© 2001 Greg Cox
The last person Liz expected to bump into in the depths of Carlsbad Caverns was the man who nearly killed her -- would have killed her, had her lab-buddy/secret admirer not been nearby to save her life. He didn't throw himself in front of a bullet or give her CPR, though, he merely dissolved the bullet and forced her molecules to speed-heal themselves. You can do that sort of thing when you're an exiled alien king. Bumping into Grumpy Murderman is a problem, not just because it brings to earth the mental-emotional turmoil that Liz has kept suppressed in the two years since she fell to the kitchen floor, bleeding from the gun -- Murderman remembers her, too. He remembers accidentally shooting a girl, even if the papers covered it up, and now that he's laid eyes on her again he's determined to find out the truth. But first, he's gotta blackmail an army test pilot into selling him a briefcase of UFO parts. Priorities!
The first time I read Loose Ends, when it was released, it confused me -- utterly. I'd read Roswell High, of course, multiple times. I'd memorized parts of it -- and this Roswell, while featuring a lot of the same characters, was completely different. Who were the "Skins"? Why did Maria keep talking about Czechoslovakians? I managed to get through the novel, questions aside, and put it in my Star Trek bookcase, there to be forgotten about for well over a decade. Now I've read it again, and -- having watched the television show on which this is based -- it makes a lot more sense. One of the reasons I've kept the book is because its author, Greg Cox, is more familiarly known to me as an author of Trek books. The language is odd -- sort of self-censoring and clunky, as if the publishers didn't want to be as earthy as the show. "Flying saucer" is used where another F-word might appear in the real world, and sounds really silly in the mouths of teenagers. Similarly awkward is Murderman, whose lines are so wooden they're petrified. (That's not really his name, but he's a scruffy potbelly who shoots people.)
A book like this has limited appeal, I suppose, being written for a teen drama that's since been forgotten by probably everyone, but if you're a fan of the show it has its moments.