Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


W. Michael Hewitt
90 Days
Dr. Essie Openwaters has just ninety days until nuclear annihilation. She must find the stolen plutonium and prevent the mad men from using it. But who is sending the assassins this time? Is it Rettig again? And why did friendly colleagues turn hostile? Someone among the FBI, Secret Service, and National Security Administration agents she is working with is spying on her. Billionaire psychopath Tyrone Rettig must exterminate the lovely, young Essie Openwaters. Her relentless search for the plutonium he stole could lead to his downfall. Whether through death or imprisonment, she must be stopped. But she may be the only person on earth who is his intellectual equal. And that worries him. If his Fourth of July attack kills millions of US citizens, so be it. Success has its price. Sergio García will become the world’s first trillionaire. But he must eliminate Openwaters. Her meddling is interfering, and he has billions invested. One young woman racing against time through a minefield of world class assassins and corrupt politicians. Her life is on the line. So are millions of others. Will Rettig and García fall for her Hail Mary gambit? Or . . .
Hewitt’s third thriller starring Essie Openwaters, a half-Native American research scientist now turned agent of the U.S. Department of Energy, again finds Essie drawing on her expertise in chemical engineering and earth sciences (she holds two Stanford PhDs) in the race to thwart a terrorist threat. This time the trouble is stolen plutonium, enough “to incinerate several cities,” possibly funded by Essie’s billionaire adversary, Ty Rettig, a fugitive from justice who spends his time torturing women who look like Essie. Once she and an alphabet soup’s worth of federal agencies turn up evidence that the errant plutonium will be used in a terrorist attack just three months away, Essie must find a way to save the day despite her rookie status, her inexperience handling complex bureaucratic politics, and—most pressingly—the fact that powerful forces, possibly within the government, are attempting to frame her.

An expert in chemical and nuclear engineering himself, Hewitt excels at depicting the shoe-leather work of discovering a problem at a nuclear processing facility, tracking how material could be stolen and shipped, and gaming out the uses to which it could be put. Scenes of Essie piecing things together and discovering exploitable weak points in the systems that run our world are exciting, illuminating, and persuasive—this material rings true. More fanciful elements, such as assassination attempts or the string-pulling of an organization of the elitest of elites called the Stewards, are more standard thriller stuff, and Essie’s personal life, including her potential romance with a man from the first book in the series, is less convincing, lacking telling detail.

Essie’s a memorable protagonist, though, both a touch naïve about government work but also savvy enough to recognize that she’s being set up—and to take immediate steps to deal with it. Hewitt shows readers the work it takes to be a step ahead, telling the story through compelling action and, at its best, detail that makes it all feel frighteningly real.

Takeaway: A smart, compelling heroine faces stolen plutonium.

Comparable Titles: Fiona Erskine, Stephen Hunter’s The Day Before Midnight.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A