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Abyss (Kirk McGarvey Series #15)

Abyss (Kirk McGarvey Series #15)

4.2 33
by David Hagberg

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It's a pleasant summer afternoon in the Gulf Stream, twenty-five miles off Hutchinson Island on Florida's east coast. NOAA scientist Dr. Eve Larsen is about to prove she has the answers to global warming, and the solution to stopping killer storms across the planet. She is a part of a multi-trillion dollar, multinational project to farm clean, endless energy from


It's a pleasant summer afternoon in the Gulf Stream, twenty-five miles off Hutchinson Island on Florida's east coast. NOAA scientist Dr. Eve Larsen is about to prove she has the answers to global warming, and the solution to stopping killer storms across the planet. She is a part of a multi-trillion dollar, multinational project to farm clean, endless energy from the oceans' currents--and alter the planet's weather for the better.

At that moment, contract killer Brian DeCamp walks into the Hutchinson Island Nuclear Power Station, aiming to cause a meltdown so catastrophic it'll make Chernobyl seem like nothing. Security cam footage leads to an intervention by legendary former CIA director Kirk McGarvey, who manages to thwart the catastrophe...but the failed sabotage sets off a chain of events more terrifying than McGarvey could ever have imagined. With Big Oil ruthlessly hunting for profit after the BP disaster in the Gulf, the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2010's The Cabal, former CIA director Kirk McGarvey suffered the loss of his immediate family. His CIA agent son-in-law, Todd, was murdered, then McGarvey's wife and daughter were killed by an IED that exploded at Todd's Arlington Cemetery funeral. After avenging their deaths, McGarvey retreated to a lonely island to grieve. Now, in Hagberg's solid if overlong 15th Kirk McGarvey adventure, McGarvey, who was once a CIA assassin, is back in the real world helping train others in the deadly arts. When villains sabotage a science experiment involving giant undersea impellers able to generate enough electricity to do away with America's reliance on foreign oil, McGarvey investigates. This new technology, developed by Dr. Eve Larsen, threatens to economically gut the world's oil producers, so trouble is in store for Eve, and only McGarvey can keep her and her innovative technology alive. Readers will cheer as the doughty McGarvey puts aside his personal problems, shoulders the load, and soldiers on. (June)
From the Publisher

“A knockout.” —Douglas Preston, New York Times bestselling author of Impact

“A timely and frightening novel. Readers will be left thinking, This could really happen.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Abyss is a wake-up call about our energy addiction. Inventive, dramatic, with jaw-dropping new energy ideas, you won't be able to put it down.” —Former United States Senator Byron L. Dorgan

“Readers will cheer as the doughty McGarvey puts aside his personal problems, shoulders the load, and soldiers on.” —Publishers Weekly on Abyss

Kirkus Reviews

Ex-CIA chief Kirk McGarvey fends off charlatans and terrorists in this exciting and largely plausible eco-thriller.

Powerful oil interests concoct a plot to make all other forms of energy repugnant to the public, and where better to begin than with destroying a nuclear power plant? That done and the public duly frightened, the conspirators turn on Dr. Evelyn Larsen, a scientist who has devised a plan to supply energy using non-polluting ocean power. The public face of the anti-everything-but-oil campaign is a cynical preacher with presidential ambitions, while behind the scenes a South African mercenary spills plenty of blood with exceeding skill. McGarvey is a smart, level-headed hero whose most effective weapon is his brain as he matches wits with some highly talented criminals. Quite a few characters are introduced before McGarvey finally walks onstage in Chapter Eight, and that seems to fit his relatively modest temperament. The pacing is good, though occasionally the momentum hiccups for an explanation of a new character's background. One man's speech tic has him often saying, "honest injun, kemo sabe," an expression that should have been retired with Tonto and the Lone Ranger. Also, an important female character likes to demean the Nobel Prize–winning Larsen as "the lady scientist," which feels both irritating and implausible, though one of the two women may turn out to be McGarvey's love interest. Other than those few quirks, the book moves along well and would make an entertaining movie with plenty of great visual effects.

