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In a thriller, is suspense its own reward?

A review of Impact by Douglas Preston

@@@@ (4 out of 5)

Start out on the coast of Maine with a brilliant 20-year-old Princeton dropout and her less-brilliant friend puzzling over a meteor shower, cut to CalTech where office politics and other shenanigans are in full flower at the National Propulsion Facility, add one former CIA agent dispatched to the backwoods of Cambodia by the President’s National Science Advisor, mix in a tweedy contract killer, and pretty soon you’re caught up in a pulse-pounding tale that will drag you irresistibly toward an astounding conclusion. And even there you’ll find an ironic twist that will bring a smile to your face.

It’s all totally preposterous, of course. The premise on which Impact is based is a lame refugee from science fiction. The ex-CIA guy — a recurring character in some of Preston’s novels — is a little much to be believed. And that 20-year-old kid is miles off the probability charts. Somehow, though, it doesn’t matter.

What matters, really, is that Impact is nonetheless a ripping good read. Douglas Preston has demonstrated once again his surpassing ability to structure a book that works really well. He is clearly a master of the thriller genre, and if his plot devices are sometimes far-fetched and his characters a little short of believable, so what? Impact is a lot of fun.

Douglas Preston is a best-selling writer with five novels and five nonfiction books of his own under his belt, as well as 16 other books co-authored with others, all but one of them suspense novels written with Lincoln Child. He is the brother of Richard Preston, a best-selling author and writer for The New Yorker.

ISBN-10: 0765317680

ISBN-13: 978-0765317681

ASIN: B002ZCXWTW

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Filed under Disaster Stories, Mysteries & Thrillers