Extreme Low Frequency (ELF) conspiracies have existed for some time. Buried deep beneath federal agencies as one of the darkest black programs, technologies tapping it can theoretically target individuals and groups (with or without implants) to be used for mind control, physiological damage, electronic failures, weather manipulation, and free energy.
ELF was initially discovered by Nikola Tesla. And some say he was extremely close to collecting the natural ELF produced by the planet. It also occurs around power lines and has been explored for weaponization in the past. Such well-intended latter purposes are partly tapped in Patrick Lee's techno-thriller Ghost Country.
Ghost Country combines conspiracy, time travel, and the fantastic.
Although Ghost Country can stand alone as a novel, it relies in part on the deeply rich universe created in Lee's first novel, The Breach. The original debut thriller focused on what would happen if people had access to technology millions of years advanced.
One of these fantastic technologies, tied to time travel, accidentally uncovers a conspiracy on a grand scale. Someone wants to reset the world and, based on a glimpse of the world 70 years into the future, has either succeeded or failed miserably.
Paige Campbell is one of the first to see an empty world, already being reclaimed by nature. The explanation is anything but nuclear. While eroded, buildings stand empty and some cities are inexplicably without cars as if everyone had stopped what they were doing and drove away. What's worse is that she knows whatever happens will happen in a few months in the present timeline.
What would you do with only a few months to kill?
Faced with the terrifying prospect, Campbell and her colleagues share the information with the President of the United States. Shortly after the meeting, the motorcade is attacked by heavily armed professional soldiers or special forces. As a last act of desperation, Campbell makes an urgent call to Yuma, Arizona, where a top secret underground facility lies.
The call is received by young new hire Bethany Stewart, who is told to seek out Travis Chase, an ex-cop, ex-convict and principal protagonist in the first book. While it's oddly forced that Campbell would want to re-recruit the original reluctant hero, it proves effective enough for the people in the story.
Ghost Country is an extremely fast and furious plot-driven read. While the characters are never fully developed, a criticism some pointed out in The Breach, Lee asks new readers to make even more allowances for sometimes trite motivations. Fortunately, the ride makes it worthwhile anyway.
Where Lee does shortcut relationships and character development like a screenplay writer might, he makes up for it in allowing time travel to result across multiple timelines, the logic of the best intentions resulting in evil deeds, and conspiracies to contemplate by tapping technologies theorized and perhaps tested by governments. People who read The Breach will also be happy to see at least one loose end tightened if not tied up somewhat.
A short abstract on the author, Patrick Lee
Lee is a welcome new voice in techno-thriller science adventure, especially because he takes pride in having spent some time as a slacker who was more interested in Nintendo and selling scripts to Hollywood that were never produced.
However, Lee put his other time to good use, writing novels. Expect more from him. With several ideas, along with an endless supply of uninvented technologies appearing daily and Lee's ability to keep people turning pages, he'll only get better.
Ghost Country By Patrick Lee Ends The World At 4.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
As an entertainment-only read, Ghost Country works. His brief descriptions of technology open up some contemplative ideas but leave no time to explore some of the concepts against the backdrop of an action novel. The style is much closer to a spy thriller with a few cliches than science fiction, but at least Lee knows how to wrap up a fun read and still make you wonder when another installment might be released.
Ghost Country by Patrick Lee is available on Amazon and the book is available from Barnes & Noble. The audio version of Ghost Country is available on iTunes. Read by Jeff Gurner, the opening chapters have some very audible inhales in between sentence breaks but eventually fall away. Gurner does a fine job with the the brisk 8-hour, 33-minute read, easily finished in a couple of days.