Friday, July 15, 2011


David Hagberg is a former Air Force cryptographer who has traveled extensively in Europe, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and has spoken at CIA functions. He has published more than twenty novels of suspense, including the bestselling Allah's Scorpion, Dance With the Dragon, and The Expediter.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his latest thriller, Abyss, and reported the following:
The basic premise of Abyss pits the players in the oil and fossil fuel hedge fund/derivative/credit default swap market conservatively estimated to be in the trillions of dollars worldwide against NOAA scientist Dr. Eve Larsen who has devised a system to take unlimited energy from the world’s great ocean currents, and in so doing provide green electricity and perhaps even partially control the weather.

Her system would all but bankrupt the entire energy market, and these people will stop at nothing to make sure that she not only fails—and fails big—but that any kind of non-fossil fuel energy becomes unpalatable to just about everyone.

Their first target is the Hutchinson Island Nuclear Power plant on Florida’s east coast—where at the moment the saboteur takes over the control room and plants explosive charges that will destroy the safety system—Eve Larsen is trying to sell her idea of cheap electricity to the Sunshine State Power & Light people who operate the plant.

On page 69 Brian DeCamp, a world class gun for hire in the tradition of Carlos the Jackal, has managed to get inside the plant, into the control room, set his explosives and calmly walk away.

Gail Newby, who is the plant’s chief of security, has been alerted that a visitor in one of the tour groups suddenly got sick, and left. Apparently he was so nervous being close to a pair of live nuclear reactors that he couldn’t handle it and had to bail out.

But something’s not right.

“I’ll take it from here,” she radios the security people at the visitor’s center.
She switched channels and pulled up a page showing the closed-circuit cameras around the plant, scrolled down to the single camera under the eaves of the visitor’s center that was pointed at the parking lot and hit Enter. A black-and-white image of the half-filled lot came up on her FM radio’s small screen. One car was just turning into the driveway from the beach road, A1A, and as it went left she spotted a lone figure just getting into a dark blue Ford Taurus parked next to the Orlando tour bus, his back to the camera. Moments later the car backed out of its spot, turned and went out to the highway and headed south.

He hadn’t been in a hurry, and he definitely hadn’t acted like a man who was nervous either because of his surroundings or because he had done something wrong and was making a getaway, and yet something about him bothered Gail. She couldn’t put her finger on it, except that he had seemed almost too self-assured for a man who’d gotten sick and had to cut the tour short. On the way to his car he hadn’t looked around nervously or over his shoulder to see if anything was happening behind him.

The screen on her FM radio was too small for her to make out the license number, but that would show up on the recordings in security, and there’d been something about the incident that made her want to follow up.
But the damage has been done, the plant will melt down just like the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan unless Gail’s friend Kirk McGarvey shows up and can do something.
Learn more about the book and author at David Hagberg's website.

Writers Read: David Hagberg.

My Book, The Movie: Abyss.

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue