Apocalypse by Dean Crawford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
We’re in Miami. Year, unknown. Now? Police called to a double murder. Mother and young daughter? Looks like murderer has just rung the detective. If it is the murderer, he knows what is happening. And what will happen. He tells them to contact an ‘Ethan.’ A bounty hunter, currently in Chicago. He’s sent to the crime scene. Then taken on-board the investigation, which becomes the province of the US secret people – and they know someone can see into the future and, well, it all goes downhill from there.
Well, not quite ‘from there’ there’s more. What if I tell you, that someone who is the son of a scientist involved in the development of the US atom bomb or something, seems now to be a fund-raising conservationist involved helping after natural disasters and has, oh dear god…harnessed a black hole in an undersea lab…I know… Mix in some Bermuda Triangle stuff, some race against time stuff and the non-appearance of James Bond and we’re good to go.
It isn’t quite in Clive Cussler territory. There’s no one called ‘Dirk’ for instance. However, consider, if you will: “I want to find and retrieve it before the damned media start swimming around like hyenas looking for corpses.” Swimming hyenas? Bong! “…a realization thundered through the field of her awareness.” Bong!! “…all you’ve done is stand on his coat tails.” Bong!!! Then, if you’ve read other reviews by me, you’ll know my scepticism about people – normal people – ever talking about their ’soul.’ They don’t. Outside cheap thrillers and Deep Purple live albums. But now we have a guy whose fiancé’s disappearance “…had left in its wake a chilling vacuum in his soul…” Is that something you’d tell a mate? Would you take that to the doctor? Would a friend, acquaintance, or even a passing stranger, say that to you? Bong!!!! Off the scale!!!
I admit missed how they deactivated the black hole in the end, if they did. I can’t quite think why I missed it – either I looked out the window at that point, or he didn’t actually write how they got shot of it amongst all the bangs and water and whathaveyou. You knew it was all gonna end either with him dying in a huge explosion which also destroys all his ‘work,’ or being led away in handcuffs, muttering about it having worked, ‘if not for you meddling kids.’ But, in the final reckoning, there’s no getting away from the fact that the good guys escape after being in the same room as/dragged into a black hole! Not a theory I’d like to’ve run past Carl Sagan.
As Dean can’t, or isn’t a good enough writer to, work the time-travel mechanics in to the story naturally, he has the characters being lectured to, disguised as a conversation, by an expert at Cape Kennedy, or whatever it’s called. You’ve seen it before in Dan Brown books, in other middling thrillers; “Hold on, I don’t understand…” “It’s really very simple…” (then 5 minutes/5 paragraphs uninterrupted talk on how speed of light etc works). “So, let me see if I’ve got this right…” (Regurgitate in slightly different form what just been told, adding a couple of things previously seen on Nat Geo channel). “That’s incredibly astute of you…” (as is said here to establish someone’s ‘astute’ credibilities, which will clearly come in handy later on in book for devising ingenious/unlikely way out of impossible situation) and on with Physics, Module 1 – explanation, question and answer session for 10 pages. Forgetting that at the start of the section and a general theme for the story is “HURRY! WE HAVEN’T GOT MUCH TIME!!!” “Yes, but I’m gonna assume all the readers are incapable of taking in anything other than a straight-forward, easy to digest, plain as the nose on your face, assume our readers are idiots, explanation.” Over several pages. Like when the runaway scientist only has, by his own admission, minutes to live, he embarks on a thirteen-week correspondence course in advanced quantum physics. What he is actually doing, apart from irritating me, is surgically removing any tension. Why don’t writers called ‘Dan’ or ‘Dean’ or their editors, see this?
It is books like this that remind me why I like books simpler (on the surface). Books where problems are set up and solved by the characters figuring it out based on their knowledge and character, rather than money having been thrown at it before or after. I’d rather have an old geezer trying to work out why a chalk mark on a wall is where it is, than a yacht big enough to land a helicopter on and a private army dressed in identical jumpsuits.
In a nutshell, a mixture of Denzel Washington’s Deja Vu, that future crime film with Tom Cruise and the James Bond one with the world media-mogul person, ‘Carver’ was it? Shaken, not stirred, into pure bollocks.
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