©2007 Clive Cussler; (P)2007 Penguin
"Cussler takes a breather from his several ongoing series with this historical thriller set in the western states, circa 1906. The U.S. government hires the renowned Van Dorn Detective Agency and its equally renowned lead agent, Isaac Bell, to capture the bank robber known as the Butcher Bandit....Once San Francisco gets hit by the 1906 earthquake and the principals climb aboard a pair of fire-breathing locomotives, the novel cranks up a head of steam and some high-speed thrills." (Publishers Weekly)
This was a fast paced book that just kept building steam until the climatic final battle. The tone and speed of the book reminded of Cussler's early Dirk Pitt novels. Over all it reminded me why I started reading Cussler's books in the first place.
The story revolves around trains and the story picks up speed as it goes. Building up so that the reader is kept on the edge of his or her seat.
Over all this is a great book with a story that will keep you hooked and leave you wanting to stay in your car to finish it.
I wanted to like this book if, for no other reason, than it's narrated by Scott Brick.. but I found myself speeding up the narration towards the end to "just get it over with". There are some interesting aspects to the story, and most of the characters are wonderfully brought to life, however, the positive parts are overshadowed by a hero who is unrealistically lucky and able to make inexplicable leaps to the correct conclusions. An occasional coincidence or miracle in a story is fine, but when overused, turn a potentially great story into a boring one.
Listened to this book on a road trip and had to continue after I completed my trip. What a story and narration. Thanks
The preamble of a locomotive salvage is attention getting and invites speculation. The story line build logically and smoothly but with twists that refocus expectations.
Another excellent job by Scott Brick.
It is unfair to criticize a book because one doesn't like the author's style, but different people have different tastes. I will readily admit that this could be a good book for someone else, but it was not for me. On the contrary, I had a hard time finishing it. The background of the story is very well researched, as usual by this author, and the details regarding vehicles, customs and locales are excellent. The descriptions of events in San Francisco are fascinating. But then, there is the story. I just can't fathom why such a good backdrop had to be spoiled by this turn of the century super hero surrounded by beautiful ladies fighting a horrible bad guy while accomplishing incredible feats. The performer did a good job but added to the Sunday matinee effect. Sorry Mr. Cussler, I tried. I just wish you would use your historical research genius to produce a more serious work one day. I will buy it.
This is one of Clives best. It was hard not to shut it off. I haven't read or listened to any of his books I didn't like. I look forward to the next.
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