Given the BP oil spill and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster,this is a timely and frightening novel. Readers will be left thinking,This could really happen.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
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Kirk McGarvey Series , #15
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Read an Excerpt


By David Hagberg

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2011 David Hagberg
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7159-1


Brian DeCamp, forty-three, slender with thinning sand-colored hair, unremarkable in looks and stature, parked his rental Ford Taurus next to a tour bus in the visitors center of the Hutchinson Island Nuclear Power Plant on Florida's east coast eighty miles north of Miami. It was a few minutes before noon on a sunny day, but driving up along A1A, the highway that paralleled the ocean, he'd not really noticed the beaches or the occasional stretches of pretty scenery. Instead he'd mentally prepared himself for what was coming next.

Prepare first, shoot second, and you might just live to return to base. Never underestimate your enemy. Kill whenever, wherever the chance presents itself. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy. Wage total war, not police actions.

He'd learned those lessons from his days as a young lieutenant in the South African Defence Force's Buffalo Battalion.

The Battalion's primary mission had been to fight a brutal unconventional war behind enemy lines in Angola. And he'd been damned good, so that when he finally walked away seventeen years ago when the South African government had betrayed the unit by disbanding it and disavowing its tactics, he'd been one of the most decorated and youngest full bird colonels in any South African unit.

And he'd been a bitter man because he'd been forced to leave the intense camaraderie and esprit de corps of men who had shared the fighting and violent deaths with a sense of purpose; the holy zeal for the motherland, for the empire.

In the end the Battalion's ideal had arisen from a letter a Roman centurion had written to a cousin back in Rome when the center began to fall apart:

Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire.

If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on the desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions!

He got out of the car and headed across to the low building called Energy Encounter that served as the facility's visitors center and he was still surprised at how easy it had been to get permission for a tour of the plant, though it had taken him the better part of the year to put everything together before he'd applied. It was silly, actually, after 9/11, for Homeland Security and the National Nuclear Security Administration to be so lax with such vulnerable targets that had the potential for destruction and loss of lives a hundred times worse than the World Trade Center.

He'd gotten the first call eight days ago from Achmed bin Helbawi, who'd reported that everything at the plant was in readiness. The Semtex and detonators were in place along with the weapons he'd smuggled in piece by piece over the past weeks. The Saudi- and French-educated New al-Quaeda operative had worked at the plant as an engineer in the control room for ten months under the name Thomas Forcier, and already he'd built up a reputation as an intelligent, cheerful, and reliable employee. Everyone liked Tom. He'd made no enemies.

DeCamp's application for a tour had required a social security number, which he'd supplied under the name Robert Benson, a high school teacher from San Francisco. The name and the number were legitimate, but Benson was dead, his disappearance not yet reported because he was on vacation. In fact, that part of the op had been the most difficult to figure out. DeCamp had hacked into the databases of several San Francisco high schools before coming up with a dozen possibilities — teachers about the right size and build, who were single and lived alone. And it had taken even longer to find out who would be leaving town at the right time.

Benson, who was a homosexual, fit the bill, and two nights before he was scheduled to fly to Hawaii, DeCamp had followed him from a gay bar back to his apartment. Posing as an interested guy from the club, DeCamp got into the apartment without a fuss, had broken the man's neck, and then telephoned Delta Airlines to cancel his flight.

That same night DeCamp had sealed the body in a plastic sheet with duct tape so that no odors of decomposition would escape to alert the neighbors and stuffed the body in the bedroom closet.

He took Benson's identification and laptop to his hotel, where in the morning he went online to apply for a tour pass, which came three days later. After he'd altered his appearance with hair dye and glasses and then Benson's driver's license, substituting his own photograph, he'd left for Miami to wait for the final call from bin Helbawi giving the time and date that the next large tour group was scheduled.

