Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dead Soul

By James D. Doss

Charlie Moon, ex-tribal cop turned rancher, has to deal with his aunt's psychic visions. Aunt Daisy is a shaman and she has interesting dreams.
Charlie has also been approached by the tribal chairman who wants him to investigate the death of a member of the tribe, Billy Smoke. Smoke was the limo driver for US Senator Patch Davidson, who owns the big ranch next to Moon's. Billy Smoke was in the limo one night in the parking lot of a bar, waiting for the Senator to come out of the bar. He was attacked and killed and the Senator was also attacked and beaten but not killed as the attack was interrupted by a passerby, the tribal chairman. The police investigation and the FBI both decided it was a robbery gone bad.
Investigating a US Senator is a touchy business. Many important people, including the President have visited Davidson. But Charlie turns up evidence that the attack was not a robbery and that it may not be over, either.

This was a good read which I enjoyed a lot. I did find the plot a little convoluted and a tad unbelievable, but it was still a good story, quite engaging.

The Big One

By Harrison Arnston

Ted Kowalczyk gets a cryptic note from an old friend. Included with the note is a scientific report. Ted, an ex-FBI agent who now works as an insurance investigator, reads the report and its shocking conclusion predicting a huge earthquake soon to hit Los Angeles. So he calls up his old friend at work only to be informed that the friend, Tommy Wilson, has been killed in a car crash three days previously. Ted is upset and puzzled and he decides investigate Tommy's death.
Ted takes the report  to an expert, who confirms that the two dead scientists developed a way to accurately predict earthquakes.
As Ted delves deeper, it become clear that the federal government is behind both scientists' deaths. The government is taking the position that the Los Angeles will be impossible to evacuate and so they are just leaving it to its doom. The only steps being taken are the removal of critical government suppliers and troops. These evacuations are being passed off as a routine emergency preparedness drills.
The federal government also has a secret plan to bury small nuclear bombs along a fault zone in the hopes of releasing the geological stresses and prevent the huge earthquake. This plan could work, but it could also precipitate the major earthquake or set off smaller quakes. What will happen is not known.
But the all the secrets will soon be out. Not only is Ted hot on the trail, but an LA newspaper is also on the verge of discovering the truth. Pretty soon government officials will be in the hot seat, trying to explain why they decided not to at least attempt to evacuate the LA area.

This was a pretty good story. I didn't really buy into the idea that the United States government would be so indifferent to fate of millions of its citizens, though. The excuse is that the logistics would be a nightmare and that forewarning the public would cause panic that would lead to riots and the breakdown of law and order. But other than that, I liked it.

Atlantis Gate

By Greg Donegan

This is the fourth book in a five book series. Ex-Green Beret Eric Dane has dream about the 1960s, featuring the poet Robert Frost and President Kennedy. The dream ends with Washington DC destroyed in nuclear war.
Meanwhile, flash back to Leonidas the Spartan battling the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 BC. Leonidas confronts an other-worldly creature and visits an oracle who sends him off with her daughter to act as an advisor while Xerxes is trying to cross the Hellespont. Xerxes also has a questionable woman advisor who has given him a modern day map of the prospective battleground, a tremendous advantage in a time when maps were very inaccurate. Leonidas' advisor is working to protect the world from the Shadow, a malign force that wants to steal all Earth's resources and leave it barren and forsaken. Xerxes' advisor is working for the Shadow, but only because she was forced to do so.
Back in present day times, events transpire that reveal the Shadow is making its big move and Eric Dane may be one of the few people who can get in its way.

This book has a lot of boring details about technical stuff and history and it really delves into that battle of Thermopylae pretty deeply, much more than I wanted to know. So I found myself skipping a lot of it because I just didn't care. It's an interesting premise and some of it was quite intriguing but too much was a lot of technical or scientific info and ancient history. I won't say it was a bad book, just not my cup of tea, so to speak. I also won't say that reading the previous three books might have helped because if book one had the same kind of detailed descriptions, I would have never continued on to book two.