Lucas Page Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

A series of deadly explosions rock the city of New York and with too many victims and no known motive, the F.B.I. turns once again to Dr. Lucas Page in Robert Pobi’s Under Pressure.

On a beautiful October evening, New York City’s iconic Guggenheim Museum is closed for a tech company’s private gala. Until an explosion rocks the night, instantly killing 702 people, including every single attendee―yet the damage to the building itself was minimal.

An explosion of that precision was no accident and, in response, the FBI mobilizes its entire team — but the sheer number of victims strains their resources. Were all 702 victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was there only one target and 701 unlucky bystanders? That many victim files is a staggering amount of data to sort through and Brett Kehoe, Special Agent in Charge of Manhattan, decides that he can’t do this without more computational power.

Dr. Lucas Page, astrophysicist, university professor, and former FBI agent, is uniquely gifted for the task at hand―he can visualize a crime scene as if he was a bystander and can break down any set of data at a glance. Even though Page wants nothing to do with the FBI, with his city under attack and his family at risk, he steps in to find a killer in a haystack before they strike again.

This is the second book featuring Dr. Lucas Page and while certain events from book one are important to the story, they are brought out by the author and allow the reader to understand those that are germane to the present novel. Dr. Page was working as an agent for the FBI when he became involved in a horrific accident. He lost the sight of one eye and required a prosthetic for his leg. But the accident did not rob him of a very peculiar talent that he had and retains. He can visualize a crime scene as if he were a bystander and break down any set of data at a glance.

Due to his disability, he no longer works full time for the FBI but apparently, he will become available if needed to help with certain crimes. The opening of the novel finds Lucas, his wife, and children enjoying the seashore at a location far out on Long Island. The famed Guggenheim museum becomes the site of a bomb placed which does major damage to the building and kills a large number of people. The museum had been closed to the public while hosting a leading tech company’s private gala hosting a large group celebrating a forthcoming issue of stock. Other explosions also go off, and the FBI launches a full-court investigation. In addition, Lucas Page is called to come in and help in the investigation using his special skills.

The action is structured like any normal detective story, although featuring descriptions of the enormous amount of fatalities coupled with gruesome looks at victims literally blown apart with their bodies in many areas. Lucas is shown using his not inconsiderable talents to solve the case with the help of a female agent. He also calls on students he teaches at the university to help his efforts.

It is probable that Pobi plans additional novels undoubtedly centered on more horrific crimes with Page leading the charge of his own small group of assistants. The novel is entertaining, although possibly more than a little difficult to take with the vivid descriptions of horrible deaths as part and parcel of the action.

8/2020 Paul Lane

UNDER PRESSURE by Robert Pobi. Minotaur Books (August 4, 2020). ISBN: 978-1250293961. 448 pages.



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