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Ambitious Fantasy Spy-Fi Novel Reimagines Start of Cold War

MJ-12 Inception: A Majestic 12 Thriller

By Michael J Martinez

Skyhorse Publishing

Mystery & Thrillers, Scifi & Fantasy

Pub Date: 6 September 2016


MJ-12 Inception is an ambitious fantasy spy-fi novel set during the early years of the Cold War. Normally I’m a bit leery of stories where the characters have super-powers. I believe that authors have to make a good justification for the existence of unusual powers. Michael J Martinez exceeded my expectations, by not only making an unusual and well-done argument, but also by leading readers to believe that there may be an ultimate cost related to the event that transformed these distinct individuals.

There is no visible pattern behind who is touched or what power will emerge. It is only natural that both sides see them as assets, and potential threats. For now, the US government is training these variants as agents, but that is not to say that their government won’t turn on them in time.

The characters themselves are varied, and their personalities and history play a role in how they approach their abilities and how their abilities change them. Like the teacher who acquires the ability to manipulate emotions and the soldier who acquires both the memories and skills of the dead, it is impossible to remain unaffected. Even the ability to heal is a double-edged sword.

MJ-12 Inception is both a complete stand alone adventure and a thrilling introduction to a richly reimagined Cold War spy-fi series. I eagerly await Michael J Martinez’s next novel featuring the Majestic 12.


I received a copy of MJ-12 Inception from the publisher and in exchange for an honest review.



A team of superhuman covert operatives emerges from the ashes of World War II in a Cold War-era paranormal espionage thriller from acclaimed genre-bender Michael J. Martinez.

It is a new world, stunned by the horrors that linger in the aftermath of total war. The United States and Soviet Union are squaring off in a different kind of conflict, one that’s fought in the shadows, where there are whispers of strange and mysterious developments. . .

Normal people across the United States have inexplicably gained paranormal abilities. A factory worker can heal the sick and injured. A schoolteacher bends emotions to her will. A car salesman alters matter with a simple touch. A former soldier speaks to the dying and gains their memories as they pass on.

They are the Variants, controlled by a secret government program called MAJESTIC-12 to open a new front in the Cold War.

From the deserts of Nevada to the palaces of Istanbul, the halls of power in Washington to the dark, oppressive streets of Prague, the Variants are thrown into a deadly game of shifting alliances. Amidst the seedy underbelly of nations, these once-ordinary Americans dropped in extraordinary circumstances will struggle to come to terms with their abilities as they fight to carve out a place for themselves in a world that may ultimately turn against them.

And as the MAJESTIC-12 program will soon discover, there are others out there like them, some with far more malevolent goals. . .

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