As y'all know, I don't do many reviews or author interviews. I figure there's enough of that going around, so I don't need to add to the pile. Occasionally, though, I like to plug a book if it's particulary well-written, the author is a friend of mine, or the author is someone local. In this case, it's all three. Okay, Mark and I aren't exactly close friends, but we did live on the same street for about nine years and never knew there was another person nearby with writing aspirations. Our kids go to the same schools and we often enjoy pointing out the absurtities of small town living on one another's blogs. I now live several miles from Mark, bumping into him at school concerts and such. One thing I love about this guy, he's determined to make it as a full-time writer, despite those who say it can't be done. Well, he seems to be doing it. Not a full-time novelist yet, but judging from his latest release, that day is coming soon.
Which brings me to The Devil's Pitchfork by Mark Terry. If you're a Clancy fan, you'll hate it. I say that because I've always found Clancy's characters to be a bit too perfect for my taste. Hey, I was a sailor and so was my old man. We just didn't always have that perfect sense of mission and duty. Normally, watch standing was a necessesary evil before the next liberty call.
Our hero in Pitchfork, Derek Stillwater, is not perfect. In fact, he's darn near human by outward appearances. He's nervous before a mission and even throws up. Kind of reminds me of my first stage appearance in elementary school (now I'm a ham and make no apologies). Stillwater has talents, though, as is necessary for a proper hero. He's an expert in chemical and biological warfare. See where the plot can take us? And it does.
The book opens with a rogue terrorist group (is that an oxymoron?) stealing a man-made super virus that has a 100% mortality rate and, of course, no known cure. How can it possibly get any worse? It does.
The kiss of death of any suspense novel is when the author plays too nicely with his protag. Terry doesn't have that problem. I felt a little sorry for poor Derek. Jack Bauer should have such a day. Terry does a great job weaving in sub-plots and a conspiracy that runs to the deepest levels of government. As if getting Derek's butt kicked all the way through the novel wasn't bad enough, Terry keeps us on the edge with a secondary character in equally dire straits.
I won't go into the plot any more than that. I will recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good end-of-the-world scenario. Be sure to read it on an airplane, by the way.
When you read this kind of thriller, you know the author's done his job when you come away feeling like this could very well happen. In fact, you wonder why it hasn't happened already. The Devil's Pitchfork is a great ride and a realistic plot.
Devil's Pitchfork is available at Amazon.
Be sure to visit Mark's website and blog as well!