The 19th Element

The 19th Element

by John L. Betcher

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940011802805
Publisher: John L. Betcher
Publication date: 01/05/2012
Series: The James Becker Suspense/Thriller Series , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 295
Sales rank: 238,318
File size: 395 KB

About the Author

Bestselling Author, John L. Betcher, holds a Bachelor's Degree, cum laude, in English from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis. He has practiced law for more than twenty-five years in the Mississippi River community of Red Wing, Minnesota. Mr. Betcher has published an award-winning series of "Becker" suspense/thriller novels. The first five are THE 19TH ELEMENT, THE MISSING ELEMENT, THE COVERT ELEMENT, THE EXILED ELEMENT and THE CRITICAL ELEMENT. He has also authored the award-winning spiritual phenomenon, A HIGHER COURT.

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The 19th Element: A James Becker Nuclear Thriller 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
EsquireJack More than 1 year ago
Most exciting thriller ending I can remember. And that says something!!!
DouglasDorow More than 1 year ago
John Betcher has written a realistic, page-turning, pulse pounding thriller. The 19th Element is a thriller full of details to make you feel you are part of the story from beginning to end as the hero, Beck, uses his brains rather than brawn to defeat the terrorists. I'm glad there are more books to read in the series because I'm hungry for more.
Jerry_Hanel_Author More than 1 year ago
Being a writer myself, I found this book a good read. It had all of the points of a great thriller. Terrorists. Facts that are so real you can touch them. Details about how we have become so complacent in our day-to day lives that we forget how clever people who might want to harm us could be. The characters were believable and well designed. In his novel, John shows us his main character nicknamed James (aka Beck), and his wife Beth living in the small town of Red Wing, Minnesota. James and Beth were former agents for the US government, now retired and trying to live out a peaceful life with their daughters. That is, until a terrorist group decides to blow up a nearby nuclear plant, sending poisonous gasses across half of the continent. Beck puts a series of seemingly random incidents around town together and the big picture starts to emerge. He enlists the help of several friends in the area. The scary part is that John has done his homework. The threat of such an event happening is laid out in such stark detail that you could see how easily it could be done if we let our guard down. That¿s probably the most engaging part of the whole story. It really could happen. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The ending was action-packed and filled with the kinds of details that kept me wanting more. But to get to this fabulous ending, I found the first half of the book to be a series of very dry, heavy loads of technical overview. The writing in the first half seemed to be written in a different point of Mr. Betcher¿s writing journey in comparison to the last half of the book. In the beginning, the characters were formed very well, but the fact presentation was weak, making it more dry than enjoyable. I know that many readers who are looking for a ¿quick read before bed¿ or a treat to take on the train or commute to work will easily find themselves overwhelmed with the enormity of it all. The second problem I have with the story is probably a matter of style. That is to say, I wouldn¿t have handled some of the wording or dialogue that way. There were some stylistic choices that Mr. Betcher employed that only compounded the enormity of the first-half-info-dump. While strictly speaking, there was nothing wrong with the writing itself, these odd choices didn¿t help the reader get through the dry areas. The dialogue tags should never take you out of the story. In fact, they should be nearly invisible as you read. But occasionally ¿ I assume to increase the speed through an action or to keep the speakers straight in a room full of people ¿ Mr. Betcher employed a more script-style format for dialogue that seemed to pull me out of the story and remind me that I was merely the reader, still in my bedroom reading a book. If you are in the mood for a thriller that will leave you really thinking and watching the world around you with a fresh set of eyes, this book holds great potential. By the time I got to the end, I found that I REALLY enjoyed the story presented. Just be prepared to put in the time to see the whole story unfold, and look past some of the author¿s stylistic quirks. Pros: Great story. Realistic set-up. As scary and thought provoking as any story I¿ve read in recent years. Cons: A bit dry at times that makes plodding through difficult, and odd stylistic choices for dialogue that compounds the issue.
Scarlett60 More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be interesting and it did hold the readers attention but I am not fond of first person books so for me it was a difficult read. The character would have benefited from a third-person write because of the action sequences would have been more enjoyable. If you like first person then you will like this book.
