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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

HAVOC (Philip Mercer #7) by Jack Du Brul

Published in 2006 by Brilliance Audio, Inc.
Read by J. Charles.
Duration: 12 hours, 43 minutes.
Unabridged audio edition.

Jack Du Brul's Havoc is a techno-thriller that races from the Hindenburg disaster to Africa to Washington, D.C to Atlantic City to Niagara Falls to Russia and back to Africa with hardly any time to take a breath. 

The book features Philip Mercer, a geologist by training that often troubleshoots for the White House. This is the seventh book featuring Mercer, a fact that was not on the audiobook label. However, Du Brul does a great job of catching the reader up on what has been going on - I assumed it was the first book in the series as I was listening to it. 

The Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937.
The action starts with a traveler on the infamous Hindenburg as it flies to its fate with destiny in Lakehurst, New Jersey in 1937. A crazed man is hiding a secret in a safe in his room and he is afraid that the Nazis know he has it and are plotting to steal it from him. As this man sits and watches his safe he devises a plan to get it safely off of the airship before it lands in New Jersey - he throws it overboard into a farm field with an attached note for Albert Einstein. The note falls off and the safe gets forgotten in the chaos of the Hindenburg disaster.

Fast forward to modern day in the Central African Republic. Mercer accidentally meets Cali Stowe, a fellow American. Mercer tells her he is here to investigate a geological hunch for someone as a favor. She says that she is there to investigate a village that has an extraordinarily elevated cancer rate. They are both telling half-truths. But, most importantly, this village is in the middle of a civil war and a dangerous warlord is on his way, burning and looting as he comes...

As the story progresses, Stowe and Mercer find that they have a mutual interest in this village and in each other. The more they find out about, the more tense the situation becomes. There are a lot of complicated threads in this book but Du Brul does tie them all together at the end

The story is full of action and adventure - some of it fun, some of it believable, some so outrageous that the story borders on silly. Mercer gets to be too much after a while - he is an expert on the Hindenburg, he knows how to fight, he's an expert with pistols, grenades, rifles, knives, swords and even with bows and arrows. He knows about mines, cave-ins, scuba diving, trains, dinosaur bones, forklifts, helicopters, speed boats and bar tending. But, his heart is in the right place and if you just go with the flow and don't think about it it just might not bother you too much. 

The audiobook was read by J. Charles. Charles did a merely okay job with the variety of accents required by this book. He has a hard time with women's voices and Cali Stowe has a lot of lines in this book. His foreign accents all fell into the category of "not an English language accent". Everyone kind of sounded the same. 

I rate this audiobook 3 stars out of 5. It can be found on Amazon.com here: Havoc (Philip Mercer #7) by Jack Du Brul.
Reviewed on July 22, 2014.

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