Minotaur Books, $25.99, 295 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-00500-7
My old friend Caywood was opposed to modern technology. He hated microwave ovens and cell phones, but most of all he hated computers. He’d say, only half joking, “Computers are the work of the Devil, and when we’re totally dependent on ‘em . . . that damned old Devil’s gonna shut off all the electricity. You just see how effed-up everything gets then.” I laughed and treated it as a joke when he said that back in 2001. Caywood passed in 2004, a victim of ALS, or Lou Gherig’s disease, but his comment has only gotten more prescient over the years. We would all be screwed without electricity. The world as we know it would grind to an instant halt without the energy we all expect whenever we flip a light switch.
Going Dark, by James W Hall is about such an event: eco-terrorists are plotting to take out the Turkey Point Nuclear Power Station in south Florida. All of Miami and the southern one-third of the state will be in the dark if the members of the Earth Liberation Front, ELF for short, have their way. ELF is ranked by the FBI as the number one domestic terror group in the US, responsible for one hundred million dollars of property damage in the last decade, mostly by arson. In the novel, a new radical ELF cell has gathered on an island in Biscayan Bay. Their plan is to shut down the Turkey Point Power Plant for a few hours in a huge, non-violent publicity stunt, exposing the public to the inherent dangers of nuclear power. Unknown to the altruistic leaders of the cell, two members of their group are planning a far more deadly event . . . one that could leave the area a wasteland. Into this diabolic scenario, a serial protagonist known only by the name Thorn is forced to join the group in order to try and save his naive son Flynn Moss who’s innocently mixed up with a bad crowd. As the clock winds down to a nuclear disaster, Thorn works to thwart the plan to save his son before FBI and Homeland Security close in. Great summertime reading for thriller and doomsday fans of all ages!