FionaRobynIngram on LibraryThing 25 days ago
A murder, a suspect, a nuclear plant with a spent fuel reactor that no one wants to discuss, potassium, a terrorist plot and two stolen truckloads of fertilizer ¿ plus a couple of Mongolian goons makes for a thrilling race-against-time plot. The man to tie up the loose ends and resolve the case is none other than James ¿Beck¿ Becker, a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative who has retired to his childhood hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota, just six miles down the Mississippi from the Prairie River nuclear facility.When the body of a University professor of agronomy turns up on the Mississippi River bank, Beck suspects foul play of a terrorist kind. His instinct tells him there is a connection between the victim and his missing lab assistant Farris Ahmed, an international cell phone call and a stolen fertilizer truck, but no one believes him. After all, who could take seriously his suspicions of a potassium bomb attack on a nuclear plant facility? The local police, the FBI and the nuclear plant security scoff at his ideas until things start rolling and it looks as if there is only one way things will end ¿ in disaster. In fact Beck is not wrong. Al Qaeda plans to attack Minnesota¿s Prairie River Power Plant as a means to restore the organization¿s fading reputation to international prominence. It is indeed a motley crew that Beck finds himself up against: Al Qaeda has struggled to get Arab operatives into the nuclear facility and has resorted to using homegrown anarchists and a Three Mile Island survivor with a pathological vendetta against the nuclear establishment.The author has established a likeable character in James Becker, one who has appeared in a previous novel and will no doubt feature in future political thrillers. By handling much of the narration, Beck¿s character imbues the novel with his own style and personality. Beck is laid-back, with a dry sense of humor and an unerring instinct for danger. He trusts his gut and so do his friends, namely Ottawa County¿s Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, aka ¿Gunner¿ and Terry Red Feather, a full-blooded Mdewakanton Dakota American Indian, aka ¿Bull.¿ This book is an excellent read, with the author managing to steer the untutored reader through a maze of technical details about nuclear power and potassium bombs without losing attention. My one criticism would be that the story slows down in the middle with the author ¿telling¿ rather than ¿showing¿ but speeds up to a satisfying and thrilling climax. An interesting snippet is the fact that potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K (Neo-Latin kalium) and atomic number 19, hence the title of this book.First reviewed for ReadersFavorite.com
ReadersChoice on LibraryThing 25 days ago
The 19th Element-A James Becker ThrillerJohn L. Betcher978-1451521016Createspace (June 23, 2010) Told from the point-of-view of a former elite U.S. military intelligence operative, and the perspective of an Al Qaeda-backed terrorist cell, The 19th Element by John L. Betcher is a first rate psychological thriller that will hook your interest early and keep you reading non-stop until the final page. Although this is the second release in the series, The 19th Element takes place a few months prior to the author's debut, The Missing Element. James "Beck" Becker has settled into retirement and is attempting to live a normal life, putting his law degree to use with a legal practice in his hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota. Not much happens in the small town so when a scientist-professor of agriculture is found murdered and the only suspect, a lab assistant, is missing, Beck takes notice. Beck may be officially retired from government intelligence work, but he cannot ignore his training, experience, or gut reactions. When he discovers that the assistant is Arab he brings his theories to the local police. Ottawa County's Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, is somewhat aware of Beck¿s background and the pair has a friendship that goes back to school days. However, Gunderson is leery about starting a "terrorists in Red Wing panic" based on Beck's gut feelings and little hard evidence. When not one but two fertilizer trucks are hijacked, Beck begins to put the pieces together. He envisions an Oklahoma City-type bombing and the only target worth hitting would be the nearby Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant. Fearing a Chernobyl style meltdown, Beck continues his investigation despite the lack of support from any government agency or Gunderson. Beck has no faith in the FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), state police, or power plant security to ward off a terrorist attack and calls in his ex-military friend, Terry "Bull" Red Feather, for help. We meet perhaps the strangest sleeper cell imaginable. An Arab lab rat (desperate to show his worth to Al Qaeda) who is capable of turning a truck load of pot ash into a powerful bomb, and a pair of brainless, redneck anarchists led by a bitter and dying survivor of the 1979 Three Mile Island incident.The author brings all the players together for a tour de force final few dozen pages that make The 19th Element one of the most entertaining, exciting thrillers I've read in a long time. Becker is a character that you can cheer for. The banter between Beck and his wife, and Beck and Gunderson shows the author¿s substantial talent for writing dialogue. A relentless pace, quirky yet realistic dialogue, and fascinating, believable characters keep the pages turning. Considerable research, attention to detail, and a well-plotted story make this a memorable read. Highly recommended. By William Potter for Reader¿s Choice Book Reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good storyline, with enough action to keep it from dragging. Builds up the suspense toward the climax of the story, and will make you lose sleep reading till the end ! I highly recommend this story, and will look for other stories from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it strait thru then went and got the rest of the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dear John, I really don't want to write a discouraging review yet I have to ask you: where on earth were you raised and who taught you your values? Could it be you believe in Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny? Flat Story, boring characters (so beautiful, so cool, so in love with each other, so successful .. so flat! even how you explain their daisy flower sex) ... The plot could've been really interesting but you had to go with Santa Claus and his helpers characters ... Sorry. Not happy. And I read the whole book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A page turnrer mc
otterly More than 1 year ago
It seems that James Becker hasn't retired completely from the exciting life he led for the government, and his wife is still working with codes as well. When a Mongolian bad guy shows up at his daughter's college, he sets out to find the terrorist. There is a lengthy section dealing with making a bomb from fertilizer--which may be accurate, or not, The stealing of two fertilizer trucks by the boorish couple provides some comic relief. Can they stop the plan to fly a B24 into a power plant? Adventure lovers should like this book. I think I would read another in the series, and might even recommend it to our book group for discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First person thrillers dont work well for me but this book was weak in other ways for as well. Had this ebook cost me less than $4 i probably would not have been so disapointed, but at over $10, i would rather have read something else. I had a very difficult time pushing through this book.
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Martha-A-Cheves More than 1 year ago
Betcher Has Done it Again with his book The 19th Element - you've never been scared so "good!" The 19th Element - Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat "Gentlemen. You sit here in this room, insulated from reality, comfortable in your delusions that you are safe from international terrorism. In your imaginary world, your families are safe. Your neighbors are safe. We are all totally safe. Your delusions have led you to the conclusion that the nuclear catastrophe waiting to happen inside that fence across the parking lot is a fiction. Of course, you all know how extreme the consequences of a successful terrorist attack on the nuclear plant would be. But because of your fantasies, you discount the dangers - not only to yourselves and your loved ones, but to everyone in the eastern half of the United States and possibly beyond. But what if the worst possible scenario proves not to be a fantasy at all, but a deadly fact?" These words and more are spoken by James "Beck" Becker as he tries to convince a security group meeting at the Prairie River Nuclear Plant that there is very possibly a real threat of an attempt by Al Qaeda to run a plane full of explosives into their spent fuel pool. They simply aren't buying it. After the murder of a professor who had been experimenting with potassium turns up on the shores of the Mississippi, Beck started putting things together. When he learned the name of the professor's assistant, Farris Ahmed, he knew he was on to something big. After researching potassium, as well as the procedures taken to secure nuclear waste, Beck was positive that there would be an attack -- and the nuclear plant would be the target. But getting the attention of those responsible for security without appearing to be a total fool was almost impossible. In reading The 19th Element, I've had a quick enlightenment as to how power companies make power. I've learned what actually happens to "spent" nuclear fuel. I've also been educated on the true hatred that seeps from the influence of Al Qaeda. And to be totally honest with everyone, it scares the pure hell out of me! I can see the possibilities of a nuclear disaster such as the one envisioned in The 19th Element actually happening. My question is, are we truly prepared for this or anything even close to this happening? I can only pray that we are. The 19th Element is definitely a "wake-up America" book that we should all read and listen to.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
The 19th Element is an heart-pounding, pure adrenaline rush. I actually felt exhausted after reading it. This is probably one of the highest compliments that I could ever give. When I get so wrapped up in a book that I feel like I'm the main character, I know that I've read a winner! I loved this book!
