Books by Nick Cook

Released: Aug. 13, 2002

"Hardheaded rationalists will likely take this with a shakerful of salt, but technology enthusiasts, aviation buffs, and UFO watchers should find it fascinating."
When Nazis, flying saucers, and government conspiracies figure in a single narrative, you've got the makings of either a crackpot manifesto or an intriguing work of scientific speculation. Thankfully, the aviation editor for Jane's Defence Weekly delivers the latter. Read full book review >
Released: April 8, 1998

Mindbender. Wild Thing. Ninja. Thunderbolt. The names of roller coasters are as evocative as Cook's debut work, a look at the psychology and steel behind America's most thrilling rides. A lively history of the roller coaster includes the ice slides of France in the 1800s, the first gravity railway on Coney Island that reached a whopping speed of six miles per hour, and the rise and fall in popularity of "woodies," or wooden roller coasters. In a chapter on the physics of roller coasters, Cook cites comprehensible examples (such as the angle of a pencil to a desktop) to clearly explain such concepts as the science of motion and gravity, friction and drag, slope, and g force. Attractive inserts bring in the designers and engineers of the coaster, who allow riders to "feel like they're going to die"; in these days of computerized engineering, Etch-A-Sketch-like scribbles on a computer screen are transformed into impressive assemblages of thousands of pieces of steel tracks and hills that span acres. One especially eye-catching chart outlines what happens inside the body during a coaster ride. In a final chapter, Cook gives "airtime" to coasters past and present. The colorful, captioned photographs—the swoosh of riders in motion, heads hanging upside down from an inside loop, or aerial views of a tiny car on wheels about to take the first drop—as well as the rest of the book—are more than worth the ride. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 6-11) Read full book review >
AGGRESSOR by Nick Cook
Released: Feb. 24, 1993

A terrorist hijacking in Lebanon forces Americans and Russians to collaborate on a rescue mission and brings a British journalist back to the Middle East and the scene of his wife's murder. Techno-gimmicks support rather than overpower this second thriller by the author of Angel, Archangel (1990). The story opens with a bang. Someone, an Islamic fundamentalist, we are to assume, blows up a huge, brand-new, Syrian natural-gas pump just as its Russian builders turn over the keys to the new owners. The project's designer, one of the few survivors at the scene, is kidnaped. Within days, hijackers, again presumably Islamic fundamentalists, grab a 747 containing an American ambassador and his staff. A recently signed Russo-American protocol calls for a bilateral rescue effort. But the protocol was signed with more than the usual cynicism, and the American team assigned to the job is the Pathfinders, a special operations group that was disgraced in its last outing. Colonel Ulm, the Pathfinder commander, smells a rat but is happy to work with his Russian oppo, the hard-as-nails Colonel Shabanov, if the supersecret operation means redemption for his men. Meanwhile, Tom Girling, science editor for a British newsweekly, has become exceedingly interested in the case. An old colleague in Cairo has uncovered a connection between the terrorists and the mob that stoned Girling's Egyptian wife to death in front of him several years earlier. Editorial treachery and the disappearance of the Cairene reporter bring Girling back to Egypt and his previous role as a crack investigative journalist. While the commandos train for their mission in the desert beyond the pyramids, Girling combs the markets and hashish dens of Cairo, looking for clues that will tie together the explosion, the kidnapings, his wife's death, and the pervasive influence of the supposedly benign Russians. Extremely entertaining. The two plots, rescuers and reporters, come together in the most astounding way. Wonderful Egyptian scenery. Read full book review >