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Power Down

Ben Coes

St. Martin’s Press
September, 2010/ ISBN 978-0-312-58074-2
Political Thriller

Reviewed by Elise Cooper

Ben Coes’ debut novel, Power Down, is a winner. He captivates the reader from page one. This story is very relevant considering the price of gas in America today. Dewey Andreas, a former Delta Ranger and one of the main characters, is in charge of an oil platform off the coast of Columbia. After terrorists, whose leader is a radicalized American, Mohammed Fortuna, seize the platform, Andreas saves many of his crew as it is being blown up. The story takes off from there where various parts of America‘s economic and manufacturing infrastructure ports, nuclear power plants, and refineries are attacked. Andreas along with intelligence and law enforcement agencies try to untangle these events and find those responsible.

The reader will discover many themes to this thriller. For example, this quote from the book should make an impact on Americans: “every dollar over four dollars a gallon costs this country roughly twenty billion dollars a day in GDP.” Besides terrorism, dependence on Arab oil and achieving energy dependence Coes also explores the belief of patriotism. Coes commented that he wrote about the Patriotism theme “to compare two views. Fortuna, who had every reason to love America; yet, tries to destroy it from within versus Dewey who had every reason to hate America after being falsely accused of killing his family; yet, he risks his life because deep down he loves America.” The other major point in the book was the need for energy independence. Coes takes that important topic and makes his points through action packed sequences while at the same time showing how “the energy sector makes the world turn. We need to get off the dependence of oil from the Middle East. My theory is we will not get off it until it gets too expensive.”

To obtain a glimpse of Coes’ philosophy in dealing with the terrorists he speaks through the character Teddy Marks, a “no nonsense” guy who throws political correctness to the wind. Marks commented that “There are terrorists on our shores, in our midst…But the way to stop the attacks is not to apologize, to cower in the corner, or to change our ways. The way to stop the terrorists is plain and simple. We must hunt them down. We much capture them…” Coes felt that the phrase was written to show “how someone should say what he feels; the idea of a guy not being politically correct or shading his words.”

The characters are extremely well developed. The reader is able to formulate the characters view of life and current issues. They form a kinship with the good guys and will grow to despise the bad guys. The main female lead, Jessica Tanzer, was based on the author’s wife who Coes describes as a “no nonsense, beautiful, Irish personality woman.” The male lead, Dewey Andreas, was based on “what I would like to be: patriotic, humble, and tough as nails when necessary.”

For a debut novel Coes will have a lot to live up to with his next book. Considering the topic will be the India/Pakistan conflict with America right in the middle of it, he should have no trouble. Power Down is a political thriller that is the mold of a Nelson DeMille, Brad Thor, and David Baldacci book. It is powerful, relevant, fast paced, and suspenseful. A book the reader will definitely not want to put down.

Dewey Andreas Series

Power Down, No 1       [review]
Coup d’ Etat, No 2       [review]

Reviewed 2011
© 2011