Chindi by Jack Mc Devitt is a good solid read. It stands well as a novel on its own and works as part of series. The difference between a good science fiction novel and a great science fiction novel is in the details though and Chindi qualifies as a good science fiction novel. Good story telling can either be about ideas – plot driven, or about people – character driven. Chindi is a character driven story with just enough depth of plot to keep plot oriented SF fans happy.
The only real weakness in Chindi is the same weakness that many SF writers have in their story telling – the science. Chindi is a hard science novel, but it is hard science that likely does not stop up to scrutiny from hardcore SF readers. The rest of the reading public will enjoy Chindi to no end.
Mc Devitt's focus in Chindi is first contact. In an infinite universe humans have seen the footprints and remains of other races but never encountered a living intelligent species. Suddenly a stray radio signal is detected and a group of well financed private Contact Society investigators set off to discover the source and destination of the signal. In their quest for first contact in the company of thei Academy pilot Pricilla Hutchins (a.k.a. Hutch) rapidly becomes a scavenger hunt revealing more footprints than anyone had ever thought possible before.
Mc Devitt has a real talent for spinning a good story and creating believable characters with distinct personalities that are easy to care about. Chindi is definitely worth the read.