Review

PUBLICATION DATE: APRIL 1, 2011

B

rent Michaels is a sociology professor who has been asked to consult on an investigation by the U.S. military. He has done this type of work in the past, but nothing can prepare him for the assignment ahead.

Colonel Jameson Richards is the head of the special unit who hired Brent Michaels. It is December of 2012, which coincides with the ending of the Mayan calendar, and the team needs a sociologist to help them unravel the recent chaos that seems to be happening around the world.

The further they dig, the more they discover that the seemingly natural events might be hiding something far more dangerous. Someone is controlling events, and Brent and the team only have until December 21st to try to stop it.

The premise of The Alarmists drew me in immediately. The tension of trying to figure out and stop a doomsday plot has all the parts necessary for a great suspense novel. I think this was halfway achieved in The Alarmists. The problem was that the sections in between the action sequences were rather dull. The overall flow was such that something would happen, and it would get exciting (‘up’), then the team would research it, and it would get boring (‘down’).  It kind of felt like a roller coaster, but not in a good way. However, the overall plot stayed interesting throughout the novel, which was what kept me reading during the down times.

The characters in this novel were engaging, but there were a so many that I never felt completely connected to them. I actually thought the bad guys in this book were more interesting and better developed than the good guys. The evil genius aspect really came through – this guy was really smart to figure out how to do what he did. And to have the resources to carry out this scenario just added to the mind-blowing plan.

As for the spiritual side of this novel, I thought that it was done pretty well. When the characters would talk about their faith, it felt natural instead of forced. I also appreciated the points that were made about science and faith and how they are not mutually exclusive. At the end of the book, however, the faith aspect was way too vague, which didn’t seem to fit with how it had been portrayed previously in the novel.

While I thought the plot of this book was good, the ending was just too abrupt. And it really didn’t need to be. It would not have hurt the book at all if things had just been carried out to completion in the same manner that everything else had been up until that point. The abruptness of the ending and the vagueness of the faith aspect at the end almost made it seem as if the last few chapters were written by a different person!

Since this story was told from multiple points of view, there was some suspense, but no surprises. Even though there were some down moments for me, the scheme the villain came up with and the pursuit by the military team kept me connected enough to keep reading and increased my enjoyment of the book.