Power Down, by Ben Coes
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: September 2010
Synopsis: "A major North American hydroelectric dam is blown up and the largest off-shore oil field in this hemisphere is destroyed in a brutal, coordinated terrorist attack. But there was one factor that the terrorists didn’t take into account when they struck the Capitana platform off the coast of Colombia—slaughtering much of the crew and blowing up the platform—and that was the Capitana crew chief Dewey Andreas. Dewey, former Army Ranger and Delta, survives the attack, rescuing as many of his men as possible. But the battle has just begun.
While the intelligence and law enforcement agencies scramble to untangle these events and find the people responsible, the mysterious figure of Alexander Fortuna—an agent embedded into the highest levels of American society and business—sets into play the second stage of these long-planned attacks. The only fly in the ointment is Dewey Andreas—who is using all his long-dormant skills to fight his way off the platform, then out of Colombia and back to the U.S., following the trail of terrorists and operatives sent to stop him."
Review: Gotta say, I was quite impressed, especially for a first novel.
I liked the plot a lot. It kept me hooked from the beginning, and even the non-action scenes were fun to read. The characters were also fairly well-done, I thought. As with The Athena Project, though, I still feel like I don't quite know the main character, Dewey Andreas, as much as I'd like. Though, unlike The Athena Project, I think that's due to the fact that Andreas wasn't necessarily the main part of the novel. Sure, he'd definitely be considered the main protagonist (or even the main character), but the novel wasn't as much about him as it was about the actual plot. Which was both good and bad. The plot felt more . . . substantial, you could say, as it circled around many different scenes, rather than the normal thriller (or at least, ones that I've read thus far) where it mostly centers around one guy while occasionally switching off to a couple other subplots. At the same time, though, it left me wanting more of Andreas, as I think he's a fascinating character and would love to learn more about/see more of him.
Another thing I liked about this was the unique setting of the beginning, on an offshore oil field as well as a hydroelectric dam. And it just brings a new side of terrorism, as well as allowing the reader to learn more about these things. In some ways, I wish the novel would have stayed at the oil field longer with Andreas, but I definitely wasn't disappointed where the plot went.
As for the writing itself, it was pretty good. I really liked his dialogue (which may be due to having worked in the White House himself, and hearing firsthand how people talk there and such), and his descriptions were pretty good, too. I'm not the hugest fan of parts of his writing style. At a couple points it seemed to slow down the action scenes (whereas the non-action scenes were perfectly fine), but I think that may just be because of my preference. Also, I know how hard it is to write action scenes so that you don't get over descriptive, but at the same time describe it enough so the reader sees what you see, so it could also be that. But still, it wasn't bad writing -- not at all -- just not my favorite at a couple points.
And then of course another great part about the book was that the ending left me wanting more, yet at the same time it wasn't too much of a cliffhanger that you didn't feel like the story was wrapped up sufficiently. It sets him up well for his next novel, and I eagerly await its release.
In the words of Vince Flynn: "Power Down is terrific! ... One of the must-read thrillers of the year!" Definitely another recommended book from me.