Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Rocking Review of Dead Energy by James M Corkill

Dead Energy. An Alex Cave adventure. Episode 1.

 and 1/2

Genre: Thriller/Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure
Rating: 3 1/2 Guitars
Find it on: Goodreads
 When the Americrude tanker left Valdez Alaska, she was filled with 12,000 tons of heavy crude oil. When she enters the Puget Sound in Washington, the oil mysteriously vanishes without a trace. The Coast Guard cannot find an oil spill, and the corpses of the crew are discovered frozen in the snow on a mountain one hundred miles away.
Soon panic grips the Pacific Northwest when the oil in the Alaska pipeline and west coast refineries vanishes without a trace. The only clue Alex has to work with is a dollar size crystal found in the hold of the empty oil tanker. Can Alex and his friends solve the mystery before it’s too late? Or will the United States succumb to DEAD ENERGY
 The first thing I thought when I started reading Dead Energy was how similar it was to Clive Cussler. Having looked at James M Corkill’s profile online I think that’s probably the style he was aiming for.
Let me say that this is not my kind of book. I’ve never been a spy/thriller type person, but the slightly sci-fi element of this book was what attracted me to it when it showed up on our review list, and I thought I’d give it a go.
Unfortunately it has a few flaws. For a start, as a woman I felt a little put off by some of the female characters. It’s a common problem in these kinds of books, and I doubt a male reader would notice it, but for me it was off-putting. There was a lot of bitchiness, helplessness and ‘oh dear me, I’m just a poor little girl’. The female characters seemed to either be hard, domineering cows, or sweet delicate little flowers. It makes the book feel very old fashioned. I wanted to like Christa – the main female character – but when she was constantly mooning over whether Alex liked her or not, or getting all teary when he rejected her and she’d only known him a week, I wanted to give her a little slap.
The second problem I noticed was kind of explained again when I looked through the author’s profile. This book was originally written in the late 90’s, released in 2001, and then rewritten and re-released in 2013. The problem is that it’s dated, and feels it. When the main character uses a video camera to record an event and later they remove the ‘video cassette’ to play it, it instantly dates the book horribly. They don’t even make video cassettes any more. Perhaps an older reader wouldn’t be so jarred by this, but I just felt it threw me out of the story. When I’m reading an older book it doesn’t bother me so much, but seeing as this was re-released I would have liked the author to have updated the technology. Cell phones and tablets and all of it. Unless he wants this to be set in the 90’s in which case it needs to be specified somewhere I guess.
Now those problems aside I am going to give this book 3.5 guitars. Because for the right audience I think this book could be very well received. I think that anyone a fan of Clive Cussler and his type would thoroughly enjoy this.  I’m just not the target audience.
The writing is good and solid. The plot is well done and there were some great touches in there (the parts showing what happens to a society when panic sets in) that I really enjoyed. It was a fairly original idea, and the main character of Alex Cave was fairly likeable.
All in all a nice solid book that I think will appeal to its target audience very well.

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