The power plant's twin pressurized water reactors, housed in a pair of heavily reinforced containment buildings like giant farm silos, dominated the facility that sprawled over an 1,100-acre site on Hutchinson Island, which looked more like some manufacturing operation than an electrical generating station. A maze of buildings were interconnected by large piping, umbilical cords that sent nonradioactive steam from inside the containment domes to the turbines and generators, returning the cooled steam back to the heat exchanger attached to the reactor. Two wide canals brought seawater for cooling from the ocean just across the highway.

Producing 1,700 megawatts, the plant supplied a significant portion of Florida's power needs, and should there ever be an accidental release of nuclear materials, which would happen in about four hours, more than 140,000 people in a ten-mile radius would have to be evacuated or be in trouble.

That part of the operation was of no interest to DeCamp because by then he would be flying first class aboard a Delta jet back to Paris and from there by train to his home in the south of France where he could return to his flower gardens and pastoral existence.

It was just noon when he presented his visitor's pass and driver's license to one of the women behind the counter in the busy lobby of what looked like one of the attractions at Disney's Epcot. An animated model of the facility took up an adjacent room, and everywhere on the walls and scattered around the center were interactive flat-screen televisions, models of atoms and other displays where people, either not taking the tour or who had already been, were wandering. A group of middle school children and their chaperones were doing something at several computer screens, and overall there was a muted buzz of conversation. No one was speaking much above a whisper. Just out the door and through the secured area fences were a pair of nuclear reactors, practically atomic bombs in some people's minds, devices that were even holier and scarier than churches. This was a place of respect and awe.

The clerk compared the photograph to DeCamp's face then laid it on a card reader, which was connected to a nationwide police database, something DeCamp had already done. Benson had come up clean.

When she was finished she looked up and smiled. "You have a choice, sir. You can join the Orlando tour, which starts in ten minutes, or wait for the next regular one, which begins at two. You might want to wait because the two o'clock has four people booked. The noon has eighteen. And the one o'clock is just for the schoolchildren."

DeCamp nodded. "Actually I'm supposed to be in Jacksonville later this afternoon, so if it's okay I'll tag along with the Orlando group."

"Yes, sir."

She handed him a packet of materials containing cutaway diagrams of the plant's reactors, turbines, and generators, as well as a map of the site, all the buildings and their functions, including the main control room in the South Service Building, labeled, which was incredible, and DeCamp had to suppress a smile. He was here to damage the facility, and they had given him a blueprint of the bloody place.

"You'll need this as well," she said, handing him a bright orange visitor's pass on a lanyard. "Please keep it around your neck and in plain sight at all times. Our Barker security people get nervous otherwise."

"Of course," DeCamp said.

As well they should. It hadn't been difficult to dredge up profiles on most of the two dozen or so security people and any number of so-called security lapses over the past eight or ten years, including the shortcuts that guards on patrol routinely took, apparently because they'd wanted to get back inside and watch television. Early in 2003 some new fuel containers had been delivered to the plant aboard a flatbed truck, which was parked just outside the radiologically controlled area (RCA) fence. But the containers were sealed at only one end, and no one had bothered to search them before they were admitted too close to the containment domes and the RCA backyard and one of the fuel-handling buildings. And this had been going on for some time before that incident. The year before, Barker's people doing access control duty let an unauthorized visitor into the protected area of the plant where he somehow managed to get inside the South Service Building without an escort and without being challenged.

The only really good improvement was the closed-circuit television system, with cameras in a lot of the sensitive areas. That information had not been available online, of course, but bin Helbawi had sent him a detailed sketch map of the camera locations, which he memorized, and for a hefty price a Swiss engineer, with whom he'd done business before, had supplied him with a device that could freeze any camera for a few seconds at a time. Disguised as an ordinary cell phone, entering 000 then * would activate the clever circuit, yet the device actually worked as a cell phone.

The tour group people, most of them middle-aged men and women, not too different in appearance from DeCamp, were passing through an electronic security arch one by one, after first putting their wallets, keys, watches, and cell phones into little plastic containers that were sent through a scanner. It was the same sort of setup used in airports, and just as easy to foil.

