The 19th Element
Author: John Betcher
Reviewed By Fran Lewis
What would happen if potassium were used for creating an explosion to destroy a nuclear plant? What would happen if you could take potassium or 19th element used in fertilizer by agriculturists and extract it in its purest potassium elemental metal form? You might look at this element in a totally different way. Creating an explosion so horrific that it would not only rock the Twin Cities and many other states thousands of miles away. The death toll would be insurmountable and the end result catastrophic. Boom! Life as you know it would be gone. Think about it!
September 11, 2001 really did happen. It was supposed to be a wakeup call for the United States to pay attention, close attention to Al Qaeda and their terrorist cells. Information that was intercepted before these attacks did not raise any cause for alarm and those in charge became too complacent and you know the end result. America needs to pay close attention or what they now have planned as author John Betcher will relate in his novel “ The 19th Element,” would make 9/11 pale in comparison. As the novel opens a body is found of a professor in the Prairie River. His goal was to create a device that would extract potassium in its metal form to be used as a form of fertilizer. However, this professor was killed for much more as you will learn. Al Qaeda has totally different agenda and has sent many of its operatives into the mainstream of our society to carry out their deadly deeds in the name of Allah. But, there is much more. As the author relates at the start of the novel Al Qaeda’s threat to the United States has diminished and we are not paying enough attention and are no longer in fear of any imminent strikes. Think again. Never take a blind eye to what these people are capable of doing. Their purpose and goal is to create a nuclear holocaust by attacking the Mississippi Prairie Nuclear Power Plants. Will they succeed? Enter James Becker or Beck as his friends call him. Former elite government operative, now attorney at law, Beck will stop at nothing to find out the real reason for the death of a college professor and the disappearance of his assistant.
Three Mile Island created a nuclear blast that many thought would have little or no serious consequences. That was not true as John Sigler learned when his entire family succumbed to cancer and much more. Thinking he was not affected by the radiation fall out, he sought out groups, people, organizations or anyone that would help him avenge the deaths of his parents and brother –namely the United States was the enemy and he would make them pay. But, there is so much more. The terrorist engages the aide of some homegrown anarchists, and John who survived Three Mile Island has a vendetta of his own against the nuclear plant wants to assist if not conduct the attack. The deceased professor’s assist Farris Ahmed has his own agenda in mind.
With vivid descriptions of the nuclear plant, the method of how to create these explosions and a definite understanding of chemicals and how they interact, author John Betcher takes the reader on a dangerous journey inside the world and mind terrorists who will stop at nothing to attain their goals. Just think of what would happen if these people really had enough potash or potassium chloride in its natural form to attack a nuclear plant’s spent fuel tank. Vulnerable to sabotage given the right circumstances depending on what side you are on the unthinkable could happen. Let’s hope no one finds out.
Beck is not alone in his quest. His friend Bull is right by his side to join in his escapades as his Beck’s wife Beth. As Beck learns more about the processes involved in creating a nuclear blast and our lab assistant is feverishly working to put his plan in action, we learn a lot more about this 19th element and how dangerous it would be if this diabolical plan came to pass. But, what happens next is not only frightening but mindboggling.
One man fighting against those who refuse to believe him. A gut feeling, instinct and with pure raw energy, James Beck hatches a plan to try and thwart the terrorists before it’s too late. But, can he and will he succeed? With the aide of the deputy sheriff, his friend Bull and knowledge of chemistry, potassium and nuclear weapons, this one man is fighting to save so many people, not just in Ottawa County.
One man betrayed by his country and wants avenge the deaths of his parents before its too late. One man risks everything for one small town in Mississippi against all odds and the beliefs of others that this could never happen. A professor who created a potassium electrolysis device to help farmer and agriculturist’s crops to grow. The 19th Element, Potassium, what will be the end result.
John Betcher has created a character as cunning, intelligent and resourceful as Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Brad Thor’s Scot Harvath, and Berry’s Cotton Malone, we have a new character that we can all hope will come back in many more of this great author’s novels. Mind stimulating, thought provoking and eye opening: Al Qaeda is always watching and waiting for us to look away! DON’T. With an ending that will keep you the edge and twists and turns that will surprise you, The 19th Element is not just about the effects of Potassium it is also the Element of Surprise.
This is definitely one of my favorite pics for 2010.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Author of the Bertha Series of Books and Memories are Precious