Little, Brown and Company, $26.00, 385 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-29383-9
We Americans have lived in peace, prosperity and plenty for so long that we pretty much take certain things for granted. There’s exceptions, certainly. And they are unfortunate for a fact. But in the main, we’re guaranteed basic human services, rights and privileges that we not only expect, but demand. Take utilities for example. We demand fresh, clean drinking water—remember FLINT, MICHIGAN?—and clean, efficient sewer and sanitation systems. If however, for some unknown reason these systems should break down for a short while, we can get along temporarily, because we have alternatives close at hand and easy to access . . . although there would be world class griping and whining and complaining for the duration. But one indispensable utility we can’t do without for long periods of time is . . . electricity. Ready Kilowatt to the rescue, ‘cuz modern life is totally dependent on you. Without electricity almost nothing works in a modern household. I was reminded of this last week when a big windstorm hit our area and knocked the power out for several hours. No lights, no TV, no computers, no radio, no heat, no hot water and, in my case—no electric hospital bed and no elevator to get upstairs anyway—even if I did get out of bed and into the wheelchair! So I say again . . . electricity is indispensable to modern life. Without it, there is no modern life. And now one of the best thriller writers to ever come along has written an awesome new novel on the subject.
Rise The Dark, by Michael Koryta is his 12th, and perhaps the most exciting, crime thriller he’s yet written. It begins with Markus Novak, (the private detective who thinks his wife was murdered by a man named Garland Webb in Koryta’s most recent novel, Last Words) unemployed, living in Florida and still trying to come to grips with her death. When Webb is released from prison on a technicality, Markus vows to hunt him down, which draws him to the strange little town in Florida where his wife Lauren, was murdered. But Garland Webb is part of something much larger, and more ambitious, involving a charismatic cult leader named Eli . . . who speaks to . . . and receives answers from the planet Earth herself. Eli and his followers are trying to carry out a scheme to save the world by sending most of the country back to the dark ages. The plan draws Markus to Red Lodge, Montana where a woman named Sabrina Baldwin has been abducted by Garland Webb in a blackmail scheme designed to force her husband Jay—a high voltage lineman—to sabotage the electrical grid, shutting the power off for a quarter of the United States of America. It’s a plot coming straight from today’s news headlines; one that should concern, and frighten, each and every one of us, because it’s so potentially real. Rise The Dark is a figurative call to arms for the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI and all local jurisdictions of law enforcement as well as power generation utilities all over the nation. It’s a wake-up call for all of us, because it’s so damned real. It’s one of the greatest thrillers to come along in several decades. I hope all of you read it. The novel is scary, compelling and an absolute gas!