Tag Archives: #Terrorism

Farrugia, Nathan; Exile (Helix II) (2016)

Helix - Episode 2
Photo by Andrew Maccoll, Cover design by Pat Naoum

Nathan. You cretin.  If telepathic strangling had been possible, I might have given it a try all the way from Norway. Cliff-hangers like this should be forbidden.

History repeats itself over and over and over again. Using The Fifth Column as his title for the Sophia series, and inserting Sixth Column as rebels to the usurper group, shows us how we continue to live in repetition. The tool used by any power, be it national or institutional, to get the public to go along with it is two-fold: propaganda (mild brainwashing) and force. In the Fifth Column trilogy, Denton and McLoughlin used both to get a strong hold on US military, US government and US public. Propaganda uses less blood and is often (usually) difficult to see through.

I am 51 years old and have been through all sorts of propaganda periods. Usually, I like to think of myself as a feminist. In Exile, Nathan showed me how far I have left to go.

Damien, Jay and Nasira have gone to Las Vegas to get hold of Aviary (from The Fifth Column). Since Jay has lost his genetic advantages, and is still healing from the killing shots from Helix I, he is get-away driver. Nasira and Damien want to rescue Aviary and have to get through a group of Marines guarding her room. Nasira begins the fight and Damien joins in.

“That would be my cue, Damien thought.

He launched for the marine behind him, grasped the barrel of her gun and twisted it up, tangling her trigger finger. The scope broke her nose, blood spattering the door of the room.”

I was completely surprised when the marine was a woman. So much for my feminism. But that is the power of propaganda. Farrugia just dump women and men into situations without regard for gender and lets them do their thing. And that is incredibly cool and hopeful.

There are three main groups in Exile. The first is the above. Their self-imposed job is to find Aviary and get her to help them again. The above shows one of the complications that arise.

Our second group is Olesya and Ark(adiy) and their masters. Val was taken by Intron Genetics Incorporated operators towards the end of Helix I. She was the third operative taken that week. They are not the only three who have been kidnapped. The loss of Ark’s sister hit both of them hard, and they desperately want her back. But Illarion does not agree with their assessment of Intron’s involvement. So he sends them to Poland due to an apparent shift of Fifth Column operatives to Eastern Europe and the loss of several hunters in the area. Something major seems to be going down.

The third group is Sophia, Czarina and Ieva. Sophia rescued and deprogrammed both of them. At this point she was teaching them to deprogram others. That is Sophia’s main mission (much as it is Olesya’s), to catch and deprogram Fifth Column operatives. However, catching people who fight for their lives is not a simple matter. At least Sophia has access to the location of every live Fifth Column operative.

Finally, there is the matter of Denton and Loughlin’s goal of making impossible-to-catch operatives. These two are extremely driven people who will do absolutely anything to accomplish their goals and retain their positions. That includes operators like Priya, who Sophia stumbles across on one of her jobs to save people from the clutches of the Fifth Column.

Well written as usual. Fun and believable fighting. Plenty of intrigue. Farrugia does techno-thrillers well. Definitely recommended.


Exile: Helix II is available on Amazon US


My review of Helix: Episode I


An ARC of Exile (Helix II) was given to me by the author


Intron:

Introns are present in the initial RNA transcript, known as pre-mRNA. They need to be removed in order for the mRNA to be able to direct the production of proteins. Pre-mRNA, therefore, undergoes a process, known as splicing, to create mature mRNA. (6, 8)

It is vital for the introns to be removed precisely, as any left-over intron nucleotides, or deletion of exon nucleotides, may result in a faulty protein being produced. This is because the amino acids that make up proteins are joined together based on codons, which consist of three nucleotides. An imprecise intron removal thus may result in a frameshift, which means that the genetic code would be read incorrectly. (3)

This can be explained by using the following phrase as a metaphor for an exon: “BOB THE BIG TAN CAT”. If the intron before this exon was imprecisely removed, so that the “B” was no longer present, then the sequence would become unreadable: “OBT HEB IGT ANC AT…”

Vincent, Steve P.: State of Emergency (Jack Emery II) (2015)

State of Emergency, Momentum, 2015
Cover design: Xou Creative

Once again we enter the world of master-sleuth and journalist Jack Emery. Believe it or not, there are people out there who are against world peace. In and of itself that is not a problem. However, when that person has a powerful organization backing them up, the world is in danger. A prime real-life example is Dick Cheney and his connections with the weapons’ industry. Power-hunger seeps into the pores of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Administrator, Richard Hall, and his fanaticism drives USA towards another chasm.

