||May 26 1997
Laurel Johnson, Midwest Book Review
Gerard Readett has crafted himself a fine techno thriller with Roadworks. With European style and flavor and an international appeal, it's one of the best in this genre I've read in awhile.
The setting is Brussels Belgium in the year 2022. Hugh Ryan is an experienced traffic controller with the Transport Management Centre in Brussels. His quick thinking and cool performance under pressure make him very good at his job. Most of the time his work is cut and dried. He and his colleagues easily maintain free flowing movement of vehicles, buses, and trains that serve the citizens of Brussels. And then the worst case scenario becomes a reality.
International terrorists and self-serving miscreants of various stripes take industrial espionage and greed to new heights. Several well planned acts paralyze the Brussels transportation system and effectively take the entire city hostage during morning rush hour. It could not have come at a worse time. Every Western head of state is in Brussels for a NATO conference. The international consortium of terrorists issue a warning: If, within three hours, all Western powers do not pledge one year's annual military budget to help victims of wars and Western greed, every head of state will die. Despite the potential loss of life, Hugh sympathizes with that demand. His young wife died in Africa due to lack of proper medication and health care in a land of crushing poverty.
Maria Depage is a police officer, and liaison between the police and Anti Terrorism Squad. She's swiftly dispatched to investigate and assist Hugh and his superiors in tracking down the terrorists via the powerful TMC computer system. The story moves towards the arbitrary deadline swiftly, with one surprising discovery after another pushing Hugh into the role of reluctant hero. One branch of terrorists awaits agreement with their money demands, while another accumulates pieces to the latest western war technology - a laser weapon that will help them control the world. Most readers will NOT be prepared for the amazing ending to this fast paced tale.
Roadworks is much more than a simple techno thriller. It pits the greed of modern man against a few people with an idealistic outlook on injustices visited upon powerless societies. Justice is meted out with ruthless realism. And for this reader, anyway, Mr. Readett's fictional tale predicts our future if the rich and powerful businessmen and politicians continue pillaging our world. This one has blockbuster movie written all over it. And I'm looking forward to more books by Gerard Readett.
Review by Ron Schunk, eBook Reviews Weekly
The story begins at the end, in a courtroom. Hugh Ryan sits through the trial and remembers what led up to the attention-grabbing scandal.
After a slow start with a bit too many unexplained acronyms and too much description that really doesn't advance the plot, the story literally explodes in your face! Terrorists have wreaked havoc in Brussels, effectively closing down the city on the day an important NATO meeting is scheduled to take place. All of the world leaders are effectively held hostage by an interesting twist until they meet the demands of the terrorists.
There are two opposing factions within the terrorist cadre and only one of them knows exactly what is happening. Gridlock in the city, bombs planted in strategic places and a stolen high tech weapon complete the mix. Hugh Ryan eventually solves the main problem and leads a commando team to clean out the terrorist cell. Unfortunately that isn't enough, as high-placed politicians make their presence felt in more ways than one, and help to confuse the situation.
Eventually all is resolved and this leads to a satisfying and surprise ending where Hugh finally keeps a promise.
Altogether an exciting story, with intricate plots and twists.
A must read!
Ron Schunk, eBook Reviews Weekly
Sell Writing Online Review by Dallas Franklin
The action starts rolling and it just keeps bringing up one surprise after another. It was like watching a Bruce Willis movie. Actually it's so well written that you forget you're reading but rather watching it all unfold. 'Roadworks' by Gerard Readett is definitely the signs of a well-crafted, talented writer.
The prologue gives some necessary background and sets up the premise of the story in the not too distant future. Terrorists take over the city of Brussels, by gridlocking the transport system and then pitching their demands. It's not accidental that it coincides with a major UN meeting. A secret laser weapon developed by the Americans will be transported in parts and assembled at this meet but gets intercepted by some unscrupulous people.
The terrorists calling themselves the OPA (Oppressed People's Army) from Africa cripple the city and the TMC (Transport Management Centre) and politicians are led to believe it's to give long overdue aid to Africa. Actually that is all real and true from the OPA's standpoint but double cross and more sinister agendas are the fare.
Readett ingeniously has the narrator, Hugh Ryan, a Transport Authority controller training a new recruit on managing the city's traffic. All aspects of traffic are computerized and Hugh faces the toughest and longest day of his career. This serves the reader well in learning the basics of how things work within this sector, without boring us. It's fast paced, taking the reader along with lots of intrigue and suspense.
The story eloquently goes from first to third person and it never confuses the reader. Rather it makes one feel like you're observing it from different viewpoints simultaneously. Although the story begins at the end and back tracks to how it all happened, Readett keeps your curiosity piqued and wanting more.
It has good, descriptive characterization, natural dialogue and gives you an inside look into the minds and motivations of all the characters. The author adds the elements of fear and greed and how it lures even the unsuspecting.
There's plenty of violent acts but never so descriptive as to be in the gore category. Simple, clear and executed each time. That's literally and figuratively. Readett also adds romance and a touch of humour in just the right places.
Here's another story that gripped my attention from the get go and kept me entranced to the last page. Just when you think there couldn't be any more surprises the last pages give you a turn around.
If you enjoy a great mystery, thriller Roadworks is not to be missed. I highly recommend this book and give it a top rating of 10!
2003 Dallas Franklin
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