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06 May 2012

Ben Coes: Power Down

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Great action but with many flaws
Half way through this book I thought that I would be giving it 5 stars as the best terrorism thriller I had read for some time. But when it ended I realised that there were so many flaws that showed that the author has still a long way to go to get my top vote. Examples are:

1. The terrorists used a powerful explosive that even the US government was not able to manufacture in quantity and we were not told how and where the terrorists  produced the explosive.
2. (I may be wrong)- It is unlikely that a huge oil platform would have a pumping station on the sea bed with access via code or retina scan.
3. US authorities were concerned about the impact of the loss of a major oil supply on their economy but nothing was said about the impact and cost of the environmental disaster with mega barrels of oil leaking off the coast of South America.
4. The hero (Dewey) was nearly out of money when he got to Cuba but was able to purchase a ticket from Havana to Australia (not via the US) which would cost at least $4,000 because he would have to fly via London or Santiago.
5. At the end Dewey went to work on a remote cattle station near the coast at Cooktown in Queensland, Australia. Cooktown is not cattle country (more a tropical rainforest area), certainly not near the coast.
6. The author described an Australian "cattle ranch" with "cattle dotted the hills as far as you can see" with "ranch hands" working near the ranch. Firstly in Australia it is a cattle station, not a ranch; the stocking rate in northern Queensland is 1 cattle per several square kilometres so you are unlikely to see cattle except in the holding pens; and the workers are called stockmen.
7. "A thousand miles away" (from the Australian cattle ranch) in Lebanon - the distance from Australia to Lebanon is about 8,000 miles.

From this review you will realise that I live in Australia and am sensitive if an author shows ignorance of Australian settings.  I recall with pain the mini series of the Thornbirds set in Queensland that was filmed in California in areas used for cowboy films and had cars driving on the right of the road.

Coes' next book has Dewey still living in Australia - I hope that he did some geographical and cultural research before writing that book.

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