Tuesday, August 02, 2011

[Book Review] IMPACT by Douglas Preston


Darletha reviews IMPACT by Douglas Preston (Forge, 2010)

I read this book based on my personal “read a random book from the shelves” challenge. The cover art intrigued me, since I’m always game for a potential disaster type of novel. I also chose this book because the title reminded me of the movie, Deep Impact, which has a similar theme of Earth’s possible destruction by really big rocks from space.

The story begins after a meteor crashes off the coast of Maine. Another crater is discovered on the opposite side of the world in Cambodia. A scientist who was researching the ominous presence of gamma rays in the solar system has been murdered; the hard disk containing his classified research information is missing.

The plot unfolds from the alternating perspectives of a waitress, a scientist, and a government agent. Abbey, a Princeton dropout-turned waitress, witnessed the meteor event as it flew across the night sky in Maine. She uses her father’s lobster boat to hunt for the crater site, hoping to profit from any findings. Mark Corso has been promoted to the same position once held by the murdered scientist at the National Propulsion Facility. By digging further into the classified gamma ray research, Corso’s job and his life are on the line. Wymon Ford is a former CIA-agent sent on a mission into Cambodia to find the source of rare, but radioactive, gemstones.

The suspenseful plot takes off after a mysterious apparatus is discovered on Mars. The apparatus wasn't placed on Mars by humans, so how did it get there?

This was a solid, well-paced story with a good balance of science and intrigue.

Darletha Matthews, South Branch

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