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The lake remained placid as he floated the bait, and for the first time in two hours he glanced at the sonar. He'd angled every fishable section of these waters and could recite depths and brush pile and buoy locations by rote. He hadn't used instruments in years, at least not on this lake. But today he had a feeling that the fish weren't in their usual spots—that they'd gotten as used to his tricks as he had to theirs. The possibility tested his belief that the act of fishing was its own reward, and that made him consider firing up all his expensive gear for the first time in a long while. But the purist in him won out and he released a deep sigh and started to pull back on the line.
A moment later the muffled ring of his phone interrupted the silence. In a brief flirtation with spite he considered not answering it. But there were few who knew the number, and of those, none that he wanted to tick off. He rummaged around in a canvas bag that, in addition to the phone, held sun block, his shoes, and the largest Snickers bar money could buy.
After looking at the phone's display, he groaned before answering the call. "You do realize that interruptions like these can lead to the misshaping of malleable minds, don't you?" he asked.
The question resulted in the briefest of pauses on the other end before Abby, with her customary aplomb, said, "Your sophomore sociology class is up one flight of stairs and thirty-two steps down the hall. At the end of that minor odyssey is a midsized lecture hall, where at the moment Maureen Kellogg is lecturing a group of students who look a lot more interested than they usually do when you're actually up there doing your job. So I think it's safe to say that if you're involved with school in any way right now, it's a school of fish."
Brent smiled into the phone. Then he took in a deep draught of moist air, suspecting that his next question would pull him away from the pristine water.
"What's the emergency, Abby?"
"Emergency?" his admin asked. He could hear the sound of her rapid-fire typing in the background.
"If it keeps me from pulling in a ten-pounder, then it better be," he said.
Abby didn't answer right away, but when she did so it was with a brevity Brent had come to expect.
"Okay then," she said.
The next sound to hit Brent's ear was silence again, for she'd ended the call. When fifteen seconds later she answered his call back, he could imagine the smug smile on her face.
"Department of the Humanities. How may I direct your call?"
"Okay, what is it?" he asked.
"But it doesn't qualify as an emergency," she said. "Not enough to let the big one get away."
"You got a call from the Pentagon. They want you for a consult."
The boat sat motionless on the calm water as he digested that. He'd rested the fishing rod across his knees, with the line following the curve of the boat beneath the surface where the neglected bait seemed content to do what it had done all afternoon, which was nothing.
"Oh," he said.
Calls to consult for one government agency or another, while not frequent, happened with enough regularity to render them unsurprising, and didn't even get him too excited. A request from the Pentagon, however, was a different matter. In the past fifteen years—after he'd achieved sufficient accolades to be recognized as one of the top experts in his field—he'd received two job offers from someone associated with the Pentagon. A shiver of excitement always accompanied signing his name to a nondisclosure agreement labeled Top Secret. He also knew that was why Abby had called, even knowing the message could have waited until he was off the lake.
When after several seconds it became apparent that his admin was content to allow the silence to continue as long as it would, the professor said, "Can you give me the broad strokes?"
He could imagine the look on Abby's face, pleased that she'd vexed him. She waited a little while longer before giving him the information.
"Colonel Jameson Richards," he repeated. "I don't think I've worked with him before."
"I got that impression too," Abby said. "He wants you in Washington tomorrow."
"Did he give you any idea what the project is?"
Abby chuckled. "Yeah, the Pentagon's all warm and fuzzy now. They like to talk about super secret stuff over the phone."
Brent smirked. "You know what this means?" he asked.
"You mean besides the fact that I'm going to have to scramble to find people to cover your classes again?"
"I love you, Abby."
"I love you too, doll."
Three hours later, Brent had his bag packed and was on his way to the airport.
Excerpted from The Alarmists by Don Hoesel Copyright © 2011 by Don Hoesel. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted July 20, 2011
I received this book for review a loooonnnnngggg time ago, like January I think. But with B90 in the spring and then my summer being ridiculously crazy, I just now finished it.
Honestly, it was a hard book to get in to. There are lots of characters at the beginning and lots of locations as the story unfolds. Eventually, though, it does get easier to follow. About 1/2 way through the book, the story really starts taking shape.
