“Breakthrough” by Michael C Grumley

20180429 Book Review - 01 Breakthrough cover

Michael Grumley has written an exciting thriller that pulls the reader into a world of scientific discovery, military and political intrigue and then pushes through into a science fiction scenario that remains logical and credible.

The story begins with a submarine, newly out of repair dock, that loses several miles. As the crew are plotting and monitoring their course, they realise that the readings tell them they are further out than they should be. All their analyses point to their positioning being correct, and so they are directed back to port for tests and further repairs.

John Clay and Steve Caesare of the Naval Investigative Service are tasked with finding out what has happened. When their research rules out instrument and human error, they go to investigate the area where the sub developed the problem, along with Alison Shaw and her team from the Miami City Aquarium, and Dirk and Sally, two dolphins from the Aquarium. The involvement of Dirk and Sally comes hard on the heels of the development of a system which allows direct communication with the dolphins.

As they begin to explore the area, they discover a whole lot more than they expected, sparking fears of a planet-wide catastrophe and the risk of the same caused by paranoid officials within the government.

20180429 Book Review - Breakthrough - author photo

Mr Grumley writes a very good novel with multiple, interwoven threads to the plot and well-paced tension and development. The characters were believable, and the science was also credible within the framework of the story. The characters were likeable and grew within the action of the story. Although his villain did tend a little towards the one-dimensional, it did not detract from overall storyline.

[SPOILER ALERT – To read please select this section]
The one gripe I did have was a deus ex machina where a character who was in extreme danger at one point, had a miraculous escape. Mr Grumley did explain this afterwards but it still felt a little unjustified based on the way the plot had been written to that point, and also felt as if Mr Grumley was reluctant to lose a character in which he had invested so much time and effort.

However, despite those two small issues, I enjoyed this book immensely and am looking forward to exploring more scientific and science fictive investigations with John Clay, Steve Caesare and Alison Shaw (and the dolphins).

20180429 Book Review - 02 Leap cover

20180429 Book Review - 03 Catalyst cover

20180429 Book Review - 04 Ripple cover

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