Today Mandie starts her journey through the wonderful world of Claymore Straker, one of my favourite series from Orenda Books, with the brilliant The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E. Hardisty. This was Orenda’s first ever paperback release and it’s fifth anniversary was one of the reasons that we embarked upon our Year of Orenda in the first place. If you’d like to see what I thought (spoiler – I loved it) you can find my review here. For now, here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
One man. An oil company. A decision that could cost his life.
Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions.
As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead.
A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying will not only open your eyes, but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached.
I would never have thought that I was a thriller kind of person, but The Abrupt Physics of Dying was recommended to me and once I picked it up, I found that I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a day. It also left me with a terrible dilemma of how I was going to be able to write a review that would really do this book justice.
Claymore Straker is working for an oil company in Yemen when he is taken captive and given a choice, find out what is causing illness in the local villages or his friend and colleague Abdulkader will die. Straker doesn’t want to help the man he believes is already responsible for the death of someone else he used to work with, but he also does not want to see his friend die. Doing what they want will see him go against the company that pays him and could also endanger any future work he may want to bid for.
Straker is a very disillusioned soul and has been following the company plan for quite some time, but when confronted by evidence that there is something not quite right, he is determined to get to the truth, and he seems to rediscover the principles he thought were long buried. Never sure who he can trust and with unknown enemies determined to stop him at all costs it becomes a race against time to gather the evidence and stay alive. We get glimpses of his past throughout the book and I found that they all added to make him seem more real and you got to understand how he became so jaded about life.
I think part of the draw of this book is that it is so much more than a thriller. It delves into the world of corruption and what people might do in pursuit of money and power. When oil is involved and who will control it, I can imagine that there are those who would do absolutely anything and there is a disturbing air of reality about the whole thing. With the action not really letting up throughout this is a book that will grab your attention from the beginning and refuses to let go. Not you standard thriller by any means but it has made a convert out of me and I cant wait to catch up with the rest of the series and see what Paul Hardisty has in line for Claymore Straker next.
About the Author
Canadian Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer,
hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and CEO of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia.
Books by Paul E. Hardisty