This book kept me up until 1 AM one night, keeping my mind active when the rest of my body was edging towards exhaustion. Most of the recent attempted acts of terrorism in the United States have been failures and extremely simple in structure, which eliminates them as interesting material for thrillers based on terrorism. In this book, Betcher has concocted a complicated plot where success on the part of the terrorists would be catastrophic for the United States. What makes that work is that the vulnerabilities that the terrorists are attempting to exploit are plausible. I tend to be a deep thinker when I read thrillers in the sense that my interest level drops if I consider the machinations of the plot to be too unrealistic. That never happened here, the attempt to sabotage the Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant in Minnesota is one that on the surface seems to be at least possible. At least to the extent that only a minimum of suspension of disbelief is needed. James "Beck" Becker and his creator are rising stars in the terrorist thriller genre; Beck is a deep thinker capable of connecting disparate and nebulous dots. He is also a man of action when the situation requires it.
The 19th Element is an heart-pounding, pure adrenaline rush. I actually felt exhausted after reading it. This is probably one of the highest compliments that I could ever give. When I get so wrapped up in a book that I feel like I'm the main character, I know that I've read a winner! I loved this book!
It was just luck that I happened to read The Missing Element first, because it quickly pulled me in as a fan of this series. One of the reasons why I wanted to read the book is that he advertised it as somewhat like the writing of Robert B. Parker, who was one of my favorite authors And I was pleased to see similar dialogue and a wonderful threesome fighting crime as was displayed in the Spenser series...John L. Betcher had my attention! But it was The … more
Charlie Ashbacher is a compulsive reader and writer about many subjects. His prime areas of expertise are in mathematics and computers where he has taught every course in the mathematics and computer … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.
Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota's Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant as a means to return the down-trodden terrorist organization to international prominence. In addition to their own devoted forces, the terrorists enlist some homegrown anarchists, and a Three Mile Island survivor with a pathological vendetta against the nuclear establishment, to assist in the assault. James "Beck" Becker is a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota -- just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River nuclear facility. Possessing wisdom born of experience, Beck suspects the terrorists' intentions as soon as the body of a university professor turns up on the Mississippi shore -- the clear victim of foul play. He recognizes connections between seemingly unrelated incidents -- the murdered agronomy professor, a missing lab assistant, an international cell call, a stolen fertilizer truck, an explosion in the street in front of City Hall -- but can't piece it together in enough detail to convince government authorities that a larger threat exists. Only his American Indian friend, "Bull," will help Beck defuse the threat. So it's Beck and Bull versus international terror. May the better men win.