Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Science Fiction/Thriller
Approximate word count: 100-105,000 words
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“Milt Mays is a graduate of The Naval Academy, a retired U.S. Navy Captain, and a Cheyenne Veterans hospital physician, having learned the value and seen the results of war.”
“Dan’s War is about the end of world oil ... in two weeks. Abdullah El-Hamain, a high-roller OPEC member, hates Big Oil for polluting earth and killing his wife. His solution: sink or swim—end global warming by destroying the entire world’s oil supply in two weeks, using spiders and nanobacteria. Drawn into his apocalyptic scheme is Dan Trotter, a CIA computer savant without equal, but with Asperger’s-like syndrome that makes him a social goof. If Dan can only become a field agent in a real war he will become a hero like his father, breaking out of his geek job, and gain the respect from his wayward son and roaming wife.”
A reader will often perceive a review like this as lukewarm. Often that’s right. However, I see this one as hot and cold. There was much about Dan’s War I liked, and liked a lot. But this was offset with enough that I didn’t. The premise and the overall story both worked for me. The characters, especially the protagonist Dan, were distinctive and non-stereotypical. All the elements of a good thriller are here.
The problems I found were the kinds of things that tend to throw me out of a story. Some of these were editing and proofing issues, with this book just exceeding my somewhat intolerant threshold for such issues. Others were lines that had me saying, “Huh, how does that work?” For example, “odors of dead crawfish, beer, and swamp mud floated in.” Really? You’re driving through a Louisiana bayou, crack the window of the vehicle, and the smell of beer from the outside is that strong? Or talking about the miles per gallon a prototype of an electric car got? When did we start measuring electricity in gallons? I’ll leave it to you to figure out what it might mean to say that a boat “maintained a steady, though rumpled ten knots.” I think I know what it was trying to say, but it seemed like a strange way to say it. Despite this, thriller fans who don’t mind occasionally tripping over a word should find Dan’s War a worthwhile read.
A large number of typos and proofing misses. While these covered the full spectrum (wrong word, missing words, etc) the most common was choosing incorrectly between your and you’re.
Rating: *** Three stars