As the synopsis above explains, the book is mainly about a special task force from the Pentagon attempting to figure out how certain events are related and how to stop the end of the world!
Once the characters were differentiated and had some personality, I really liked each one and how they worked together. I liked the elements of faith and the integrity of the characters who believed in God. They were able to explain to others why science and God did not have to be independent of each other, which I know is a struggle for some.
The ending was a good climax and tied up all the pieces of the story nicely. I feel like it was a bit rushed, but that is another thing that makes me glad that I am not a writer, endings are so tricky!
Overall, I would give this book three stars. I would not hesitate to recommend it to friends, but only those who love reading. It's not a book for someone who gets lost easily or for someone who doesn't love reading fiction. The story line was good, once you got to it, the writing was very tight sometimes and very scattered at others.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted May 6, 2011
Book Review: The Alarmists by Don Hoesel
I couldn't put this book down. This was a really good read! 5 Stars!
The 2012 phenomenon that's going viral around the globe has led sociology professor Jameson Richards to study the impact on society when, like the Y2K scare, 12/21/12 comes and goes with hardly a wrinkle.
This is the date that, according to the Mayan calendar, the doomsayers predict the world will end. Richards teams up with General Michaels, a scientist stationed at the Pentagon whose job it is to monitor the world's fanatics, keeping an eye out for potential terrorists. Together they uncover something sinister going on beneath the surface, linked to billionaire and media mogul Jeremy Maxwell, who also happens to be a huge manufacturer of weapons systems.
The 2012 date has captured Maxwell's attention too, and he's looking to cash in on the public's fear and paranoia. And what he instigates--along with his corrupt partners--nearly starts another war in the Middle East, while also bringing the world to its knees economically. It's up to the professor/general team to blow the whistle on Maxwell, hopefully in time to avert a major catastrophe.
Posted May 5, 2011
Amidst a world of doomsday chaos, some tiny beacon of sensibility must always exist. For Don Hoesel, that beacon is sociologist Brent Michaels, a perceptive professor currently on loan to the US government's ultra-classified Non-Standard Incident Investigative Unit (NIIU). The Alarmists is a race against the clock as Michaels and his team attempt to piece together seeming random events and to uncover a conspiracy of atrocities with global ramifications.
I was enthralled by The Alarmists and found Don Hoesel to be a top-notch action-thriller author, on par with another favorite Christian author of mine, Joel Rosenberg. I intend to keep my eyes peeled for more of Hoesel's books, for I am always refreshed to discover capable authors who develop fictional worlds with such intensity, yet also without the unnecessary sprinklings of fornication, blasphemy and otherwise needless language. I rate this book very highly and look forward to someday spending another vacation from reality deep inside a Don Hoesel novel.
The one problem I had with this book was the intensely misleading and useless cover-art Bethany House created for The Alarmists. I believe they paid Don Hoesel a disservice in posing some young actor with a science-fiction feel as the major eye-catching image of the book. Brent Michaels is not that, and The Alarmists is not science fiction. While I know not to judge a book by its cover, I would certainly have passed this novel by had I seen it on a bookstore shelf. Perhaps Bethany House will consider more sensible cover-art for a later release.
[Note: I received this book free for review from Bethany House]
Posted April 29, 2011
Terrorists are at work in some new places. Or are they? An earthquake seems unnaturally imminent. Why? It is 2012. Does this have anything to do with the Mayan Calendar? Dr. Brett Michaels, a professor, receives a request to go to Washington DC and consult with a team at the Pentagon. There are no specifics, just that he is needed for a time. There he meets with Colonel Jameson Richards and his team and starts looking at the unusual data they have accumulated from all over the world. Meanwhile, forces are wielding their power in many places under the name Project: Night House. How much of what is happening is real and how much is contrived? How much is meant to make people believe the Mayan prophecy? As Brett sets out to help Colonel Richards' team find out, he finds himself embroiled in a conflict that will take him to other places in the world, and could take not only his life, but the lives of those around him.
