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Impact, by Douglas Preston

a novel by an author I normally like, but not this time

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I seem to be the only person who didn't like this book. Is it just me?

  • Feb 11, 2010
  • by

my edition

My review of this book should be subtitled "I feel like the Lone Ranger here."

I have bought and read every single book this author has published, and those that he wrote with Lincoln Child. I have to say that this one was not the best in the bunch ... I was so disappointed. I know, I know, I'm once again swimming against the tide of people who really loved this book, but, well, that's just how it is. And before you accuse me of book snobbery, I will say in my defense that I read this kind of stuff all of the time and normally can have a fun time with it, so it's not the subject matter -- I just thought this was definitely not one of the author's best moments.

As the story begins, two things are going on. First, A young woman, Abbey Straw, is out with her friend watching the heavens at night and the sky lights up over Maine's coast. Abbey believes that what just landed was a meteoroid (not meteorite)and after checking e-bay, she realizes that there are people who collect these things and will pay her a hefty chunk of cash. She does some research, realizes the thing did not land in the ocean as previously thought, and off she and Jackie go in search of their fortune. Second, a young scientist at NPF (the National Propulsion Facility) in Pasadena receives a hard drive in the mail from a now-dead associate.  As the action gets going, CIA operative Wyman Ford (a continuing character in Preston's novels) is asked by the President's science advisor to go to Cambodia and locate the source of some radioactive gems that have been coming into the country lately, worried about the possibility that the radioactivity might possibly fall into the hands of terrorists. Preston proceeds to interweave all three stories into one big one, and the action doesn't let up until the end.

Normally, I can sit back and enjoy a bit of far-fetched escape reading, one of my guilty pleasures in reading life, but this one was way too over the top plotwise and the ending was just silly. Although the premise was interesting (I bought this book, so obviously the premise caught my eye) many of the action scenes were just highly implausible, and overall I felt like this story was flat. Normally with this kind of thing, I can at least get into it a little, but not this time.

But then again, everyone else who's written a review seems to really like it, using superlative adjectives to describe it, so maybe it's just me. Try it for yourself.

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February 11, 2010
I usually like the duo when they weave their Pendergast tales. It is possible that the reviews you read on this one are from the usual shills (ex. Harriet Klausner) who always give a positive review (and probably haven't read the book). I haven't been too impressed by most of the solo efforts by these authors. I usually am first in line at my library when a new one comes out but I had read some of the early Amazon reviews on this one and thought I would pass. I'll probably get around to reading sometime. Thanks for your advance warning.
February 11, 2010
Thanks for your comment. So you know about HK too? Jeez! LOL I like the Pendergast series so much that I always pre-order the books.
February 11, 2010
HK appears to read the summary on the book jacket and just rewords it. I could never figure out her motivation other than ego to be the #1 reviewer.
February 11, 2010
Like you, I'm a long-time Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston fan. I've enjoyed their solo works as well as their combined efforts. I'll let you know what I think when I get round to this one. It's on my list.
February 11, 2010
Thanks for the comment! I think I'm just a tough audience. LOL...btw, I love the Pendergast series...do you?
February 11, 2010
I've been a long time fan of Pendergast but the most recent ones have started to dip dangerously into the realm of disappointment. I'll reserve final judgment for one more novel.
More Impact, by Douglas Preston reviews
review by . May 29, 2010
Wyman Ford, a former CIA agent turned freelance investigator, first introduced to Preston's fans in TYRANNOSAUR CANYON and BLASPHEMY, returns to complete a solo undercover mission to locate a secret Cambodian mine hidden deep in the north Vietnamese jungles. The mine is turning out some very unusual gemstones that happen to be highly radioactive. But, as you might expect with any thriller penned by the likes of Douglas Preston, nothing is quite as straightforward as it seems at first glance. It …
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Nancy Oakes ()
Ranked #413
Hi! I'm a very avid reader and book collector and I love to cook. Aside from my family, reading and cooking are my two passions in life. I'm here on Lunch.com because I am looking for people with similar … more
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