Putting the visitor's pass around his neck, DeCamp joined the queue, where he placed his wallet, watch, cell phone, and money clip with a few hundred dollars into a plastic tray, and when it was his turn he stepped through the arch under the watchful eye of an unarmed security guard in uniform.

Besides the man seated behind the scanner examining what was coming through in the plastic buckets, two other security guards stood to one side as the tour group gathered in front of an attractive young woman dressed in a khaki skirt and a blue blazer with the insignia of Sunshine State Power & Light on the left breast. She was smiling brightly and DeCamp noticed the two guards watching her rather than the people in the tour group, and he thought that it was a wonder that this place hadn't been hit yet. No one here seemed to think that such a thing was possible, let alone feasible.

"Welcome to Sunshine State Power and Light's Hutchinson Island Nuclear Power Plant," the young woman said when DeCamp and everyone else had recovered their belongings from the scanner. "My name is Debbie Winger — just like the movie actress."

A few of the men in the group chuckled.

"I'll be your guide for this afternoon's ninety-minute tour. But before we get started I need to go over a few ground rules with you. This is a working electrical generating facility, and therefore some areas are strictly off limits — simply because they're too dangerous. So, rule number one, everyone stick together and no wandering off on your own. Once we go out the door behind me, you'll be given hard hats. So, rule number two is that you wear them at all times." Her smile widened even further. "If you have a question, please don't hesitate to ask. And the last rule is, enjoy the tour."


Gail Newby looked down from the executive gallery at the tour group on the main floor of the South Service Building. The security people at the visitors center had presumably checked their credentials before the young tour guide had brought them over here, and when she was finished with her short spiel she would be bringing them upstairs and down the corridor past the conference room to the big plate-glass windows that looked down on the complex control room where the real work of the station was accomplished.

"Craziness," Gail muttered, and she was reminded of her heated discussion last week with plant manager Bob Townsend about the recent spate of security lapses. As independent chief of security, which meant she did not work for Barker Security, Inc., but directly for the National Nuclear Security Administration, NNSA, it was her job to oversee the overall safety of the plant. In that she was second in command only to Townsend, a fact he had sharply reminded her of again yesterday.

At thirty-eight, she was a slightly built woman with short dark hair, coal-black eyes, and wide glasses framing her pretty, oval face. She'd graduated magna cum laude from the University of Minnesota with degrees in criminology and business, and then four years later graduated number three from Harvard's law school. And as one of her classmates whom she'd dated during most of her freshman year said, she was definitely a case of beauty and brains if he'd ever seen one. But driven. He'd called her "the Ice Maiden," which had stuck with her the entire four years.

Her assistant, Lawrence Wager, also an NNSA employee, came down the corridor from the conference room where he'd set up the security arrangements for the meeting of a bunch of SSP&L top brass and a NOAA egghead from Princeton, which had just started a couple of minutes ago.

"Looks like we're running Grand Central Station," he said, leaning on the rail next to her.

Wager, in his early forties, was an ex-New York City gold shield cop who'd been forced into retirement after he'd been shot during a domestic dispute on the Upper West Side. He and Gail got along very well because their ideas about security were practically the same. They both had the cop mentality, his from twenty years on the force, and hers because she'd been raised by her father, a Minneapolis cop who'd been killed in the line of duty, and because of her background with the FBI.

She glanced up. "You got Townsend and everybody settled in?"

He nodded. "Could be blood on the table before it's done. She wants to close us down."

"Never happen."

"Why's that?"

"First rule of business — never screw with a moneymaking concern."

Wager, who was even shorter than Gail with a featherweight boxer's build and the square-jawed, no-nonsense television docudrama profile of the quintessential cop that in fact had landed his face in police recruitment posters and literature all through his career, had to laugh. "Until somebody decides to build a better mousetrap. Anyway, this place gives me the willies."

"Yeah, it affects a lot of people that way."

"But not you."

She shrugged. "The chances of getting hit by lightning are ten million times greater than this place turning into another Chernobyl. Our guys already know how to build the better mousetrap."

"How about Three Mile Island?"

"Different type of reactor, along with what was probably sloppy management," Gail said.

