Dangerous Journey: Book One
by Clark Selby
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"Yes he wanted a little adventure in his life, but this was not the adventure he was looking for."

When two nuclear physicists, Dr. Chance Taylor and Dr. Charles Brown, embark on a two-month journey to experience a classic sports car race spanning from Moscow to Beijing, little do they know that they will become entangled with an international terrorist organization, al-Qaeda, that is intent on making their presence felt via a slew of planned bombings in the United States. Their experience working on nuclear weapons at Sandia National Library puts them in an unenviable position of crisis: Do they do as they are ordered and build the weapon for this group to save their own lives and the lives of their friends, or do they refuse and make the ultimate sacrifice to potentially save the lives of thousands?

At the onset of the narrative, the plotline seems destined to revolve around classic cars like Dr. Taylor’s ‘58 Corvette and racing. Selby’s abrupt yet thoroughly engaging twist that sets up the sea encounter between terrorists and the group that includes the physicists is entirely unexpected and refreshing. When the crew carrying the racing party are shot execution style, the layer of innocence is lifted, and an “anything can happen” feeling consumes the novel.

Overall, the characters are quite established in their respective fields, hailing from prominent universities and esteemed backgrounds. For instance, Kerida, Dr. Brown’s mistress, is fluent in a multitude of languages, including Russian and Mandarin. Others, like Curtis La Salle and PJ Murphy, are joining the party as representatives of General Motors and are designated to film a documentary on the entire race. On the whole, character backgrounds are elaborate, but character development mostly takes a backseat to the breakneck pace of the plot. Whether it is the confrontation in the Black Sea or encounters with fortune-teller gypsies, there is hardly a dull moment in the novel.

While Dr. Abu al-Sadr is holding the physicists and company captive at the Mountain Top Lodge and with his ultimate dream of destruction within reach, CIA operative Hank Sollenberger, the ultimate conspiracy theorist, is up to it again. He simply leaves no stone unturned but often goes off script in the process, resulting in constant clashes with his immediate supervisor, Beverly Jenkins. After seeing in the Washington Post that there were no survivors in the sinking of the Panama Star in the Black Sea, his mind is churning with possibilities, all of which lead to al-Qaeda. Regarding the author’s penchant for building highly accomplished characters, Sollenberger trumps them all. A high school graduate at twelve, he is the proud owner of three doctorates from Harvard before the age of twenty. The accomplishments clearly seep into his personality as he is constantly pursuing a lead, confident he has unearthed a potential calamitous plot.

The action-packed roller coaster that ensues when the different parties clash is enjoyable, and the main characters are even able to find time for a little bit of romance in the midst of the chaos. Moreover, the targets selected by Abu al-Sadr—from the White House to the New York Stock Exchange—will send chills down the spines of readers, as even conjuring these acts harkens back to memories of 9/11. Though the classic cars race doesn’t ultimately happen, the race with time and danger that does happen is even more electrifying, particularly for fans of immense and never-ending action.

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