The Bomb Makers, by Marcus Case (a pseudonym), is not only a taut, gripping thriller, but an example of a first time indie author doing everything right. The result? It’s not only a great read, but an inspiration for any aspiring author that may be looking for reassurance that a self-published author can put out just as compelling and polished a product as those that are supported by traditional editing and production teams.You’ll form the same conclusion from the first page onwards. Case’s style is lean and to the point, and the action never slacks off from the first page to the last. Case hired a professional editor to assist him, and if his early drafts included any meanders off the action path, they were dispassionately edited out along the way. You won’t be surprised that the cover and interior design are very professionally executed as well.
Of course, skilled design and editing can’t make a ho-hum book great, and that clearly was never a problem here. Case combines life experience with scrupulous research to construct and describe settings and plot elements in a way that advances the story effectively. Much of the story line progresses from the viewpoint of members of a British anti-terror unit, and the portrayals of technology, technique and strategies are immaculate and seamless. Unlike a Tom Clancy that often happily wallows in technical details and jargon for their own sake, the details here serve the story, and not vice versa, adding verisimilitude and providing effective vehicles to reveal and develop the characters as human beings as well as the plot (e.g., as the white hats search for, and fine the black hats on the myriad surveillance cameras that monitor the greater part of urban British life today).
Case also strikes a nice balance between character development and pacing. With the possible exception of Bethany, the daughter of Chief Inspector Emma Rydan, whose presentation as a rebellious Cambridge underclassman becomes a bit stereotypical, the characters are both believable in presentation and consistent in the way they react to unfolding events. You won’t necessarily identify with any of them (most are hard-bitten, hard-driving, and flawed in various ways), or even like many of them, but you will believe in them.
The story line is similarly credible, building on existing terror groups, although if current truces hold, this familiarity will fade as time goes on. Non-European readers may also draw a blank on one of the terrorist groups – the ETA – not only because the Basque separatist movement has been quiescent now for some time, but also because for some reason the author always, except in a single case, refers to the principle terrorist as “the Spaniard” rather than “the Basque.” Unless you recall the ETA acronym, you’ll need to do a little research on n line to figure out whether this is a real or an imagined group.
But that’s a small quibble, and my only one. It’s easy to find genre fiction by famous authors whose plot lines and pacing are weaker than Case’s, particularly in this era of rapid-firing fiction into the marketplace as quickly as possible, leaving pride of craftsmanship behind.
In short, if you an author, or aspiring author, this is a book that can set the bar for your own aspirations. And whether you’re an author or not, it’s a ripping good read that will leave you hoping that Mr. Case (whoever he really is) is already well along with his next offering.
The Bomb Makers is available in eBook format at all five international Amazon sites, including the UK site (for some reason, no price is displaying), Canadian site (CDN $5.41), and U.S. site ($4.99), as well as in Nook, iTunes and Kobo form (links are here). The author’s site, which includes a blog, is here.
A final note: if you love to read, consider the wealth of inexpensive good work being done by Indie authors, and give one a try. If you do, take a minute to help the author by posting a short review at the author’s Amazon page and recommend her to a friend. She’ll be grateful, and we’ll all be better off. Why? Because you’ll be helping create a richer, more vibrant, more creative literary ecosystem than we have today.