Paul Lane’s Top Ten 2014
1) Chain of Events by Fredrik T. Olsson
Author’s first novel. An ancient Sumeranian text outlines a plague that will strike in modern times killing more people than the Black Plague did. Two people are kidnapped by a mysterious group and made to work on translating the text in order to come up with it’s remedy. Fast moving and engrossing novel following the progress towards finding the answers.
2) Twilight’s Last Gleaming by John Michael Greer
A look into a possible near term scenario when the United States runs out of oil, and fracking does not work anymore. A war to conquer an African country that has just discovered a huge oil deposit on it’s shores. The poor shape of American weaponry due to corrupt politicians taking bribes to okay the choice of these arms, the intervention of China that has an alliance with that country and a leadership of the U.S. concerned only with their own gain. The results of the lose of that war leads Americans into a revolution to overthrow the government. Events depicted by Greer are possibilities based on current trends and the thoughts provoked by him will give the reader pause.
3) The Carnage Account by Ben Lieberman
Story told with three principal characters all well delineated. One is a multi millionaire who invests in a business selling death bonds. That is betting on the death of individuals buying a policy to pay an amount on their demise. The millionaire decides to help beneficiaries of high payments by hastening the death of the principal on the policy. This is done for a payment by the beneficiary to him. The second two people are a beautiful woman that does publicity for the millionaire’s pro basketball team who is a love interest for him and an ex navy seal that had a love affair with the woman some years ago. Very well set up plot and events of the novel.
4) Full Measure by T. Jefferson Parker
A stand alone novel by Parker. A young ex marine returns from Afghanistan with the intention of starting a sport fishing guide business. He finds instead that his parent’s Avocado tree ranch has been destroyed by a wild fire and his mother and father are facing ruin. His brother who is intellectually slow gets involved with a criminal element in order to prove that he is worthy of his family’s love. The book is a study of the thoughts and emotions of all of the characters and extremely well done by Parker who generally writes crime novels.
5) The Color of Justice by Ace Collins
Engrossing book by Collins told in two parts. Both parts take place in the Mississippi town of Justice. Part one takes place in the past during a period when Jim Crow was alive in the south. A lawyer born in Justice and returning there with his law degree takes the case of a young black man accused of murder. The attorney realizes that doing so will cause him to become persona non grata with the white element. Collins is superb in bringing the events of both periods together logically.
6) Assassin’s Game by Ward Larson
A retired assassin that had worked for the Mossad, married and living in the U.S. with his wife is forced to reenter service by his ex employers. A scientist in Iran has succeeded in bringing that country to the brink of perfecting a nuclear tipped ballistic missile and attempts to assassinate him have failed. David Slaton, the retired assassin is coerced into returning to action in order to kill the Iranian scientist since it is believed that there is a leak within the Mossad and David is not known. The novel is replete with fast moving action and a guaranteed all nighter.
7) Dead Line by Chris Ewan
Daniel Trent and his fiancee are partners in the unusual business of helping families of kidnapped individuals deal with the kidnappers in order to reach a speedy and successful conclusion. Daniel knows that his fiancee has been in contact with a wealthy family to sell the head a policy to negotiate his release should he be kidnapped. His fiancee has also just told him that she is pregnant when she suddenly disappears. Daniel decides to begin following the millionaire on whom his partner has been calling on to sell him one of their policies. He is a witness when that person is kidnapped right in front of him. Daniel has to enter the picture to negotiate the millionaire’s release while also trying to find his fiancee. Engrossing and different story to fascinate the reader.
8) I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
A fascinating story involving a battle between two men from different sides. One is a master terrorist born in Saudi Arabia and known as the Saracen and the other known as Pilgrim who was adopted by a very wealthy family. Pilgrim has become the top agent of a U.S. agency only known as above the CIA. Both men are destined to meet as the Saracen plots a massive attack against the United States. The threat is a brilliant conception that the reader will be able to identify with and the mental jousting between the two adversaries is equally as brilliant.
9) Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
After a long absence from the literary world due to a major auto accident Greg Iles returns with a vengeance. In the first of an announced trilogy Iles uses the Cage family familiar to readers from other books to tell the story of the old south from the early 70’s until about the Katrina hurricane. Penn Cage, an attorney has to take on the defense of his father accused of murdering a black woman who had left the area years ago in order to leave behind a love affair she was having with the father. She is raped before leaving by a group known as “The Double Eagles” who were members of the KKK. Leaving the south she settles in Chicago and has a baby there. It is not known if the child is by Penn’s father or as a result of the rape. The murder is solved with this book but leaves problems and situations in all probability to be solved in the second and third novels.
10) Influx by Daniel Suarez
Suarez postulates an agency of the U.S. Government known as the Bureau of Technology Control. They are charged with examining and possibly suppressing inventions and discoveries that could cause society to bypass orderly progress. They have gone rogue and kept inventions that could benefit society but deemed by them to be contrary to an orderly progression of events secret.Jon Grady and his team have come up with a device that will reflect gravity probably causing travel by any form using it to become faster, safer and less expensive. The Bureau of Technology Control offers Jon a job working on the device under their supervision, but he refuses and is thrown illegally into a high tech prison maintained by the Bureau. A very different science fiction story and an all night read following Jon’s escape and subsequent events.