A 2013 Sci-Fi novel by Ray P. Muniz and the first in a planned series called “Witness to Unsightly Truths”Kyle Griffin was just another ordinary freshman college student with an ordinary life and problems. One night however, after a night of heavy drinking, he finds himself immersed in a world he never believed existed when he finds his roommate murdered by an extra-terrestrial. Now Kyle becomes a scapegoat in a string of similar murders occurring on campus for the past two years. Framed for the murder and with the entire school down his throat, save for a few believers in his innocence, Kyle must find a way to clear his name and discover the truth of the dire situation he’s found himself in.
Adult Fear: Though you may not be completely alone in your struggle, imagine struggling with the notion that everyone is out to get you, and your innocence or guilt in the problem it steams from is of measly concern to your collective peer's desire for conclusion to an ongoing string of serial murders which is apparently at hand and there's viable and sufficient cause that implicates you directly as the culprit.
The thought of confiding your deepest fears and secrets with people you just met, but are the only ones that aren't calling you to be lynched for a crime you didn't commit.
Animal Motifs: A recurring theme with all of the main characters.
Go ahead, guess what Kyle Griffin’s motif is. It’s interesting to note that Kyle’s motif is the only one amongst the cast that’s actually a mythical beast and not an actual animal. This is a reflection of his desire to escape from the cruel real world and find solace in the fantasy world of his drunken stupor. It may also reflect his desire to be free of suspicion (the bird/flying aspect of the creature) and his aggressive nature towards his suspicion (the lion aspect).
Mark Rivera’s is the wolf. His motif is a symbol of his rather fierce and aggressive attitude towards those whom he cares for (like a pack). It’s also a part of a gag with his girlfriend Naomi Portman’s motif of the Moon and also a reflection of his sad, habitual, and lonesome way of life.
Bret Cameron, takes the falcon as his both for the fact by personality he’s introduced wearing a hoodie with the face of the bird on his hood, is an excellent tracker and a careful and silent overseer of his surroundings and that he uses camera-bots disguised as taxidermy falcons to spy on Kyle.
Kiefer Waldgrave identifies himself with the caterpillar, cocoon, and Moth family. He clearly started out a pathetic, frail and idealistic young man, but slowly gave in to his newfound ideals and confined himself to the cocoon of his new ideals till he hoped to become something much greater.
The men of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity are identified by Mark as “dogs”, possibly by how depending on their owner and surroundings it ultimately shapes their personalities, of which these boys are aggressive and brutal.
Emma Sumiko is identified with koi fish, possibly due to her Asian heritage and her milky, elegant and beautiful appearance.
Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Although Kyle has a long way to go in the badass department,Mark Rivera, Bret Cameron, and Allie Parker more than comprise it.
Anti-Hero: Bret Cameron. He isn’t above willing to sacrifice student and teacher lives to a gruesome demise due to the fact the survivors would be complication’s to his organization’s secrecy as they’d be witnesses of extra-terrestrial life he’s and he knows that no matter how he goes about the situation, there will be numerous unavoidable casualties, but he does everything in his power to protect Kyle Griffin and help him escape with his life, that and he concedes to Kyle’s plan in an effort to lessen casualties.
Mark Rivera slides between the classic and dangerous type. His particularly brutal beat down to his frat brothers with a steel baseball bat comes to mind in he clearly wanted them to hurt and could have done worse had Kyle not stopped him, but it was all simply done as retaliation after the assholes horrifically tortured and hazed Kyle before and because he’s protective and looks out for Kyle. That and he has no qualms of wanting to kill the one that killed his girlfriend for strictly vengeance and anger.
Arc Words: “Bottoms Up” typical, causal, friendly remarking Allie Parker gives Kyle Griffin when drinking his flask to help him relax turns out they’re trigger words to bring about a trance of sorts to Kyle, getting him drink which will place him in position to further fuel suspicion upon him till he finally cracks and turns his back on the school to join her and Kiefer. That or in easier position to be done with by the aliens.
Armor-Piercing Slap: Meleeo gives one to Kyle when the young man is in a hysterical moment of weakness.
