by: P. S. Meronek
Ponytale Press, San Diego, CA 2013
It seems like forever since I’ve written a book review. I’ve done a few in my head of course. It’s not as though I stopped reading. I just stopped being motivated.
Then I learned about Goodreads “First Reads” program. This is an area where authors consent to give away a limited number of books to interested readers. It’s not a lottery. They get to pick and choose among the applicants. I’ve seen thousands of readers sign up for the chance to get one of three available copies.
In return the readers agree to write a review of the book (good, bad, or otherwise.) I got lucky. I signed up for several books that looked like they might be interesting, and a few that seemed like a good chance. When I actually got a book I was thrilled.
Then I opened the package and wondered why I’d signed up for this one. The blurb on the back reads like a detective novel. The first paragraph describes the book as “this clever, nail-biting who-done-it.” I’m an eclectic reader, but that’s not typically my first area of interest.
This novel fits better in a category with All the President’s Men or The Manchurian Candidate. It’s much more Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn than Arthur Conan Doyle or Laura Childs. Which, oddly enough, makes it much more my style.
The novel is written from the first person point of view of Jonathan Strickland. He’s a real estate tycoon, whose father was in construction. He’s a self-made man with more money than he knows what to do with. We learn he’s blown the best relationship he could ever hope to have with his self-centered lifestyle. But he’s got good roots, a solid foundation, and friends who are talented and loyal.
Then a building collapses. His building. The building he was just about to land on for a reception he’d scheduled. His high roller friends were waving hello and then disappeared as the skyscraper disintegrated under them.
For all of Jonathan’s high finance, he’s got a solid ethic. He knows construction from the ground up and he’s safety conscious. Now he has a mission. He needs to find out what happened, how it happened and (are you ready for it?) who-done-it.
It’s a compelling, hair-raising, white knuckle ride. The setting is international and the stakes are very high. How many more building will go down? To compound the issue Homeland security is involved in its own investigation, as are several other government agencies.
Like an episode of Covert Affairs, sometimes the government is willing to lend a hand to the business man who can cut through the red tape. Other times they are very reluctant to share information and resources. It becomes more and more difficult to tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys”.
The ending isn’t solve the worlds problems satisfying. Like the rest of the story it keeps one foot solidly in plausible. But I will say once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down until it was over.