Clive Cussler and Justin Scott
Putnam, Nov 17 2009, $27.95
In 1907, the Southern Pacific Railroad is constructing the Cascade Canyon Bridge in Oregon, but has deep financial problems. Bankers inform the firm’s president, Osgood Hennessy that if the project is not finished by winter, they will withdraw their funding. Hennessy knows if the backers leave his company goes bankrupt.
The SPR can complete the project easily on time except for the labor unrest that has led to delays due to explosions, fires and track destruction leading to derailing and other dangerous mayhem. Hennessy hires the Van Dorn Detective Agency who sends their best sleuth James Bell. He quickly concludes that the Wrecker is causing the deadly havoc by using hobo recruits to sabotage the SPR; after the mission is done he kills his new allies and sets forth on lining up his next crony. Bell believes he is running out of time to prevent the Wrecker’s next terrorist act, which will be greater than all his previous sabotage combined.
Even with an odd writing style that represents a bygone era when trains ruled distant travel over automobiles and planes, THE WRECKER travels at speeds much faster than Obama’s rail proposal. The story line is filled with action on top of more action. Ironically, the audience knows which direction the plot travels and who the Wrecker is from almost the onset; yet readers will still go along for the ride expecting a High Noon showdown between the saboteur and the detective on THE CHASE to prevent a terrorist act on a scale never seen before.