Publisher: HaperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd St New York, NY
reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, 12/5/2011
Summary: Continuing adventure of bio-chemist Emma Caldrige and the people in the Darkview protective agency. Highly enjoyable adventure with a few brain teasers.
A fun read. Would not want to do it too often, but it’s quick, painless, and highly entertaining.
So, you are out late one evening on foot near the American-Mexican border looking for plants to use in your biochemisty research. You get chased by a group of men, accidently stumbling into an underground tunnel. You get captured by the men and realize they are human traffickers who also work for a drug trafficking kingpin. Your day could not possible get any worst, right? Wrong.
On the bright side, you work for a global security outfit called Darkview and, though a biochemist, you are a well-trained long distance runner and have had some training in self-defense. In fact, you carry around a little plastic explosive in the form of a wrist braclette for situtations just like the one you are now caught in. The “you” of course is Emma Caldrige.
While I have not read the other two Emma Caldrige novels (RUNNING FROM THE DEVIL and RUNNING DARK), based on THE NINTH DAY, they are probably just as entertaining because they are written from a standard formula: beautiful, smart, professional woman caught in a threatening situation just out of range of resources that could help her.
In THE NINTH DAY, Caldrige must solve the riddle of a disease that seemed to have been given life by a combination of herbicides sprayed on marijuana plants and something indigenous to the Mexican soil in which the plant grow. The plants belong to Eduardo La Valle. La Valle, after capturing Caldrige and finding out that she is a biochemist [talk about your serendipity, right] spares her life because he thinks she can solve the riddle of the contaminated majrijuana which even threatens the life of his girlfriend.
What makes this book so entertaining is that we, as readers know intuitively, that Caldrige has the ability to escape the clutches of La Valle and his gang. She comes across as a superhero tittered by conscience. After learning that the field workers who cultivated the contaminated marijuana lye dying in a make-shift, “migrant hut” hosptial, Caldrige becomes determined to find a cure. The farm’s medicine man and veternarian Luisa Perez who are treating the men said that the men usually died nine days after contacting the diesase. She also meets La Valle’s girlfriend who is also inficted by the diease.
The author lays a firm foundation for what develops later in the story. If you are familiar with exotic dieases you will probably be able to figure out what is going on with the contamindated marijuana from the information provided in the make-shift hospital scenes. This is what makes this a fun read. Not only is it an adventure tale, but a hazardous bio-diease mystery. There is also a bit of covert entertainment as well.
In an exciting scence in which Caldrige has escaped from La Valle’s compound and returned to recuse what we thought might be her love interest, a wimpy character called OZ (short for Oswald Kroger), we are primed for a continuation of the shoot-and-chase that thwart her escape plans. The SUV in which she has escaped from the Mexican army, driven by the Veternarian Luisa Perez, is stopped and surrounded by La Valle’s goons. Caldrige surreptitiously stuffs a revolver into her waistband at the small of her back before getting out of the car. More shoot-and-chase? No. After being stuffed into her waistband, the revolver is not seen again.
Once you run into a blip in expectations such as this, you start looking for others.
There are some situtations, such as a character jumping into an Escalade in which Caldrige has “hit the gas”, that strains credibility. Despite the “story quarks”, THE NINTH DAY holds interest because we are intrigued by the main character and are curious as to exactly what this strange diease really is. Every word in this novel is practically non-stop action. A lot of implausibility. But it is fun.