Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Drone Games by Joel Narlock
I have a special review today, a spy thriller entitled Drone Games by Joel Narlock. For more info on the tour check out the Cedar Fort blog.
Professor Al-Aran is a terrorist. His plan is to use drone machines that his colleague in Georgia built, to destroy US air craft and bring the economy to a halt. He is the brains, the man power is a young man named Akil, who is willing to control the drones and kill hundreds of people.
Jack Riley works directly with the President of the United States. He is a resource on terrorist attacks and has many theories about what disaster will happen next. Tom Ross works for the NTSB and joins up with Riley to uncover the terrorist plot and stop it.
First off, 3.5. Why? Because this novel was hard to judge. It has a great story line that is interesting and scary. The author proposes several terrorist scenarios and the whole time I'm thinking, hope nobody takes him up on these ideas. The story is fast paced, moving from one disaster to the next and building in tension until the final take down. And then- watch-out there's a twist and the potential for a second book. The author really knows his stuff and I don't have any doubt that he did significant research with this book.
My problem was that there was no main character. The story hops around to different vignettes. For the first 50 pages I was lost, not knowing who to invest in or where the plot was heading. It reminds me a lot of how World War Z was written. I might have stopped reading if not for the fact that the plot was solid. As the reader delves into the story, finally the characters of Jack Riley and Tom Ross emerge as leads, and finally, there is some cohesion to the story. The terror plot is well planned out by the villains, and is written in such away that is tragic, but not gory.
I really enjoyed the fact that Al-Aran starts off the story with the full-on plan. I knew what was coming and I just had to wait for it to unfold. It also had me feeling like America is really dumb and too busy with political correctness to take necessary steps to stop terrorism. There are so many gaping holes revealed by the author that I was hitting my head about security issues. Of course, this is also why I was hoping nobody actually does what the book outlines. Yikes.
This book is well-written, and despite the character issues, it tells a solid story that will leave the reader thinking.
From the author: Faiz Al-Aran, al-Qaeda’s top strategic planner finalizes last minute details with Akil Doroudian, a lone-wolf jihadist and explosives expert who will carry out the US airline terror attacks.
“The tactics have changed,” Al-Aran said. “Have you set the Milwaukee timetable?”
“Yes, a morning flight to Atlanta.”
“And the aircraft selection?”
“As you ordered,” Akil replied. “Delta. MD-90 series. Two fuselage-mounted engines. Changed how?”
“Suffice it to say that you will not have to maneuver underneath or even near the flaps. You will fly the drone to the front of the aircraft and attach it to the vertical shock strut of the nose landing gear. It will be swallowed inside like poison.”
“You mean the main landing gear?”
“The nose,” Al-Aran calmly repeated, seeing the confusion on Akil’s face.
“But there’s no fuel in the nose,” Akil protested. “We should attack the center tank. If we destroy the front wheels, an aircraft can still land safely.”
“There are many vulnerabilities on an aircraft,” Al-Aran said. “You must trust my plan. Tell me about the explosive.”
“I made twenty-four hundred grams,” Akil answered. “Enough to cut each aircraft in half.”
“That’s exactly what I don’t want,” Al-Aran said firmly. “The first plane’s failure must raise doubts about the cause. We need uncertainty. We need the infidels thinking and discussing. I want you to use a measured amount of explosive so that the entire cockpit is not destroyed. How large is each charge?”
“Approximately 150 grams.”
Al-Aran paused to calculate. He knew that just 250 grams of high-energy PETN and Semtex-H destroyed Pan Am 103, a 747 flying over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988. The detonation velocity was nearly five miles per second. That charge was placed in the forward cargo hold and detonated at 32,000 feet. It literally severed the cockpit from the rest of the plane. The pilots were found still strapped in their seats. Potassium chlorate, however, was one-fourth as powerful.
“Use two charges,” Al-Aran ordered.