by Paul Byers
Available in: Print & eBook
Move over Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, and Arthur C. Clarke. Make room for the new kid on the block. In Arctic Fire, Paul Byers has created a futuristic, technology thriller that can stand proudly in the company of Cussler, Clancy. and Clarke.
I admit that this is not in the top five of my favorite genres but I was swayed to participate by two things: Byers was raised on the Columbia River and it couldn't be too far from where I grew up since his bio speaks of watching the ocean going ships pass by and they don't travel much beyond the City of Portland about 40 miles up river from Longview where I grew up. Add to that the fact that this is in my husband's top two favorite genres and there was no way I could pass it up. That is why I chose a tree book over the ebook which I now prefer for the ability to enlarge fonts so that I could pass it on to him after the review.
Once I started reading I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the writing. Many, maybe even most, of the technology based thrillers tend to focus so intently on the statistics and specifications of the things they describe they can sound like tech manuals for several pages at a time and in spite of all the detail the reader still can't get a clear image of the thing in their head. Byers, though, has mastered the art of the metaphor and simile. He uses them to good effect in setting the mood of a scene scene and establishing a character's, well, character.
I just can't resist giving a few examples:
From the stern, two young sailors spilled into the control room like puppies trying to run across a linoleum floor. p4
Furniture that had once graced the elegant first class lounge now bobbed up and down gently like giant bathtub toys. p.12
The guilt and anguish came charging back like a wild animal, threatening to trample his heart again. p30
Suddenly the seed of a wild thought was sown. He knew he should have stopped and torn it out by the roots, but instead, he watered it with desperation and a plan soon began to flourish. p35
The waiter...flipped off the cover to reveal a petite lobster tail worshiped by a congregation of bacon wrapped scallops. p56
Another thing Byers does well is use multiple point's of view even in a single scene. This can easily devolve into a disorienting 'head hop' that yanks the reader out of the story but when done right it can give the reader the sense of having the point of view of a deity. On a scale of one to ten with ten representing deity I found Arctic Fire at least an eight.
I was going to give a little plot synopsis next but this is already late going up so I think I'll let the publisher blurb suffice.
From the Publishers:
Wealthy entrepreneur Nigel Cain has devised an efficient new way to bring the earth's most precious resource to the masses - clean water - by transporting massive man-made icebergs from the frigid arctic and delivering them literally to the doorsteps of millions.
Gabriel Pike works at a small engineering firm that has been awarded the task of giving the final safety approval to pilot the first gigantic block of ice into New York harbor.
A consummate showman, Cain has built a fabulous 5-Star hotel and casino high atop the iceberg so his celebrity guests and media elite can cover this spectacle from beginning to end. Pike is whisked away from his work-a-day world and dropped into the lap of luxury where he's expected to simply rubber-stamp his inspection.
A brutal winter storms ravages the iceberg and exposes structural inconsistencies and hidden agendas that fill Pike with serious doubts about the true intentions of the project. But a grisly double homicide on the ice puts the inspections on the back burner and sends Pike's life spiraling out of control when he's accused of being the jealous murderer in a lover's triangle.
But Pike soon discovers that there is far more at stake than just his life. He uncovers a conspiracy more heinous than anything he could have imagined - a plot that will level a city, change the political face of America, and whose shockwaves will be felt around the world. Fate rests in his hands - if he can survive long enough to take action...
What they are saying:
"A madman's insatiable quest for power could level a major American city and kill thousands, ushering in a New World Order. Arctic Fire is a thrill-ride that will leave you breathless." - Jeremy Robinson, bestselling author of INSTINCT and THRESHOLD
"Audacious and ambitious, Arctic Fire burns with action, and chills with the possibilities of what the future may hold. A thriller not to be missed!" - Sean Ellis, author of INTO the BLACK
"A new twist on a classic battlefield ploy finds an iceberg controlled by a megalomaniac on a collision course with NYC. A provocative blend of fact and fiction that explores issues surrounding a critical natural resource, fresh water, Arctic Fire is bound to leave readers thirsty for more."-Rick Chesler, author of kiDNApped and WIRED KINGDOM
"We're running low on fresh water. What do we do? Let's move an iceberg! I love the premise!! From the opening pages until the thrilling end, Arctic Fire is a heart-pounding adventure filled with risks, action and suspense. With engaging characters and a compelling plot, you will be hard pressed to put this novel down. Just when you think you know what is going to happen, with who and what, the author delivers another surprising twist that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The character are concealing and manipulative, yet believable. The rush of adrenaline is well-rehearsed with each operation, leaving the reader frantically turning to the next page, desperate to find out what is going to happen next.
This is the first work I have read of Paul Byers, but he reminds me a lot of Clive Cussler with a twist of Brian Freeman - which is an excellent pairing! Arctic Fire is a novel that showcases his effortless feel for narrative as well as his flawless instincts for suspense. I can't wait to see what Byers has in store for us next. I definitely won't want to miss it!"-Mindy Hines, Minding Spot Website
"When I was first asked to review Arctic Fire I laughed out loud. I've always wondered why someone didn't just do this exact same thing to help the countries that go through droughts so I was really looking forward to reading this one and I wasn't disappointed. Arctic Fire is a fast paced read that I finished in just one day. I fell in love with Gabriel Pike from the first chapter and was dying to know just what sinister plot Cain had in mind. I highly recommend this one for anyone who loves suspense thrillers." - Monie, Reading With Monie Website
"An awesome mystery/thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I really liked all the characters in this book and the mystery of a homicide. Wonderfully written! If you like a mystery with lots of thrills, you will love this book."- Sherrie Plummer, Sherrie's Books Website
Later in adult life, he moved to another mysterious and provocative city - Las Vegas, just outside the famous Nellis Air Force base. After work he would sit on his porch and watch the fighters take off and land, igniting his imagination with visions of secret missions and rich speculation about what could possibly be hidden at Area 51.
After moving back to his native Pacific Northwest, Paul worked for the Navy and took every opportunity he could to speak with veterans from WWII to the Gulf War, listening to them swap stories and relate the experiences of a lifetime.
So it is this combination of a passionate love of history, a vivid "what if" imagination, and a philosophy of life that boils down to the belief that - there are few things in life that a bigger hammer won't fix - that led Paul to become a writer of exciting, fact-based action-thrillers. His greatest joy is leaving his readers wondering where the facts end and the fiction begins.
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