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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 09/2013
  • 978-0-615-87002-1 B00F2R8CKG
  • 390 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2015
  • 978-0-692-41890-1
  • 390 pages
  • $16.95
John Darrin
Author
The Rockets' Red Glare
John Darrin, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Al Qaeda in North America steals a huge supply of radioactive cesium and plans a deadly July 4th fireworks display over 12 American cities. But they can’t do it alone. With America’s national security forces focused on Islamic terrorists, AQNA forges an unlikely alliance – the White Aryan Resistance – to carry out the cataclysmic scheme in total secrecy. Cal Bellotta, a terror expert, and Ray Nassiri, an American Muslim and government computer genius, form a partnership that frustrates and inspires the national security apparatus as they peel away the layers of deception. The chase is on and the terrorists lash out, testing America’s resolve. With three bombs still loose and only hours until they turn Washington into a ghost town, WAR is holed up in its fortified Montana compound and al Qaeda is hiding out in Venezuela. And Cal and Ray are in Washington, trying desperately to make sure Independence Day doesn’t become Doomsday.
Reviews
Darrin, a career radiation-safety expert, and Gresalfi, an adviser to the White House on terrorism, deliver a gripping thriller reminiscent of Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s The Fifth Horseman. Islamic extremists team with violent Christian fundamentalists to plan a series of acts of nuclear terror throughout the U.S. A sophisticated scheme nets them a supply of cesium 137 from a private Tennessee facility, but the plot comes to the attention of the authorities when one of the vehicles transporting the lethal isotope is stopped by the police. Cal Bellotta, a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security on radiological WMD threats, labors frantically to thwart the terrorists, but the authors, plausibly, don’t turn him or his colleagues into miracle workers. The story line is one that genre readers will find familiar, but Darrin and Gresalfi give it new life and urgency through a combination of taut prose, punchy chapters, and convincing detail. (BookLife)
FilmsAndBooks.com - Derek Armstrong, Reviewer

Too real and too scary might best describe The Rockets' Red Glare. This is not an entertainment-only light thriller, but a gritty, real word portrayal of how the unspeakable could be accomplished by terrorists in the homeland. Too real and too scary, because it s a virtual how-to manual for terrorists. But also too real and too scary because it s simply a great read that never once sips out of suspended disbelief.

The Rockets' Red Glare reads like a reconstruction-of-events, like a fact-based retelling of a non-fiction event. Except, it's fiction. Thank goodness. If you recounted in depth, all the events that led up to 9/11, it might read like this. True, The Rockets' Red Glare is fiction, but the authors are careful to characterize it as forecast fiction because it could happen.

John Darrin worked in the nuclear industry for 40 years, and Dr. Gresalfi helped provide operational and planning support to agencies of the Department of Homeland Security. Which is to say, they bring a level of detail and scenario construction that feels more forensic than hypothetical. When you read The Rockets' Red Glare you feel like you are witnessing real events. This thriller never veers into silly James Bond fantasy or over-the-top summer-movie blockbuster nonsense. The thrills derive from layers of very plausible events, laid out chronologically, virtually hour by hour as the incidents unfold. The fear of the fictional citizens is palpable. I found myself angry, afraid and excited at the same time. Like a helpless bystander watching horrific events on the news. The terrorists are not larger-than-life monsters either, which I found refreshing. There are no one-dimensional suicide bomber stereotypes.

There are also no larger-than-life heroes here. The main protagonist is Dr. Cal Bellotta, a scientist consultant who works with Homeland Security. He becomes central to the story because of his expertise, rather than his heroism. This is not to say there are no inspiring moments for the characters, but the very tone of The Rockets' Red Glare is almost one of austere documentary. This is an important choice in a book that describes such terror.

I would change nothing in this thrill-ride, but I do caution readers to have their notepads ready for a cast of characters. The very epic scope of these hypothetical, nearly-real events, makes this a necessary evil. This novel is a near-perfect forecast fiction, blending non-stop breathless action, thought-provoking mental acrobatics, and just-right pace. In the hands of more lavish authors, this book might not have worked, simply due to credibility issues or to the sensitivities of terrorism on the homeland. This book could not have been written by just any bestselling thriller author. Absolute depth of understanding of how all of this might work is critical to the scenarios presented and the response of the authorities to the emergency. The spare prose style is ideal for this type of book. Since the incidents in The Rockets' Red Glare are already riveting, the prose needs to remain tight and focused to retain credibility. Darrin and Gresalfi have succeeded admirably in benchmarking excellence in forecast terrorist fiction. 

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 09/2013
  • 978-0-615-87002-1 B00F2R8CKG
  • 390 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 06/2015
  • 978-0-692-41890-1
  • 390 pages
  • $16.95

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