Beauty Equals Goodness: Allie Parker whom is young for a college psychiatrist and is beautiful to boost personality wise not so much
Becoming the Mask: Both Meleeo and Allie Parker in an interesting contrast from one another. Whereas Allie Parker, the human, dressed and grew accustomed to the persona of a blood thirsty monster, Meleeo, the alien, adopted to a life disguised as a mild mannered human college teacher.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Allie Parker comes across as such via a combination of bizarre and slightly unnerving yet still kind and supportive behavior and interest in Kyle’s predicament, but by the end, she’s revealed to be the killer that Kyle is accused of and she’s using him to feed off his fears and attempting to recruit him to her and Kiefer’s side.
Bizarrchitecture: the Nytera factory beneath the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity house.
Blood Knight: Mark Rivera, who lives for nothing, but to avenge his deceased girlfriend.
Body Motifs: Readers will notice that eyes are a recurring theme in this book; the concepts of "perception" and how we view others being one of the book's main messages. The book also has detailed descriptions for the looks that many characters give to one another.
One of the traits for which Kyle finds unsettling about the falcon perched on the window during the Beta Alpha Omega meeting is the eyes which glow red. He of course later discovers it's a camera-bot Bret Cameron used to spy on the meeting to see if there was anything he could discover.
Then of course there's the eye pattern on Kyle’s flask which he finds to be rather mesmeric to behold and it is, but he's not aware of it till later.
Bodyguard Crush: Kyle's clearly attracted to Allie Parker, despite his uncertainty of her motives.
Break the Haughty: Poor Mark Rivera had this done to him two years ago. Clearly he was a happy and competent person once, but he watched his world collapse when he witnessed his girlfriend get murdered by an alien and spends the next two years emotionally tormented and destroyed, longing for revenge.
Ironically, this apparently was what landed Kyle Griffin in his predicament at the beginning of the story.
Butt Monkey: Poor Kyle Griffin serves this role in multiple parts in the story. It doesn’t help that pretty much he brings most of the situations upon himself.
This was also the case for Kiefer Waldgrave long before the events of the story. So much to the fact he seems to be a stark contrast from Kyle, like what Kyle could have become had it not be for a more stable mind.
Catch Phrase: “Bottoms Up” becomes one for Kyle as he settles more into his obsession with alcohol course he doesn’t know he’s not exactly in the right state of mind whenever the words come to mind.
“Am I going to have to baby sit you?” Mark’s dull attitude towards Kyle in regards for always bailing him out of trouble.
The Chessmaster: Kiefer Waldgrave, Meleeo, and Allie Parker are all masters.
Childhood Friend Romance: Mark’s relationship with girlfriend Naomi Portman grew from a childhood friend to a romance when the two entered into college.
Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Oh boy first we’ve got Kiefer Waldgrave shooting Norman Oswald for the later wanting out of the organization then we’ve got Allie Parker backstabbing Bret, Mark and Kyle once she reveals herself to be in cahoots with Kiefer and then we’ve got Norman Oswald whom reveals himself to be Meleeo who was in league with Kiefer and Allie all along and only played dead to draw suspicion off himself.
Creature Hunter Organization: Bret Cameron and Allie Parker’s organization of CECO (Certified. Extra-Terrestrial Countermeasure Organization) of which has been running for quite a while and who’s job it is to hide extra-terrestrial life from civilians and of course if need to, countermeasure aggressive aliens.
Cryptic Background Reference: The roots of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity’s creation of which the founding fathers seem to have been the victims of what sounds like concentration camps.
The origins of the fraternity house’s underground.
Dark Messiah: the only referenced god called “UmbraRas” of which Meleeo and Kiefer speak of seems to be this as the entity’s name is latin for “Striking Shadow”.
Deadpan Snarker: A lot of Kyle Griffin’s dialogue just oozes this, but Mark Rivera and Bret Cameron also have their moments.
Death by Irony: Allie Parker is gruesomely devoured by Nytera; the very creatures she believed she had control over and christened herself as their “mother.
Kiefer Waldgrave is promptly shot with his own gun by the same woman he shot earlier, Emma Sumiko.
Death Glare: Mark Rivera is a master of this, even in situations not escalating over a mere argument.
Also the brothers of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity.
The Determinator: No matter his predicament, no matter the insane odds and obstacles in his path, no matter how many moments of weakness he finds himself in, Kyle Griffin will not rest until he is acquitted of the crime he stands accused of.
Also Mark Rivera in regards to helping Kyle clear his name and avenging the murder of his beloved at the hands of an extra-terrestrial which he himself knows is probably a suicide mission.
