to read and I mean that in a good way. The story tracks across multiple timelines and for the love of Nyarlathotep, pay attention to the dates at the beginning of each chapter. Each character is a damn mystery and at no point do you get a handy roster list to check. The plot seems wildly unconnected to the point that I wondered if it was being obscure for the sake of being obscure but then it begins to tie all together into a beautiful well-planned masterpiece.
It truly is a great dark book of weird fiction. There is another book with some of the same characters, “Agents of Dreamland”, but it is unnecessary to enjoy this one.