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THE HELIOS CONSPIRACY by Jim DeFelice Kirkus Star


by Jim DeFelice

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7653-2327-9
Publisher: Forge

Wisecracking, rule-breaking FBI special agent Andy Fisher (Threat Level Black, 2005) returns to investigate the murder of his long mooned-over ex-girlfriend Kathy, brainy point person behind potentially life-changing solar-energy technology.

Fisher discovers that the Chinese stand first in line to sabotage her company's groundbreaking project and steal its research, but they are hardly alone in opposing Icarus Sun Works. The New Mexico concern is all set to begin launching satellites that can draw energy from space and send it back to earth as inexpensive, environment-friendly electricity. The mysterious explosion of the rocket carrying a test satellite benefits energy profiteers who manipulate gas and electricity prices and make millions from brownouts. One of those investors, slimy Jonathon Loup, is in hock to the Chinese. The Russians have their own man on the ground doing dirty deeds. Fisher, who is addicted equally to bad coffee, cigarettes and withering sarcasm, ultimately must save Kathy's co-worker and longtime friend Sandra from an assassin—a task made personal by the strong attraction he feels to her, years after having a crush on her. Criss-crossing the country, from New York to New Mexico to California to Pennsylvania, Fisher is the epitome of unflappability, until love unexpectedly re-enters his life. After reading this terrific book, mystery fans will hope that the prolific DeFelice, best known for military and techno-thrillers (some co-written with Stephen Coonts, Larry Bond and Richard Marcinko), brings him back more frequently. Smarter and funnier than its Da Vinci-esque title might suggest, this book is a complete success with its appealing investigator, rapid-fire dialogue and convincing storytelling, which exposes the overlap between science and politics. The climax, played out on New Mexico's Indian ruins in the dead of night, could hardly be more satisfying.

A breezy and informative FBI thriller with personality to burn.