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An suspenseful story that grabs you from the beginning with unrelenting tension throughout.


SUMMARY August 6 started out as any other day for Control Room Supervisor Trace Crane. It was a hot summer morning and Trace had been in the office, sitting at his metal desk with his favorite mug, filled with coffee, since six am. At 8:27am an earthquake registering 6.4 on the Richter scale hits Peekskill NY, an area just 35 miles from New York City. The Bear Mountain Energy Center was hit hard, and the control room for Reactor three is in chaos. Alarms lights are flashing red all over the control room and sirens are blaring. Trace’s nuclear operators are in panic mode. Reactor pressure is dropping, coolant is falling, feed water is down and there is a fire in the auxiliary building.

Trace, with fifteen years experience, fights to save the reactor, while his wife Avi searches for their daughter, Brooklyn, who had been at daycare when the earthquake hit. The roads are impassable and communication lines are down. As the condition of the reactor plummets and radiation is released into the environment, Trace is left to choose between saving the nuclear plant, and the 20 million residents of the New York City metro area or finding his family and saving himself.

REVIEW MELT DOWN grabs you from the beginning and the intensity and tension rarely lets up. Chapters alternate between Trace and Avi, documenting their parallel experiences, giving two different perspectives. The writing is good, although there were a couple of places that Trace’s thought processes or mindset was a little overdone. Trace and Avi were both well developed characters. Trace’s feeling and raw emotions were evident throughout the book. I particularly appreciated Avi’s strength and fortitude in overcoming obstacles in looking for Brooklyn and getting out of the city.

Let me preface my next comments by saying in a previous life I was a utility company regulator. I have been in several nuclear plants and am familiar with the required safety regulations, requirements and NRC’s daily oversight of each plant. The lack of maintenance described in the book is unrealistic. There is no doubt earthquakes can happen and maybe a scenario like this could occur, but it is doubtful it will be from lack of maintenance at a nuclear plant. The more I read the more I felt like I was reading another anti-nuclear energy scare-tactic propaganda. Author GP JAMES Is a “multi-faceted creator living in Los Angeles, crafting works that explore social awareness and the human psyche - delving into the nature of reality, consciousness and existential questions faced by many. He has written four screenplays and two novels and several volumes of poetry.” Thanks to NetGalley, Wyatt-MacKenzie and GP James for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Book publication date May 15, 2018.

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