Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Protocol Zero by James Abel

Published in 2015, I found this in a free bin at the local library last year.  Read it with fascination in March-April.  Never have read anything else by this author.  This paperback of uncorrected proof for limited distribution is 356 pages.  It is a different intrigue, horrifying at times with the main character,  USMarine doctor and bioterrorism expert, Colonel Joe Rush.  Based in Arctic Alaska, Barrow and the northern slope environmental concerns, natives in conflict with  the  visiting scientists and an apocalyptic plague kept me turning the pages.  Opening sentences:  "The police chief's emergency call had to bounce off three satellites to reach me.  The first --  over Russia-- was snapping photos of their paratroops by the North Pole, on maneuvers.  The second--over Arctic Canada-- watched a US attack submarine testing weapons, surfacing in ice.  The last one was directly overhead above northern Alaska.  North Slope Police Chief Merlin Toovik's voice came in loud and clear from nine miles away.  " I need help, Colonel"  I stood, breath frosting at the end of North america on a twenty foot high grass bluff overlooking the Arctic Ocean, a Mossberg shotgun over my back, in case polar bears showed up.  Fire in the air, they usually turn away."   4**** only because  some of the more technical terms and bloodiness were  frustrating to me.  But I never guessed what was really going on and  felt this would be an outstanding movie.  

By Elizabeth George A Great Deliverance

Another paperback, first published in 1988, but  one I did not read until March 2017, 413 pages large print.  Another one I hated to put down. With the same characters of  Scotland Yard Inspector Thomas Lynley and Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, this mystery winds through the Keldale countryside, the old Keldale Abbey where in the past Yorkshire villagers had hidden to escape Cromwell's ravages.  There is a legend about the crying baby that will be repeated by locals.  This mystery is a bit different and  touches on years of child abuse.  It is sickening at times, but  nonetheless a great read. 5*****

The author's website contains a far superior  synopsis to the book than I could manage to write.  "A baby's cry echoes on lonely nights through alley in Yorkshire. Three hundred 

By Elizabeth George Deception on His Mind

An old one published in 1997,  1998 but just read in January this
 paperback, 716 pages.  First sentences:  "To Ian Armstrong, life had begun its current downward slide the moment he'd been made redundant.  He'd known when he'd been offered the job that it was only a temporary appointment.  "
First Page

Another great read by the author.  In this Sgt. Barbara Havers is on leave, but manages to engage herself in the trials of her Pakistani neighbor and his young daughter,  using the guise of vacation.  Landing smack into the  Pakistani  issues in a developing resort community, Sgt. Havers  delves into the  concerns using her friendship with Inspector  Emily Barlow to work on the investigation of a murder. The characters range from activist Pakistani's,  local long time residents of the town, craftsmen and jewelry makers, and more.  I read this in January.  5 *****

The following is copied from the author's website:

Balford-le-Nez is dying seatown on the coast of Essex. But when a member of the town's small but growing Asian community is found dead near its beach, the sleepy town ignites with unrest. Intrigued by the involvement of her London neighbor-Taymullah Azhar-in what appears to be a potential racial conflagration, Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers takes off for the town of Balford-le-Nez and discovers at the head of the investigation Detective Chief Inspector Emily Barlow, an officer whom Havers has long known.

During the course of the investigation, Havers discovers the social differences between the English and Pakistani communities in England, and she experiences first hand the racial divide that separates people whose cultures are like polar extremes.