I received this book for free from Author for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.Ocean of Fear by Helen Hanson
Publication Date: August 26, 2013
Setting: California, Venezuela
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
“Meet Baxter Cruise. Gifted robotics student. Spammer for hire. His cozy world of lattes and free wi-fi explodes when a hippie professor disappears, and Baxter discovers a lady professor’s warm corpse on campus.With his secretive lifestyle, he hasn’t cultivated any real friends.When a student asks for help with a class assignment, Baxter figures it’ll throttle his funk. But the guy blackmails Baxter into programming narcotics delivery vehicles for a notorious cartel. Working for drug lords rattles the needle on Baxter’s errant moral compass, but it’s better than a bullet in the head.Beautiful FBI agent Claudia Seagal tracks the professor’s brutal assassin, but every angle of her investigation leads to Baxter. He’s hiding something and in far too deep to cooperate with the law. Baxter ignores the cartel’s depravity until he watches an innocent woman die. When he wakes up on a plane, it’s too late for remorse. In bed with dangerous allies, the cartel requires Baxter’s talent until the robots are complete. Then, he and thousands of others face certain death unless Baxter can find a way to escape.”
I was pleasantly surprised by this new-to-me author. Ms. Hanson wrote a clever, thrilling plot with enough action to keep my interest but not so much that it was unbelievable. Each character was well-developed and I could understand what drove them to make their choices and empathize with their situations. Really, that ability to understand the characters is what helps me enjoy the story. I also enjoyed the technical aspects of the story, the cunning programming and use of robots throughout. As a result, I really enjoyed this technothriller and recommend it for readers who enjoy a different kind of thriller.
The story takes place in both California and Venezuela and the author had a talented way of setting each scene. A lyrical kind of storytelling that allowed me to picture the sights and feelings of the place. I was intrigued by the descriptions of Venezuela and picture in my mind, a setting similar to the dichotomies between wealth and poverty I witnessed in India. They might be drug dealers but they drank and ate well and my mouth watered with the descriptions of the food. I love reading about other landscapes and cultures and got a sense of what the shores and water of Venezuela might be like as the heat of the battle ensues. I was fascinated by the Catatumbo lightning storms and even googled it to find some video. If we ever get to Venezuela, you won’t find me on a boat in the middle of Lake Maracaibo, maybe I’ll just enjoy the light show from Aruba!
“The property wore a timeless charm as if someone’s grandmother were inside baking cookies. But the Big Bad Wolf devoured Little Red Riding Hood’s granny in a similar house. A fact to keep foremost in mind. Jim unlocked the front door.”
“Maracaibo lived up to its schizophrenic description in the dossier: A clash of Catholic tradition and Socialist modernity. Fabulous wealth and abject poverty. Bright, opulent, and meandering next door to drab, derelict, and razor-wired. Affecting everyone and everything, the oppressive heat.”
“…with Catatumbo lightning. Jaco told them it was a sign, though he wouldn’t exted himself to specify what kind. Where the Catatumbo River fed Lake Maracaibo, unique atmospheric conditions produced this electric spectacle half the nights per year. So reliable – and visible as far as Aruba – the locals called it the Lighthouse of Maracaibo. Some nights, as many as 40,000 lightening strikes glittered in the sky. Any other night, they might’ve enjoyed the light show.”
Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge – Venezuela