The Dog Bites Back: Emma Sumiko after a whole mess of crap happening to her mostly from behind the scenes is the one to end Kiefer Waldgrave. Sadly, she does not live long to relish the moment.
Double Agent: Turns out Allie Parker is one for her organization as she has been plotting with Kiefer for two years now and is the one behind all the murders on campus.
The Eeyore: Kyle Griffin can come across as this as his depressing attitude is comical at times.
Empathic Environment: It’s cold, moist and misty at the waterfall where Naomi Portman’s plague is set in and where Mark Rivera regularly mourns her.
Evil Counterpart: Kyle Griffin gains one in Kiefer Waldgrave. Whereas Kyle is on the surface a weak looking, depressed and bitter person, he’s in truth a kind and determined young man looking to not only save himself but the entire school from facing death at the hands of the aliens even when the school had turned it’s back on him, Kiefer only puts up a front as a nice, friendly and confident individual, but is in truth a fearful, nasty, bitter, cruel and evil young man looking to hurt everyone whether they hurt him or not.
Evil Overlord: “Umbra Ras”, the god that Kiefer Waldgrave and Meleeo seem to serve.
Faux Affably Evil: Kiefer Waldgrave to the letter. On the surface he's comically overdramatic where it isn't necessary, he's polite, chummy and even down-right encourages Kyle to catch him even to the point of telling him he believes in him, but he's in fact a spiteful, cruel, sadistic psychopath who when angered can and will kill anyone who is a threat to his plans.
Hand Cannon: Kiefer Waldgrave’s choice of weapon and the one he uses to “kill” Norman Oswald and murder Emma Sumiko.
Hero with Bad Publicity: Kyle Griffin despite the fact that we the readers see from his perspective he is genuinely a good kid in a bad predicament, virtually all his peers and even most of campus police believe him to be the serial killer the school has been under victim to for the past two years.
Hive Mind: The Divi’Auros which are part of what's required to create the Nytera are described by Kiefer to be so as they all share the same collected mind and rely on a matriarch of which they receive their life energy from and from who’s death they would all also die.
Of course, Kiefer also accuses Kyle, Mark, Bret, and Emma to be as such when they reject his ideals and his proposal to side with him and his organization.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Allie Parker suffers this as she fully expected to have control over the Nytera and ordered them to finish off Bret, but as he was still under the effects of the odor that the Nytera detest and generally avoid, they go for the first piece of meat they smell they can eat, her.
Kiefer Waldgrave is shot with his own gun by the same woman he shot only moments before.
Homage: Ray P. Muniz attributes former lead singer for Adema, Mark Chavez to be the inspiration for Mark Rivera’s appearance and his first name.
Humiliation Conga: Kyle Griffin is framed for the murder of his roommate, suffers intense hatred and suspicion from virtually all his peers, passes out every time he drinks, is tortured and hazed by his own fraternity brothers, framed for Norman Oswald’s “murder”, and to top it off is apprehended by authorities as the one behind the entire massacre on campus.
Hypercompetent Sidekick: Mark and Kyle prove to be one for one another as Kyle acts as Mark’s eyes during the massacre at the school and Mark acts as the arms as he decimates every alien that Kyle points out in their way. Also Bret Cameron is this to both of them.
Hypno Trinket: Mark's "Wolf and Moon" necklace becomes this following his brief sessions with Allie Parker following the murder of his girlfriend Naomi Portman. She subliminally transformed it into one that lures Mark into a state of mind where he's consumed by the memories, the pain and depression brought by her murder and causes him to long for revenge anytime he looks at it. This possibly explains why he hasn't been able to move on from her death. It's interesting because reallife hypnosis can't cause people to do anything they don't want to do, but rather relax them and make them more likely to do what they want which in this case, is Mark's longing for vengeance.
Idiot Ball: Poor Kyle Griffin apparently runs with the ball every time he resorts to drinking turns out it’s an aversion as he’s actually in a trigger activated trance every time he drinks and thus he “unintentionally” finds himself in the messes he’s in.
I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Naomi Portman is a regular example to Mark Rivera as he feels he blames himself for her murder and is unable to move on with his life because of it.
One can believe Zack Oliver was this for Emma Sumiko as she was unable to prevent his death out of fear for her own life.
