The Second Law, Lynn Dayton Thriller #3
L. A. Starks
Nemaha Ridge Publishing Group, LLC
"The Second Law is a Lynn Dayton thriller revolving around a new challenge in Lynn's job as a top refining executive working in the busy San Francisco Bay Area. What seems like a puzzling computer glitch could turn out to be sabotage, and too many false alarms are undermining the safety warning system of the refinery, among other odd problems. Only this time the siren's warning isn't another false alarm, but a portent of the biggest disaster Lynn has yet to face: one which has roots in China and connections with California's oil history.
"As the story moves to New Orleans, the challenges of risk management, Arch Webber's involvement as a top lease bidding specialist, and Reese's assistance in Lynn's investigation, it probes both domestic and overseas special interests, influences, and powerful forces that threaten not just one refinery operation, but the energy grid of interconnected power.
"As near-deadly encounters with everything from bears and murderers escalate, Lynn begins to understand that someone has targeted not only refinery operations, but individual lives. Her encounters with hit men after her and whoever is with her and China's involvement in creating an oil emergency they could vastly profit from makes for a riveting blend of murder mystery and international espionage thriller.
"Disintegrating safety systems, attacks, oil executive murders and traitors from within coalesce into a spellbinding story that moved between the San Francisco Bay Area, China, and New Orleans, exploring the special talents and interests of a host of intersecting characters whose lives are all dictated by special interests.
"The result is a compelling thriller that's hard to put down, absorbingly powerful in both characterization and plot and filled with satisfying twists and turns that introduce readers to the world of not just refinery safety and operations, but high-stakes international intrigue between groups holding special government interests at the heart of their actions.
"Readers who enjoy stories of mystery, murder, mayhem and espionage will relish the intricate, complex yet highly accessible series of events The Second Law unfolds."
--D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
A top refining executive searching for the group sabotaging her company faces murder and deceit in this third installment of a series.
Lynn Dayton is at TriCoast Energy's San Francisco refinery to check on an apparent computer glitch generating false alarms. But there's suddenly a genuine emergency, and an explosion results in the deaths of three TriCoast employees. Lynn surmises that someone has hacked the refinery's control system. And indeed, readers know that over in Beijing, Cong Li heads a company that orchestrates cyberattacks and is currently focusing on TriCoast. Lynn and other executives beef up security, which entails self-defense training and bodyguards. This unfortunately doesn't prevent a TriCoast employee's suspicious death in New Orleans or an incident involving a missing laptop with pertinent company information that later turns up on the darknet. Investigators eventually get a name or two that points the finger at Chinese and possibly Russian involvement, but that doesn't exactly explain the motive for concentrating on TriCoast. As security breaches against the company's additional refineries continue, assassins unmistakably have Lynn and others in their crosshairs. Perhaps even more frightening is Lynn's discovery that there's likely a mole inside TriCoast who's been aiding the murderous baddies. Starks (Strike Price, 2014, etc.) wisely provides the villains' perspective from the beginning. This fosters unremitting suspense throughout, as, for example, readers learn Lynn is an assassination target well before she does. The author's narrative typically consists of characters' scrupulous discussions about the company's predicament, including the ongoing killings and cyberattacks. This leads to some reiteration of particulars most already know but also keeps a plot that's brimming with numerous characters and locations from becoming too convoluted. At the same time, a couple of deaths are unpredictable as well as dramatically impactful. Lynn is a no-nonsense and competent female protagonist. The story reveals a welcome tender side through her husband, Cy, and her beloved stepchildren, but, at least in this volume, their appearances are sadly few.
Spirited characters, both good and bad, populate this engaging, often surprising thriller.