This was a wonderful edge of your seat read; a classic good versus evil story. There were moments I didn't know who would survive, or what investigations would stir up. While quite a few characters are thrown into the mix in the beginning, it all makes sense quickly. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good novel about espionage and intrigue. Thank you to Bethany House for my copy of the book!
Posted April 24, 2011
What the future might hold has always gripped man's imagination, and Don Hoesel is not the exception. He writes about a secret research military group that investigates cases that do not fit any other department in the Pentagon. Their leader, Colonel Richards, is a man of faith who allows enough room for lack of explanation for some of the situations they have to deal with every day. Whenever his time allows him to, he enjoys digging into prophecies about the end of the world in 2012. However true or not, the team has been analyzing coups, earthquakes, explosions, and a series of phenomena that have left them with enough information to conclude that the world is in a self-destruct pattern and that its end is near. This is where Brent Michaels comes to join the team. He is a Sociology Professor who has done consultations for the government before. He is left with the daunting task of making sense of the huge amount of information Richard's team has gathered during the last years. He fits right into the team, and is shortly included in their outings. Little by little, the investigation puts the pieces together, but the mastermind that is behind the events the team is after, will not let them get further. With their lives endangered, the team needs to make haste to save the world. Even if Brent is not a believer, he certainly is a man of good character, so he decides to stay with the team long after his consultation should end. Richards thanks the latter, even if he now needs to look after his life; this fact is proven more difficult after an outing when Michaels and a member of the team are almost killed. I will not ruin the rest of the story for those who will read it; I will say that despite a slow beginning, the story and the pace pick up and get to the point where it is difficult to put the book down. It is a good story, but I was disappointed by the end. It just ends, abruptly and almost too coincidentally. I just feel that the author could have developed a little more (the material to do so is in the story), and make a better conclusion. There are bits and pieces that come together too fast, and there are bits and pieces that are left sort of unattended. Anyway, it is easy to read, highly entertaining, with good language, and as I have said of Mr. Hoesel's books before, they should come with popcorn!!! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. This did not bias my opinion on the book, nor on the author.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 21, 2011
How does an elite army unit and a dusty professor of sociology work together to save the world?
Colonel Richards leads up an elite Pentagon unit of "scientist" soldiers who travel the world collecting data from geological disturbances and other unknown events on the Armed Forces Global Threat Assessment. When the colonel feels there is a pattern emerging, he brings in Brent Michaels, a well-known sociology professor. His specialty "is seeing order in the chaos of human interaction." Brent is now on Colonel Richards team to uncover the reason the world is spiraling downward toward doomsday... the end of the world!
"It's December 2012 and the world is approaching the brink of panic-the timing of which eerily coincides with the ending of the Mayan calendar. but, beneath the despair of both fanatics and doomsayers, and amid a rising tide of both man-made and natural disasters, something far more dangerous emerges." Are these disasters all natural or is someone directly involved for personal reasons?
Colonel Richards' team only has until December 21, 2012, to thwart the end of the world. Do they manage to find the correlations in all the data? Are the Mayans correct in their assessment of the end times?
Click HERE to read an excerpt from the book.
I found the beginning of the book to be slow, both in character development and plot. About 1/4th into the book, the plot picked up and the characters are better developed. This book didn't hold me captive, but the story line was interesting.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review from Bethany House Publisher.
Posted April 17, 2011
In Don Hoesel's The Alarmists, sociologist Brent Michaels must solve a most important puzzle, that of finding the order within a series of apparently random events in 2012. As the world begins to lose more and more societal stability, a military group has been researching these events but needs the assistance of Michaels. Together they will discover the reason why the world seems to be rushing toward Armageddon. These events seem to coincide with the coming end of the Mayan calendar, and so the world is filled with despair and chaos. As Michaels and the team delve deeper into these disasters, though, they find that there is an organizing mind behind the events, an unknown person manipulating the world for their own benefit. Michaels must solve the puzzle as to who this person is before they bring about the end of the world.