Join or Die: Pretty much the choice that Kiefer, Allie, and Meleeo leave for Kyle and Mark when their plans are revealed. This was also the method of choice when dealing with every other pledge that was killed at their hands over the past two years.
Karmic Death: Meleeo is killed by the vengeful boyfriend of the girl he killed two years prior after attempting to kill him in the same manner he killed her, only to have his tongue cut off and then gutted for his trouble.
Kiefer Waldgrave is killed by Emma Sumiko, the very same woman he apparently lusted for, raped, and shot. He is killed by a bullet from the very same gun he used to kill her at that.
Allie Parker is devoured by the very same beasts she believed to have control over and to be their mother, completely neglecting her opponent possibly still had the stench that they detested and that she herself wasn’t under the same protection.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Mark Rivera goes to town on Meleeo; having cut the alien’s tongue after it attempted to kill him in the same manner it killed his girlfriend and then gutting the alien brutally.
After being stalked, hunted, raped, and shot by the man whose shadow loomed over her, Emma Sumiko herself is the one who puts an end to Kiefer Waldgrave.
Lame Pun Reaction: Allie Parker finds herself on the receiving end of one after she knocks Officer Rodney out with a stiff knee.
Whoa, what the heck did you do to him?” astonishingly Kyle asked.
Got him acquainted with my knee, guess he’s not used to sudden hook ups,” said Allie
Kyle promptly shot her a dull look. “Ha, ha.”
Laughably Evil: Kiefer Waldgrave is a cynical, cruel, and evil kid that digs up the bodies that Allie Parker kills and hangs their skeletons as trophies, but not before using the bodies to hatch the Nyteras, but at the same time relishes in hilarious wise crackings, bi the way tendencies, and having an overall trollish personality.
Lightning Bruiser: Both Bret Cameron and Allie Parker are revealed to be this with Bret being a more traditional genius brusier and traditional brawler and Allie Parker to be a downright animalistic and dirty fighter, reflecting her true evil nature.
Like a Son to Me: Norman Oswald treats Mark Rivera a great deal more kind and respectful then the other fraternity brothers and is in turn treated with the respect a son would have for a father also paying for Naomi Portman’s plague and resting spot after she was murdered and was there to mourn her loss along with Mark. Of course this is all just all merely camouflage to the his true colors.
Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Emma Sumiko feels herself a culprit of this in her attraction to Zack Oliver whom apparently loved his standing in school and his position with the fraternity more than her. This also leads to her downfall as she falls victim to one of his contenders for her affection.
Manipulative Bastard: Allie Parker comes across as a...quirky and unorthodox yet a nice and very supportive ally to Kyle Griffin in his mission to clear his name, but in the end she’s revealed to be the serial killer of Milwood University and was simply manipulating him just the way she did all her other victims before they were deemed lost causes and killed them.
Mentor Archetype: Norman Oswald to Mark Rivera and Bret Cameron to Kyle Griffin and Allie Parker.
A literal example with Sergeant Eric Warren to Officer Edmund Rodney.
Mercy Kill: Allie asks for this; begging Bret to shoot her to spare her agony from being eaten alive by the Nytera, but ultimately is unable to as she had him drop his weapon prior to their fight.
Mind-Control Device: The flask that Allie bestows to Kyle in his first session and the same one on the cover of the book acts as this in the manner of a "trance inducer" every time he looks at the eye imprinted on the flask. It should be noted that it's not so much "mind control" as Kyle isn't doing something he doesn't want to do, but more along the lines of hypnosis as he's goaded into relaxing and doing something he wants to do (specifically, drinking to dull the pain of his stress) and that's brought apart by looking at the alluring artifact.
Missing Mom: Kyle Griffin talks about a father that abandoned him not long after he was born and makes no mention of a mother.
Mark Rivera states his biological mother died of sickness. He has a stepmother, but states he's not close to her nor his stepfather.
The Mourning After: The very first time we see her, we see how distraught Emma Sumiko is over Zack Oliver's murder; so much to the point she's unable to stay for class and runs out crying.
Mark Rivera never gets over the murder of his girlfriend Naomi Portman whom is revealed to have been killed two years prior to the story by an alien and beneath his casual exterior he is an angry, bitter and vengeful young man desiring to kill his girlfriend’s killer.
And Mark takes offense to any smart remarks about Naomi Portman.
