"The Athena Project" by Brad Thor
Atria, 336 pp., $26.99
Reviewed by David Marshall James
Brad Thor's latest thriller may be Scot Harvath-less (by-and-large, as he does make some brief appearances herein), but it still delivers on every front, earning every genre-applicable adjective from "action-packed" to "zoom-paced."
The reader has come to expect Thor to supply a glimpse into the cloak-and-dagger world of U.S. government special ops, their zigzags to sometimes unpronounceable (how's about "Ljubljana"?) locales around the globe, and their use of gadgetry that would be found lying about the (Desilu-era) USS Enterprise and that has since come to pass.
As if those enticements weren't sufficient, the author structures these proceedings around a team of four ultra-physically-fit, tech savvy, gun-wielding, kick-down-the-door young women who also happen to look great in miniskirts and four-inch heels, not to mention black lacy undergarments.
Indeed, their charm and allure are but part-and-parcel of their arsenal, disarming mobsters and terrorists both literally and figuratively.
Thor sets them in the midst of espionage surrounding the discovery and revival of some seriously spooky machinery once used by the Nazis (as the plot would have it) and recently recovered from a flooded, boobytrapped underground facility in the Czech Republic.
The device recalls the legendary "Philadelphia Experiment," supposed to have been conducted by the U.S. government during the height of World War II: A battleship and its crew were allegedly "teleported" down the Eastern Seabord from Philadelphia to Norfolk and back, with disastrous results.
Those were reminiscent of the original "The Fly," with its molecular mix-up between living creatures.
As one of Thor's characters remarks, it's "beam me up, Scottie" technology, and the "bad guys" (to quote the former governor of Alaska) in this story mean to employ the old/new implement to plop bombs at Denver International Airport.
Look forward to a fascinating history of that wildly overbudget complex, fraught with delights for conspiracy theorists.
Of course, the "bad guys" (an organization known as "Amalgam") ultimately aim to teleport entire armies, once the kinks are ironed out, and the subjects don't wind up imbedded in rocks, primal screaming to death.
We do hope to read more of the white-knuckle adventures of the Athena team. Harvath's fun, but, as one of the four ladies observes, he does have a lot of issues.
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