Because whatever disagreements she'd had, and in some ways still had, with Townsend they were never about operations, he had a first-class staff of engineers and safety experts here. But security had become a big enough concern in all 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S. that the NNSA had hired people like her and Wager for oversight. These tours were her one bone of contention with Townsend, who had bent under pressure from Homeland Security to allow public tours in order to prove that there was nothing to fear from a terrorist attack.

The New al-Quaeda had some sophisticated people out there looking for the right opportunity to strike the U.S. in a way that would be on par with 9/ll. The CIA had been warning the director of U.S. Intelligence that the terrorists had become almost frantic in their efforts to hit us, because since bin Laden had faded from sight al-Quaeda had lost its luster. The opportunity was ripe for something to happen, even though the Agency was expending a great deal of its resources to stop such an act, which in itself was worrisome to Gail. The CIA had blinders on, paying too much attention to the evolution of bin Laden's followers instead of monitoring the bigger picture, looking for our weaknesses, watching for the unexpected attack to come from a completely unexpected direction.


Excerpted from Abyss by David Hagberg. Copyright © 2011 David Hagberg. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

DAVID HAGBERG is a former Air Force cryptographer who has traveled extensively in Europe, the Arctic, and the Caribbean and has spoken at CIA functions. He has published more than twenty novels of suspense, including the bestselling Allah's Scorpion, Dance With the Dragon and The Expediter. He makes his home in Sarasota, Florida.

David Hagberg is a New York Times bestselling author who has published numerous novels of suspense, including his bestselling thrillers featuring former CIA director Kirk McGarvey, which include Abyss, The Cabal, The Expediter, and Allah’s Scorpion. He has earned a nomination for the American Book Award, three nominations for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award and three Mystery Scene Best American Mystery awards. He has spent more than thirty years researching and studying US-Soviet relations during the Cold War. Hagberg joined the Air Force out of high school, and during the height of the Cold War, he served as an Air Force cryptographer. He attended the University of Maryland and University of Wisconsin. Born in Duluth, Minnesota, he now lives with his wife Laurie in Sarasota, Florida.

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Abyss 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the most intense of the series, but I really enjoyed the dark portrayal of big oil vs. environmentalism. Makes you stop and wonder about what powerful foes green energy has in the real world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a major David Hagberg fan since high school. This book,however was an utter disappointment . Loaded up with politically correct crap about global warming, the book dragged through page after page of tepid dialogue with little action. Nor could anyone believe that any person who was the former director of the CIA would end up working as a solo security guard. Do not spend your money. Sharklawyer
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Im locked out.
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The pup oved forward
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A grey wolf pads on "Hello." She said to Midnight
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He nodded saying "All mau join and go to 'Abysw' no typo and read rules and ranks and map before making bio. You all starting as Apprentices"
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harstan More than 1 year ago
NOAA scientist Dr. Eve Larsen and her multinational team are conducting experiments to harness currents off the Florida coast in the Gulf Stream as a means to create a new cheap energy source. She believes she has developed the technology to reduce the reliance on oil, end global warming and eliminate monstrous storms; the world supports her research with trillions. Contract killer Brian DeCamp enters the Hutchinson Island Nuclear Power Station with plans to cause a meltdown exponentially worse than Chernobyl. Former CIA director Kirk McGarvey, still grieving over the recent deaths of his son, wife and daughter (see Cabal), prevents the disaster from occurring. However, Big Oil has turned to the Gulf Stream experiment to insure that ocean current power fails. McGarvey still grieves the deaths of his loved ones, but keeping Eve and her technology safe gives the dedicated retired agent a reason to return to the living as once a field operative always a filed operative. Action-packed from the onset and overall fast-paced though some stretches of the story line seem decelerated, readers will enjoy the return of psychologically damaged McGarvey as the Caribbean assignment allows him to move on a little though he will take to his grave the pain of the deaths of his wife and adult children. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thankyou. Heads to fourth result. Claw
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Is my lovely mate Shadow here? Sorry l've been gone...vacation. XP
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