ApexReviews More than 1 year ago
(Official Apex Reviews Rating: 4.5 Stars) When James "Beck" Becker, a former elite U.S. government intelligence operative, retires to his hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota, all he wants is to do is settle into a normal, routine life with his newly established law practice; however, when the body of a local university professor mysteriously turns up on the shores of the Mississippi River, Beck begins to suspect foul play. Shortly thereafter, the professor's assistant goes missing, two fertilizer trucks are hijacked and stolen, and even more strange events begin to unfold - putting Beck on high alert that something terrible is about to go down...little does he know, an all but forgotten terrorist organization has plans to re-launch itself on the international stage, and - unless Beck acts quickly enough to thwart their efforts - the small town of Red Wing will soon be the new Ground Zero... Rich with intrigue and mind-bending suspense, The 19th Element is a compelling read. Throughout the pages of his enrapturing new political thriller, author John Betcher takes the reader on a nonstop, action-packed ride of true-to-life adventure. Alternating between the perspectives of Beck and the terrorist cell, The 19th Element is sure to keep readers guessing as the plot thickens, the characters clash, and the winding tale ultimately unravels at breakneck pace. After all, as a nation, our collective memories of the horrors of 9/11 are not that far removed, and with the looming threat of terror attacks omnipresent in our daily lives, Betcher does an effective job of reminding the reader - like Beck - to stay ever vigilant, lest the wounds of the past are tragically reopened... An entertaining read. Josee Morgan Apex Reviews
WRP68 More than 1 year ago
Told from the point-of-view of a former elite U.S. military intelligence operative, and the perspective of an Al Qaeda-backed terrorist cell, The 19th Element by John L. Betcher is a first rate psychological thriller that will hook your interest early and keep you reading non-stop until the final page. Although this is the second release in the series, The 19th Element takes place a few months prior to the author's debut, The Missing Element. James "Beck" Becker has settled into retirement and is attempting to live a normal life, putting his law degree to use with a legal practice in his hometown of Red Wing, Minnesota. Not much happens in the small town so when a scientist-professor of agriculture is found murdered and the only suspect, a lab assistant, is missing, Beck takes notice. Beck may be officially retired from government intelligence work, but he cannot ignore his training, experience, or gut reactions. When he discovers that the assistant is Arab he brings his theories to the local police. Ottawa County's Chief Deputy Sheriff, Doug Gunderson, is somewhat aware of Beck's background and the pair has a friendship that goes back to school days. However, Gunderson is leery about starting a "terrorists in Red Wing panic" based on Beck's gut feelings and little hard evidence. When not one but two fertilizer trucks are hijacked, Beck begins to put the pieces together. He envisions an Oklahoma City-type bombing and the only target worth hitting would be the nearby Prairie River Nuclear Power Plant. Fearing a Chernobyl style meltdown, Beck continues his investigation despite the lack of support from any government agency or Gunderson. Beck has no faith in the FBI, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), state police, or power plant security to ward off a terrorist attack and calls in his ex-military friend, Terry "Bull" Red Feather, for help. We meet perhaps the strangest sleeper cell imaginable. An Arab lab rat (desperate to show his worth to Al Qaeda) who is capable of turning a truck load of pot ash into a powerful bomb, and a pair of brainless, redneck anarchists led by a bitter and dying survivor of the 1979 Three Mile Island incident. The author brings all the players together for a tour de force final few dozen pages that make The 19th Element one of the most entertaining, exciting thrillers I've read in a long time. Becker is a character that you can cheer for. The banter between Beck and his wife, and Beck and Gunderson shows the author's substantial talent for writing dialogue. A relentless pace, quirky yet realistic dialogue, and fascinating, believable characters keep the pages turning. Considerable research, attention to detail, and a well-plotted story make this a memorable read. Highly recommended. By William Potter for Reader's Choice Book Reviews Review copy provided by author.