Author: James Corkill,

Publisher: Amazon Digital Services,

Dark Energy is the kind of book I love to read—a solid, exciting, sci-fi thriller. It moves forward with enough twists and turns that I wonder what’s left for a sequel.

I’ll only provide an introduction to the story in order to avoid any spoilers. Alex Cave, ex-CIA agent and now a university professor consulting for the National Security Director, experiences at the start of the book one of several incidents where all the oil in a huge tanker disappears, leaving only a bit of sea water. This also occurs with the Alaskan pipeline. The lack of oil at refineries starts producing shortages. Civil order breaks down. It’s up to Alex and friends, now completely isolated from DC, to save the day.

There are several sub-stories of interest. One is how an Idaho militia causes problems for Cave. Another is his struggle to get beyond his wife’s death (his reason for leaving the CIA) and make a commitment to another woman.

I would normally complain that the science isn’t explained enough, considering that this novel takes place in a near but undetermined future. You would think that not much sci-fi-like extrapolation is required. You would be wrong. I like the way the author handled this—it’s tremendous fun—but I can see where other readers might not. To dwell on this more would be a spoiler, so I’ll leave it at that.

Don’t let your enthusiasm for the story overwhelm your appreciation of the rich characterization. I found all the characters interesting, many of them more so than Cave. I especially liked the older female character, the professor from Cave’s university. The author has a strange fetish though—every strong female character either dies or finds true love, a quirky parity one never finds in real life and one that makes this novel sometimes feel like a romance adventure. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but it seems a bit strange.

The story is so interesting that I hate to list any caveats. Beyond the above, I know why the author uses an omniscient point-of-view (POV), but separation of the long chapters into smaller sections would allow multiple POVs corresponding to the main characters, thus making them more accessible to the reader. A few editing errors are also distracting. Finally, and a bit more subjective, is my feeling that careful plotting at the beginning gives way to a chaotic dash for the finish line. All these caveats, though, are minor and didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

Follow Here To Purchase Dead Energy. An Alex Cave adventure. Episode 1.