The Sandman by David Lucero

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Click on cover image to purchase a copy

MWSA Review

Iran's newest and most up-to-date nuclear power plant is sabotaged. Before a meltdown occurs the staff must find a way to save it, identify the saboteur and report to their supervisors. The plot thickens as the reader discovers spies, soldiers, and political maneuverings.

This book takes its plot from current political and military tensions between Iran, Iraq, Israel and the US.  The countries respond with overt and covert action. The incident is fictional, but all readers will be aware it could easily become reality. 

Lucero develops the plot and characters well. The story moves along without losing the reader's understanding or interest. Although it's harder to make a book technical and at the same time understandable to the lay reader, he accomplishes this. I know little about nuclear power, but the story never lost me.
The same is true of the political climate in the book. Political intrigue is part of life. Most readers have some level of awareness of the tensions in the Middle East, the US involvement, and the tension that may at any time ignite into violence and war. The book assumes this awareness but doesn't assume intricate detailed knowledge of day-to-day unrest.

The multi-faceted characters create an emotional response in the reader. Lucero understands human emotions and motives, and develops them in his characters. He leaves the reader pondering the moral responsibilities of nations and individuals.

If you like political thrillers, you'll like this story. Lucero sustains the action and suspense throughout the story. Although both the genre and the world have changed since the days of the Cold War thrillers, the suspense in a good thriller is still the key.

Reviewed by: Pat McGrath Avery (2009)

Author's Synopsis

The countdown to nuclear disaster begins when the saboteur code name: SANDMAN strikes a devastating blow to Iran. He has infiltrated the Bushehr Nuclear Research Facility and created a fire that threatens a reactor core meltdown. All the Iranians have to do to save their reactor is to get the Emergency Core-Coolant System back online. But the situation turns from bad to worse when they learn the saboteur has barricaded himself in the alternate secondary control room that accesses the coolant. Now a high-ranking Iranian officer takes charge to battle the SANDMAN in what becomes a match of wits as each tries to outmaneuver the other in the dark corridors of the underground complex. While deadly gunfights between the SANDMAN and Iranian soldiers ensue the work crews desperately attempt to put out the fire in the electrical control room to regain access to the coolant. But with each passing second the temperature in the reactor core quickly rises...bringing them closer to nuclear disaster!