Published by Orenda Books on 8 March 2015 and available here from Amazon.
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.
The Abrupt Physics of Dying could easily be called one man against a giant. It is the powerful story of Claymore Straker, a man who finds his moral compass and fights. Claymore versus Petro-Tex. David versus Goliath.
Set in the 1990s Yemen, Straker is employed by Petro-Tex, a global oil company as a contractor. He has the PR skills and scientific testing abilities to support the company, in its push for oil. He is kidnapped, along with his driver friend and forced to investigate his employer. Straker must look into what is happening with the decline in health of the local population and its links to Petro-Tex. Clay finds himself battling with his employer, as he searches for the truth. He links up with journalist, Rania. Who can he trust? What are the consequences of taking a stand?
Clay is a loveable chap. He is a bit of a mystery, in some ways. A hero in the making. He has suffered in the past and we get a sense of how this effects him in the present day. I found myself feeling for him, as his eyes were opened to the devastation caused by Petro-Tex.
This is a morality tale for our times. In Yemen, the poor are dying and no one is bothered. Everything is about money and oil. Lives are a price worth paying. The oil company operates above the law, complete with bribery and corruption. As a thriller, we get thrust into this world and get to smell, taste and feel the wretchedness of the situation.
The Abrupt Physics of Dying is shocking, exciting and completely believable. With a touch of romance, a fascinating and colourfully vibrant Yemen and a lovely hero in Claymore Straker, this all adds up to an impressive début thriller. A book to keep you up all night!