Offstage Villainy: We have the all murders of the students preceding Zack Oliver at the hands of Allie Parker, Meleeo’s murder of Naomi Portman and of course Kiefer Waldgrave's murder of the current pledges for Beta Alpha Omega.
Only Friend: Friends for Kyle Griffin at Mildwood University are hard to come by, especially when your framed for murder and you can’t exactly speak in defense for fear of being called “crazy”. Yet Mark Rivera has no issue believing Kyle’s claims and is his sole defender at the school from everyone out to get him.
Recruiters Always Lie: According to Kiefer and Allie Parker anyway with the former accusing Bret of working with an unsanctioned organization policing extra terrestrial activity to which the later neither confirms or denies it and the later believing CECO to be nothing more than glorified war mongers continuing prejudice and hatred towards aliens.
Running Gag: Any chapter that Kyle gets into an extra-terrestrial encounter or drinks will most likely end with him passing out and waking up in the next chapter. Becomes lamp shaded by Kyle himself.
“My mornings are becoming a running joke…”
Samus Is a Girl: That monster that Kyle runs into twice which is the one responsible for Zack and all the other murders before? Yeah, it’s just that seemingly nice therapist that was out to help him in a monster suit.
Scars Are Forever: Kiefer Waldgrave carries some nasty ones on in the chest and back area as remnants from his attempts at getting into past fraternities on campus.
Ship Tease: Kyle/Allie and Kyle/Emma are both prominently teased.
Kiefer loves making these; makes a reference to both Pokémon and MobileSuitGundam as poor stereotypical insults to Emma Sumiko’s Japanese heritage and then Sephiroth and Seto Kaiba when comparing himself to other well regarded villains.
Kyle believe the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity house to be akin to something out of Scooby-Doo.
Sociopathic Soldier: Allie Parker proves herself to be a rather dangerous and insane one at that
Spy School: CECO seems to be this if Bret Cameron’s skills are of any implication.
Subliminal Seduction: Allie Parker's preferred method of "psychological profiling" with her clients, those which include the victims of the Mildwood University serial killings and Kyle Griffin and Mark Rivera.
Torture Always Works: As brutal as it was the brothers of the Beta Alpha Omega fraternity just aren't good enough t break Kyle mentally. Thank god Mark intervened before Jason tested him physically.
Trickster: Kiefer Waldgrave proves to be a rather disturbing one when he fills the water tanks at the Meet The Greeks event with toilet water not because he wanted to lure Kyle into a sense of safe security, but because he wanted to mess with him.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: From what is shared, it seems obvious that when Kiefer first attended college, he was an entirely different kid along the lines of Kyle.
Weak, but Skilled: Kyle Griffin is just a normal college kid, but he no less stands his ground in the face of his naysayers, endures insane amounts of mental and physical torture, and even has the balls to sass the police.
Mark Rivera is a more prominent example; he’s surprisingly well trained in the kukris he carries and not only manages to go toe to toe with Meleeo, but actually manages to defeat and kill him as well.
The Virus: The Divi’Auros, a mystical virus of which are a collection of hive minded organisms all dependant on a matriarch of sorts and of which have healing properties from a bizarre aura of which they radiate and have the ability to imprint DNA. They are part of the blue prints of which Kiefer used to create the Nytera that Bret states is an extinct species of alien and of which never exhibited the properties and traits that the ones on campus are showing.
The Revi’Necplagu are this also despite being referred to as parasites. Basically they strive in corpses and feed off their nutrients to grow and spawn. Apparently when mixed with the Divi’Auros, the offspring they birth takes the form of the dominate strain of DNA the Divi’Auros last possessed.
We Have Reserves: pretty much, Kiefer and his cohorts could continue to churn out more Nytera should others fall as they only needed the Divi’Auros, the Revi’Necplagu and to collect dead bodies to birth more. Discovery of this is the cause of Kyle’s greatest moment of weakness in the story.
Weirdness Magnet: Kyle certainly believes himself to be this sure enough. And of course Mildwood University itself.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Gwen Lusha, the nurse that treats Kyle's wounds twice early in the story. Mark and Kyle visit her before the attack begins to warn her of what’s going to happen and urge her to leave, but she opts to stay and help all that require her help. Her fate is left unknown, but then again considering what happens...
Eric Warren is seen only in Chapter 2 and doesn't make another appearance in the story afterwards, only being mentioned having been "away". His fate is largely left unknown as well.