The world needs people like Jack Emery, who, with the right motivation and co-conspirators, does not give up until a truth is found. And, that my friend, is something State of Emergency gives him.

The story starts off with Iranian computer scientist student, Dhaneshgahi, being kidnapped off MIT grounds. Already, we know that the target is in a heap of trouble, that the crime involves cracking and that the target is difficult.

The entire population of the US definitely qualifies as a difficult target, with the main perpetrator acting as “a friend in need”. Through his naughtiness, Richard Hall will, finally, experience the kind of USA he has longed to see. One that is much more controlled. A dusin apparent terrorist attacks have been pulled off. The National Security Council has no idea who is behind the attacks. Nor do they know how to defend against them. How do you defend against an enemy who has no name or known agenda? Richard Hall, through FEMA, suggests to the President that FEMA could use State Guards to protect vulnerable targets and ramp up general FEMA support. She tells him to make it happen. Finally, Hall has his foot inside the tower of power.

Richard Hall does well as a serial killer. He is driven by an inner mania to get his philosophy into life, cost what it may. According to him, the ends do justify the means. Cue crazy person laugh. Except in Richard Hall’s mind he is the only logical person around. And that may be correct. Where logic leads you depends on your starting point. His starting point is that control and punishment are the only tools through which the United States might return to greatness.

The system controlling the capacity and flow at the Hoover Dam is broken into, and “unprecedented flooding” follows. Jack Emery becomes curious. Curiosity in a journalist can be a dangerous thing if that journalist has freedom and connections to dig below surface facts. Saving the US in Foundation made Jack connections that got him into unusual places. Like the Hoover Dam after the break-in. The terrorists had not been able to cut the hard-wired security camera feeds. Jack and his buddy Joseph got to see the entire break-in and wondered about the team’s easy entry. From small mistakes the powerful may fall. And fall they do, all in usual Jack Emery style.

Break-ins, break-outs, invasions, battles, shortages, concentration camps, death on both sides, rebels, underground radios, explosions, moments of high tension and romantic entanglements all come together to form a fun and addictive State of Emergency. Definitely recommended.

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Reviews:

Vincent, Steve P.: The Foundation (Jack Emery I) (2015)

The Foundation by Steve P Vincent

When he was finished, he ejected the USB and all signs of the message board vanished from the screen. Chen left the internet café as anonymously as he’d entered, satisfied that everything was in place for the attack. He had no expectation that he’d bring down the Chinese Government, though he did believe that a heavy enough blow could cause a fracture in the monolith. He felt a small degree of guilt for the innocents who’d die, but their lives were the price of vengeance.

One of Norway’s better known war journalists is Åsne Seierstad. Her work has taken her around the world to high-adrenaline and gruesome situations filled with death and dying (and probably long periods of boredom). Jack Emery is one of the huge clan of war journalists and has been to Afghanistan. Right now he has been back a while and wants a new assignment. His boss does not trust him with important work due to a drinking problem Jack developed upon his return. During the course of the story what seemed important enough to send him chasing bottles ends up filling him with regret and self-derision. Not derision for drinking himself to bits but derision for insisting on interpreting the world one way.

Death seems to focus our minds on what each of us considers vital to existence. In Jack’s case that turned him back to the hunt for truth. In a manner of speaking, Jack is our detective and the story is a large-scale whodunit. I suppose all thrillers are that at their base. Mr. Vincent has skillfully added corporations and governments to the whodunit stew and come up with an extremely entertaining story about the shenanigans of countries and corporations.

In my experience, all thrillers that make their characters believable also create a story that becomes probable. Chen provides us with the spark that sets off tension between the United States and China. He is by no means alone in setting the scene for what the countries call a terrorist act. What countries get away with doing (“aggressive military posturing”) independent people/corporations must be punished for. Politics seldom make sense. When it comes to large-scale murder they make even less sense.

As Jack and his fellow journalists poke their heads further and further into the wasp’s nest, their lives become less secure. We all know that is because the perpetrators fear discovery. In this case there are several instigators behind the scenes and none of them want to be found out.

There is plenty of violence (somewhat explicit), loads of action and some sex (not explicit).

Before reading The Foundation (TF), I read Fireplay (see quote). Fireplay is written after TF, but its plot happens before the plot of TF. TF is written in Australian English. Any language oddities you find therein will probably be due to that.

Definitely recommended.


The Foundation was recommended to me by Nathan Farrugia (The Fifth Column)


Reviews:


The Foundation may be found on Goodreads