Impact - Wyman Ford, Bk 3 Author:Douglas Preston Wyman Ford is tapped for a secret expedition to Cambodia... to locate the source of strangely beautiful gemstones that do not appear to be of this world. — A brilliant meteor lights up the Maine coast... and two young women borrow a boat and set out for a distant island to find the impact crater. — A scientist at the National Propulsion Facility d... more »iscovers an inexplicable source of gamma rays in the outer Solar System. He is found decapitated, the data missing.
High resolution NASA images reveal an unnatural feature hidden in the depths of a crater on Mars... and it appears to have been activated.
My review of this book should be subtitled "I feel like the Lone Ranger here."
I have bought and read every single book this author has published, and those that he wrote with Lincoln Child. I have to say that this one was not the best in the bunch ... I was so disappointed. I know, I know, I'm once again swimming against the tide of people who really loved this book, but, well, that's just how it is. And before you accuse me of book snobbery, I will say in my defense that I read this kind of stuff all of the time and normally can have a fun time with it, so it's not the subject matter -- I just thought this was definitely not one of the author's best moments.
As the story begins, two things are going on. First, A young woman, Abbey Straw, is out with her friend watching the heavens at night and the sky lights up over Maine's coast. Abbey believes that what just landed was a meteoroid (not meteorite)and after checking e-bay, she realizes that there are people who collect these things and will pay her a hefty chunk of cash. She does some research, realizes the thing did not land in the ocean as previously thought, and off she and Jackie go in search of their fortune. Second, a young scientist at NPF (the National Propulsion Facility) in Pasadena receives a hard drive in the mail from a now-dead associate. As the action gets going, CIA operative Wyman Ford (a continuing character in Preston's novels) is asked by the President's science advisor to go to Cambodia and locate the source of some radioactive gems that have been coming into the country lately, worried about the possibility that the radioactivity might possibly fall into the hands of terrorists. Preston proceeds to interweave all three stories into one big one, and the action doesn't let up until the end.
Normally, I can sit back and enjoy a bit of far-fetched escape reading, one of my guilty pleasures in reading life, but this one was way too over the top plotwise and the ending was just silly. Although the premise was interesting (I bought this book, so obviously the premise caught my eye) many of the action scenes were just highly implausible, and overall I felt like this story was flat. Normally with this kind of thing, I can at least get into it a little, but not this time.
But then again, everyone else who's written a review seems to really like it, using superlative adjectives to describe it, so maybe it's just me. Try it for yourself.
Impact is the 3rd book in Douglas Preston's Wyman Ford series. Preston has managed to find a way to balance several genres with this series mostly thriller, but with a touch of science fiction and a bit of mystery and it works.
In Impact, Ford is sent by the President's science advisor to investigate a meteor strike in Cambodia. Meanwhile, a college drop-out and her friend are looking for a meteorite that they believe struck an island off the coast of Maine. Is there a connection? Of course. And, in California, scientists appear to uncovered something unusual with the Mars Rover project, but management does not want to hear about it why?
I thought that Impact has been the best book in the series to date certainly the one that managed to grab me by the throat and hang on tightest and longest. However, I did get somewhat annoyed at the author's habit of tossing out subplots that appear to dead-end with a tenuous (at best) connection to the main plot. I found it more palatable when I looked at this novel as a collection of interlocking short stories with shared characters, all centered around a main theme which resolves itself in the last story.
Oh, and the epilog provides a nice wrap-up, and a moral / message that hides between the lines.
AND ... Scott Sowers' interpretation on the audiobook version of this novel was superb! His voice was calm and collected when appropriate, rapid and excited when some sort of action was occurring, and in general, an excellent example of what an audiobook narrator should provide.
RATING: After a little internal debate, 5 stars. This one is going to stick with me for awhile.
The reader did a great job adding emotion and accent. The plot was great especially the sci-fi aspect.
I have read a review about the story bouncing around or having to many characters. Although there was about 3-4 groups of characters the author bounced between I felt it only made the book better. I found myself waiting to get back to one group or another. Also as the story progresses he brings them together well.
I have come to rely on Douglas Preston for thrillers that pique my imagination, and he's done it again with Impact. Preston has teamed Ford with a beguiling amateur who's incredibly short on experience and extremely gifted with intuition and flying by the seat of her pants. It's just the right mix as the two work to find out what's happening on Earth and just how Mars is involved. The only small blight on an otherwise bright reading experience for me was the ending. Preston opted for an optimistic ending, but the cynic in me didn't feel that it would hold up to any sort of scrutiny. However, I do love reading his thrillers!