The Adventures of Abel Span
by Kevin J.B. O'Connor
Black Curtains

"It had represented an important social and political moment between the United States and Mexico. It was going to be the Empire State Building of Bridges. Now it looked as desolate as an abandoned steel yard."

Abel Span leaves his ordinary teenage life in Shakesville, CA, to partake in adventures of espionage, hazardous experiments, abductions, and escape, all resulting from the undercover wars of competing scientific research. Abel and a group of engineers, including his family and best friend, must combine their specialties and work together in order to investigate the dealings of a local politician. They must expose a secret society responsible for the devastating earthquakes, disintegrating bridges, and missing persons in their town. Led by the findings of his family friend Professor Zoomer, Abel's pursuits uncover the intrinsic power of research, along with the knowledge that attempts will always be made to silence the most powerful of advents.

O'Connor captures the high stakes of this crumbling situation with well-written action sequences comprised of break-ins, car chases, and combat, but not every moment is framed between gunfights. As a young man, Abel sees his mission through the lens of someone seeking love, acceptance, and validation. Additionally, the fluctuating points of view allow for events to occur simultaneously from different locales, following the engineers throughout varying trials in their expedition. Although this level of action ramps up the mystery, a significant amount of information required to understand the character's motives is withheld. It's not until the final revelations are exposed that the protagonists' plans are proven, as well. Abel and his friends take on a task that questions the political standing in their town, unlocks the secret that's brooding behind the collapsing infrastructure, and ultimately changes the way bridges are built forever.

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