Dotwav *****
by Mike A. Lancaster

We’ve all heard about subliminal messages in music, but Dotwav launches on the premise that aliens are music. What an original concept!

I received an audiobook ARC for Dotwav and enjoyed this spy thriller with audio aliens while performing mindless sales lead sorting through dusty old files on carbon paper from the 1970s. I thought the workload threatened to brainwash, especially since Joe and Ani, our protagonists, faced brainwashing themselves.

Joe is part of a UK teen secret agency called YETI. Ani is a teen hacker, looking to change the world and prevent consumer culture from ruining the world. Joe recently lost a partner in duty and Ani finds herself on the run from armed goons. Their paths intersect over a strange .wav file that turns upper class teens into introverted social outcasts focused on a new musical genre called Crosscore.

I really enjoyed Lancaster’s approach on what alien life could really be. The author goes to great lengths to question what extraterrestrial life actually could be. I can honestly say this is the least human alien I’ve been exposed to in books, movies, or Parliament Funkadelic songs.


Both of our heroes have find a unique defense that allows them to handle this strange threat and they really compliment one another’s skill sets. All the characters were written with distinct personalities, made even more memorable my Will M. Watt’s narration. I’ve been a New Englander for a decade and if I heard Mr. Watt’s voice for Joe outside of Fenway I would not find it out of place. Not that I have much experience with people from India outside of pop culture, but one character’s Indian accent passed in my book as well.

This story was a great blend of high tech spy chase and first contact. I’m sitting here rubbing my goatee, trying to think of a mash-up to call this book, like if Jason Bourne’s kid brother met digital E.T., but the novel has such a creative take on aliens that I can’t find a good one.

There were just the right amount of plot twists for more tastes. Some of the end game rolled out how I thought it would, but I can’t say anyone would guess how the end fight goes down! If you like secret agent stuff and think you’ve seen it all in the world of first contact, then Dotwav is for you.

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