A Touch of Nerves

A Touch of Nerves

4.5 2
by D. C. Hampton

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Captain Ben Hawkins is finishing up a routine Army inspection at the Tupelo Chemical Research Facility when he discovers that several pounds of the nerve toxin VX-212 slated for destruction can't be accounted for. Soon an FBI team is on the trail of Mahmoud, who can't forget his father's fate in the Iraq-Iran war, and Saman, whose parents were on Iran Flight 655, shot


Captain Ben Hawkins is finishing up a routine Army inspection at the Tupelo Chemical Research Facility when he discovers that several pounds of the nerve toxin VX-212 slated for destruction can't be accounted for. Soon an FBI team is on the trail of Mahmoud, who can't forget his father's fate in the Iraq-Iran war, and Saman, whose parents were on Iran Flight 655, shot down by the American cruiser, the USS Vincennes. Their hatred of the country they blame for their losses leads them to the United States for revenge. Colonel Kashani, a senior Iranian intelligence officer, stumbles upon the plan and he understands the dangers of enraging the American dragon. His challenge is to stop a terrorist plot without being ensnared by the FBI. And when the FBI investigation reaches a dead end, Hawkins must decide whether to risk his career-and possible arrest-to stop the attack, even if it means working with a foreign agent.

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Kirkus Reviews
An Army captain struggles to make sense of an impending terrorist plot on U.S. soil while battling Washington bureaucracy in Hampton's well-researched thriller. U.S. Army Capt. Ben Hawkins has a sneaking suspicion that a basic investigation into faulty record-keeping at the Tupelo Chemical Research Center will yield bigger issues for his Criminal Investigations Command. Soon, he's hot on the trail of missing nerve gas, an AWOL Army officer tasked with destroying the fatal toxin, a kidnapped coed and a mysterious source who seems just as intent on stopping a terrorist attack as Hawkins. When several other U.S. agencies get involved, Hawkins has difficulty ceding the case to a by-the-books FBI assistant director, and he must choose between a possible court marshal and trusting his unverified source, an enigmatic man calling himself Julian. Despite all signs pointing to a typical rogue-agent thriller, debut novelist Hampton eschews the genre's typical plot holes and vague facts. Hampton served in the military, and he includes a wealth of authentic details, from the types of vehicles used in the CID to the military history that propels terrorists to plan an attack against the U.S, even against the wishes of their own government. As for the story's villains, Hampton's handle on international relations gives them credible motivations, though readers may yearn for deeper insight into the personal pasts of these vengeful Middle Eastern patriots. Likewise, Julian, a high-ranking Iranian intelligence officer, has charm, strategic thinking, a sense of humor and a never-ending repository of spy tricks. In other words, he's a Middle Eastern James Bond. Unfortunately, Hampton truncates Julian's character development in favor of Hawkins' rather bland private life, which consists mostly of meeting his fiancee for meals and working on a sailboat. Hawkins, and the reader, doesn't have much time to ponder breakfast or rudders, however, as Hampton deftly weaves a complex plot taking the action to Europe, the Middle East and various American locations. The terrorists' plans are tightly wrought and hinge on a terrifying possibility, uncovered in the first few pages, that chemical weapons marked for destruction in the U.S. could be stolen and turned against American citizens. Hampton forcefully brings this point home, while packing in surprises until the very last pages. A conceivable threat and suspense-filled plot keep readers engaged until the end.

Product Details

New Shelves Publishing Services
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.06(w) x 8.92(h) x 0.57(d)

Meet the Author

D. C. Hampton, a clinical audiologist, has written about healthcare issues for more than 25 years, and more than 200,000 people read his articles regularly. He lives in Connecticut with his wife Linda. Both of his sons served in the U.S. military during the Iraq War, one on the aircraft carrier George Washington and the other with the 10th Mountain Division.

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A Touch of Nerves 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
ILoveBookz More than 1 year ago
**I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads** While this story sounded interesting, I was a little bit worried that I would be in over my head as I never pay attention to current events.  However, this story grabbed me right from the beginning, and I did not want to put it down.  I like that there was some confusion as to who all were the bad guys and who were just either unfortunate and unwilling participants or helpful agents who...well, honestly, I do not even know how to word what Kashani was.  To be honest, Kashani was my favorite character.  At first I was not sure whether or not he was working with the bad guys, and then when it was made clear he was not working with them I was still unsure of whether or not he was pro-nuclear weapons.  Either way, he was a likable character trying to help out Captain Hawkins and the rest of America to stop a terrorism plot.  Whenever it said that he smiled, I would smile imagining him doing so.  I absolutely loved when Captain Ben Hawkins (who is my second favorite character in this novel) spoke to Kashani/Julian in Farsi, his native language.  It showed friendship, a sense of camaraderie, which Kashani deserved since he helped save the lives of thousands of Americans. I also liked how Sarah, Ben's fiance, was in the book.  While she was a minor character, I felt that it was important that the book portrayed Ben's home life as well as his job in trying to protect his country.  I feel that we often forget that they are real people with real lives as well; even watching most crime shows, I am surprised if/when a tidbit of their lives outside of their jobs is thrown in.  This made Ben a real person in my eyes. If I had to pick out a fault, I would say that ideas were repeated a little too often; sometimes the sentences were almost exactly replicated.  But often these were ideas running through Ben's head, and given the task he was focused on, this does not surprise me.   The only other shortcoming that I can say is that the reader does not find out WHY/HOW Jennifer McNair became involved in the terrorism plot.  I wish that we were informed whether she was in on it from the start or if she really had been kidnapped and then became sympathetic.  However, some people would not view this as a shortcoming - I just hate loose ends at the end of a story. 
BettyTaylor More than 1 year ago
Suspenseful! Thrilling! Loved the plot! While reading this book I was disappointed with all the interruptions. I just wanted to be left alone so I could find out what would happen next. The really scary part about this book was that is could really happen. Captain Ben Hawkins is with Criminal Investigations Command (think “NCIS”, but the Army version). He receives notice that these seems to be a problem at a chemical research facility. The numbers just are not matching up regarding a nerve gas being destroyed at the facility. So he is sent in to investigate and opens a MAJOR Pandora’s box. Four pounds of this nerve agent is unaccounted for. He has now stumbled upon the planning of a terrorist attack meant to disgrace and embarrass the US by having its own weapons turned on American citizens. Middle Eastern agents working out of a terrorist cell in Spain plot to kill thousands of Americans by releasing the agent in populated areas. The back-story of the terrorists was really interesting based upon an actual event. I enjoyed the politics of the story. All the alphabet soup agencies – FBI, NSA, CIA, etc. -- had to get involved and jockey for control. The technology used to evade detection and to find the terrorists was really interesting. They were searching for one person out of a crowd of commuters and tourists. The characters are realistic and well-developed. Hawkins is no longer in control of the investigation but, risking his career, he is determined to find out who is behind all this. The story will keep you guessing. I am still amazed that the author of this excellent book is a clinical audiologist. He is definitely taking a different path “in his spare time”. He has sons in the military so perhaps that is where he gets a lot of his information. I am definitely looking forward to reading more by him.