This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite
A murder, a suspect, a nuclear plant with a spent fuel reactor that no one wants to discuss, potassium, a terrorist plot and two stolen truckloads of fertilizer, plus a couple of Mongolian goons, makes for a thrilling race-against-time plot in this novel, The 19th Element. The man to tie up the loose ends and resolve the case is none other than James "Beck" Becker, a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota, just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River nuclear facility.
When the body of a University professor of agronomy turns up on the Mississippi River bank, Beck suspects foul play of a terrorist kind. His instinct tells him there is a connection among the victim and his missing lab assistant, Farris Ahmed, an international cell phone call and a stolen fertilizer truck, but no one believes him. After all, who could take seriously his suspicions of a potassium bomb attack on a nuclear plant facility? The local police, the FBI and the nuclear plant security scoff at his ideas until things start rolling, and it looks as if there is only one way things will end...in disaster. In fact, Beck is not wrong. Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota's Prairie River Power Plant as a means to restore the organization's fading reputation to international prominence. It is indeed a motley crew that Beck finds himself up against: Al Qaeda (who has struggled to get Arab operatives into the nuclear facility and has resorted to using two dimwitted homegrown anarchists) and a Three Mile Island survivor with a pathological vendetta against the nuclear establishment.
The author has established a likeable character in James Becker, one who has appeared in a previous novel and will no doubt feature in future political thrillers. By handling much of the narration, Beck's character imbues the novel with his own style and personality. Beck is laid-back, with a dry sense of humor and an unerring instinct for danger. He trusts his gut and so do his friends, namely Ottawa County's Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, aka "Gunner" and Terry Red Feather, a full-blooded Mdewakanton Dakota American Indian, aka "Bull." This book is an excellent read, with the author managing to steer the untutored reader through a maze of technical details about nuclear power and potassium bombs without losing attention. My one criticism would be that the story slows down in the middle with the author "telling" rather than "showing" but speeds up to a satisfying and thrilling climax. An interesting snippet is the fact that potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K (Neo-Latin kalium) and atomic number 19, hence the title of this book.