A U.S. Army officer at a subterranean military base is challenged by security breaches and potential refugees from aboveground disasters in Hodgson’s (By Strength and by Guile, 2016) thriller.
When higher-ups decide to move Lt. Col. Jon Frasier out of Delta Force, he earns a position at a secret underground facility called Omega 11. It’s part of Project Omega, the government’s plan to safeguard Americans in the event of nuclear war. During Frasier’s first day as ground-forces commander, he’s ambushed by a group of armed men, whom he fights off. Omega 11’s deputy commander was recently murdered, and after its commanding general suffers a suspicious heart attack, Frasier suspects that assassins have infiltrated the base, likely with inside help. He also learns that experts are predicting that an earthquake will cause California to fall into the sea, causing a tsunami that will devastate multiple countries. As Omega 11 and other sites prepare for refugees, Frasier leads the search for the assassins and moles running loose on his base. He receives assistance from Klavia, a Belgian shepherd that he helped recertify as a military working dog after its previous handler’s death in Afghanistan. One of its many skills is sniffing out explosives, which comes in handy. Hodgson effectively establishes the isolated facility, where people admire the realistic artificial sky and hear constant updates about increasingly dire global calamities, including terrorist activity and volcanoes on the verge of erupting. The characters are plentiful and distinctive, including some incompetent officers and others who are downright villainous. However, the author’s descriptions of women too often resort to superficial characteristics, such as a “pleasant chest,” “a smallish but very nice breast,” or “very feminine shaped butt and legs.” The depiction of Klavia, though, is exceptional; instances told from the dog’s perspective reveal its fierce loyalty and protectiveness; for example, it’s prone to frustration when a “female two legs” distracts its Alpha, Frasier. The ending doesn’t resolve everything, though, which leaves things open for a possible sequel.
A lengthy but mostly engrossing story of worldwide chaos and smaller-scale upheaval.