Author – Paul E Hardisty
Published – Dec 14 (ebook) Mar 15 (print)
Genre – Thriller
This is one of the first books to come out of new publisher Orenda Books and if all the books are as good as this they will be a force to be reckoned with.
The book is best described as an “eco-thriller” and with a background working as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist Hardisty is well-qualified to write about the subject. However, if this makes you think that the book will be full of lots of technical detail you needn’t worry – Hardisty has a deft hand when it comes to balancing what the reader needs to understand and what they don’t.
Claymore Straker (isn’t that a name to conjure with!) is an oil company engineer based in Yemen. His job is to put together the environmental reports that will back up the company’s plans to do – well to do whatever it is they want. The book opens to a cracking start as Straker and his Yemeni driver are hijacked by terrorists and the incident gives the reader a real feel for Straker’s character. He’s torn between being the tough guy and beating the terrorists or complying with them and ensuring the safety of his driver. This balance between action and conscience is at the heart of the book.
The terrorists believe that the oil company is responsible for an illness affecting local villagers and they challenge Straker to find out the truth. He half-heartedly begins to comply with their demands and soon realises that there may be something to the allegations. In fact he’s been burying his head in the sand (if you excuse the pun) for some time and the situation gives him the impetus to make a difference. Early on in the story Straker meets a mysterious journalist – a beautiful young woman with whom he strikes up an alliance. The book introduces the reader to Yemen – its landscape, its people and its politics and all have a part to play in the story. The country is on the verge of a civil war and there are a lot of trigger happy people about – Straker’s situation isn’t helped by getting on the wrong side of one of the most violent of them.
In a previous life Straker was a soldier in the South African army, with references to the Angolan conflict his backstory holds the key to his scruples and something for which he feels the need to make amends. The question is how far is he willing to go and can he ever atone for his earlier actions?
A great page-turner with all the elements that make a cracking thriller. There’s plenty of action, twists and turns, skulduggery and an evil oil company – what more could you want?! This is one of those books that makes you want to turn to Google and find out how much is fact and how much fiction. The underhand behaviour of the oil company is particularly topical as environmental concerns are frequently in the news at the moment with the public’s concerns over fracking. If I have a grumble it’s that the ending doesn’t tie up all the loose ends, but this is the first in a series and I’m already looking forward to The Evolution of Fear – even if I do have to wait until 2016!
You can see another review at Live Many Lives