Don Hoesel's The Alarmists is a thoroughly believable thriller, which makes the plot so much more exciting. As we approach the year 2012, disasters seem to be impacting the world at an ever increasing rate, making people wonder if the end is really near. Through The Alarmists, Hoesel explores this trend through his fiction and gives it a Christian viewpoint without an obvious religious interpretation. Unlike those Christian thrillers that focus on the mystical background of an event-the angels, demons, and other powers that may be intervening in world events-The Alarmists spotlights real events and motivations, along with the truly human evil that can set such events in motion. Yet faith plays its part in the characters' lives, changing their interaction and interpretation of the events over the course of the novel. Without a doubt, The Alarmists will appeal to Christian and non-Christian fans of suspense and drama, including fiction regarding the end of the world.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. All opinions in this review are my own.
Posted April 8, 2011
I Also Recommend:
I had the privilege of interviewing Don Hoesel, on our radio show "Kingdom Highlights", for his new book, "The Alarmists", published by Bethany House Publishers.
This book begins in the very real future of November, 2012. A special military group is investigating something in Ethiopia when they are savagely attacked. They are able to turn away their attackers but their investigation is called off. Then Brent Michaels, a Sociology professor, is called to Washington to assist them in tracking events that are cause for concern. While he is assigned to them at the Pentagon his liaison is Captain Amy Madigan and together they begin to break down the data the team have discovered on their many missions.
What they discover is that someone is manipulating circumstances to manipulate stocks and cause certain businesses to flourish. These manipulated events are set to occur within the timeframe of the end of the Mayan calendar which certain individuals are predicting could cause the end of the world. Because of this alarm fear is being spread all over the world and, if these manipulated events are not stopped, could cause "The breakdown of civilization" as Colonel Richards puts it.
The events that happen within the next month cause the team to practically travel all over the world. "The Alarmists" is a page-turner, heart-racing, action, suspense thriller. The team have no idea who they are up against however the opposition know who they are and take plans to eliminate them. Deadly danger, international intrigue, Military Intelligence and a plan to control the world await you within these pages. On top of all of that there is the romance between Captain Madigan and Dr. Michaels.
There are some wonderful themes in this book. Each of the main characters have something that they have brought from their childhood that cause them to do certain actions. They represent all of us as we also have things from our upbringing that we bring into our adulthood and then either we address them and heal or we do not and, sometimes, cause chaos. Don't start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down or stop thinking about it. I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to Don Hoesel's next adrenaline rush.
If you missed the interview for "The Alarmists" and would like to listen to it and/or would like to hear the previous interview where we discussed "Elija's Bones" please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.
To listen to 24 Christian music please visit our internet radio station Kingdom Airwaves
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Posted April 4, 2011
The world sits anxiously awaiting the outcome of December 21, 2012. Some places around the world are in panic mode, hording supplies, clearing out store shelves and acquiring any spare cash that they can, just in case.
We all know about the end of the Mayan calendar. People are speculating whether or not that will be the end of the world as we now know it. Some believe it's a religious sign of the times, perhaps the coming of the promised Savior the Bible speaks of. Others believe that nothing will happen except the same thing that happens every other day.
Yet the probability also exists that if one could make events happen to suggest that the myth of the end of the world on 12/21/12, isn't a myth after all, and provide evidence to convince people that the world is going to end, one could also stand to reason that there could be money to be made in it all.
Think about the panic generated on the coming weeks before Y2K. Some believed things would change, others thought it was a prolific sign of the end times and yet others believed nothing would change. We all know what happened, but what would have happened if 9/11 occurred on the eve on Y2K? Chaos? Panic?
Perhaps someone watched the way the world reacted and realized that should something happen again, there would be money in it.
Brent Michaels is a professor of sociology whose unique skill is seeing the order in the chaos of human interaction. When a special group of military scientists led by Colonel James Richards contracts Brent to work with his team, what they uncover will lead them to discover that someone is out there trying to play God.
I received the book The Alarmists by Don Hoesel compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. This one had me hanging by the edge of my seat. The reader is taken along a journey with Dr. Michaels to uncover seemingly uneventful circumstances happening all over the world that when viewed by themselves reveals nothing, such as an oil refinery fire. However when Dr. Michaels links the events together, you can see that a master puppeteer is manipulating world wide events in order to make a profit while causing global panic in light of the looming December 21st prophecy. I would rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars for the thrill ride alone!!