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13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy Paperback – May 15, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

Review

5 out of 5 stars
I found the book not only entertaining but educational. L.A. Starks made sure the reader understood all the oil refinery terminology. I liked how the author touched on various topics such as: a woman trying to work in a male dominated industry, money that is made and lost due to the many factors in the oil refinery business and, trying to have a high power job while juggling family and dating. I enjoyed the entire story and liked the tenacity of the main character Lynn! I look forward to reading more books in the future by L. A. Starks.--Renee at Goodreads

"13 Days has an excellent plot....L.A. Starks has contributed a fine murder mystery to the genre." -- Alan Paul Curtis, Who-dunnit.com

"A knock-down conspiracy exposing the darkest secrets of the oil industry. Starks has made an impressive debut...." -- Michael Lucker, Screenwriter (Vampire In Brooklyn, Mulan II)

"A reverse femjep." -- Jack Quick - October 2006 BookBitch.com

From the Back Cover

A rogue force controlling the planet’'s oil supply would hold a knife to its throat. The planet'’s refineries, where oil becomes gasoline, may be an easier grab. Lynn Dayton, 37, self-made refining executive, manages six vast complexes that transform oil into gasoline. Robert Guillard, 33, a suave Parisian intellectual believes, as did the cult around Pythagoras, that his genius confers moral authority. He directs the sabotage of US refineries, one by one. But his financing from an Asian refining cartel terminates in thirteen days unless he produces massive shutdowns.

Robert schemes to coerce Lynn into collaborating as he pursues his outwardly humanitarian goal of building refineries in Third World countries. If she refuses, he will hold hostage her sister, Ceil Dayton, 30, whom he has lured to Paris. Ceil, in turn, hides a brutal secret.
An industrial accident at Lynn’'s troubled Houston refinery arouses her suspicions.

Government officials conclude routine negligence caused the accident, but her own investigation leads Lynn to suspect sabotage.

Threats to Lynn'’s life intensify. Desperate for the safety of her co-workers whom she considers in greater danger, she works ceaselessly to find the real cause of the "accident" and the saboteur. Although her company security force notifies the FBI of her suspicions, the bureau considers her facts inadequate to justify adding resources. Within a few days, explosions and fires at nearby refineries claim victims. The resulting fuel shortage affects the lives of everyone in North America.

Then Lynn is kidnapped. She fights for her life on a catwalk above a storage tank of hot, sulfurous oil and escapes.

Deciphering the full extent of Robert'’s scheme, she flies to Paris. But will she be in time to derail Robert’'s plans and save her sister?
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Brown Books; First Edition edition (May 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933285451
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933285450
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,141,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

STRIKE PRICE, Starks' second Lynn Dayton thriller, won best mystery/thriller in the Texas Association of Authors 2014 awards.

As in 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY, STRIKE PRICE combines Starks' technical and writing experience for authentic, realistic action. STRIKE PRICE and 13 DAYS have both received five-star reviews.

L. A. Starks was born in Boston, grew up in Oklahoma, and has lived in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and Texas. She trained in engineering (BS-chemical engineering--Tulane) and economics (MBA-finance, University of Chicago). After working more than a decade for well-known energy companies, today she consults for a select number of clients, speaks to professional groups about energy economics, and analyzes energy policy and investment choices at her website http://starksenergyecon.com. and for Seeking Alpha.

Two of her short stories, "Robert and Therese Guillard: Choices," and "A Time for Eating Wild Onions," were accepted and published by the Amazon Shorts program in 2007 and are now available on Kindle. "A Time for Eating Wild Onions" is a follow-on to STRIKE PRICE. The story reveals more about tragic past entanglements between Jesse, Pete's father, and Pete. A third Kindle-published short story, "Josh Rosen and Bubbe," adds texture to the Dayton series character Josh Rosen.

Starks played intramural basketball for the Efficient Mockettes, holds a US patent, has run eleven half-marathons, and chairs the investment committee of the board of directors of the Friends of the Dallas Public Library, a funding and advocacy group for Dallas' 29 public libraries.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By RJ McGill VINE VOICE on April 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
The devastation and havoc caused by hurricane Katrina should have been a wake up call for America. But, as soon as gas prices began to drop, media attention reverted back to the latest tabloid issues. It is with the memory of this devastation and the long list of consequences this country could endure as a result of our oil addiction, that LA Starks penned this explosive debut novel. 13 Days is an espionage thriller taking the reader as close to the industry as possible, without dawning a hard hat and being part of the crew.

With Centennial Refinery on the verge of bankruptcy and management unable to shore up their company from within, the stage was set for an outside takeover. TriCoast Energy took control of the fledgling refinery. Lynn Dayton had four weeks to prove this a profitable venture to the board of directors. She had no way of knowing what began as merely another job, would soon become a matter of life and death for the employees, the refinery, and most importantly her family. Lynn Dayton is a strong character, engaging, intelligent. Her commitment to her family is mistakenly considered a weakness for an idealist that seriously underestimated his target.

With a magna cum laude degree in engineering, MBA in finance and a career in the oil industry

LA Starks provides a glimpse into the politics, secrets, and vulnerabilities as only someone with her extensive knowledge could deliver. I found the notes, definitions, and diagrams to be invaluable resources. While the lengthy detailed narratives, seemed to slow the story and clog the brain, it is vital to describe various processes in a basic, easy to understand format, due to the complexity of the subject matter.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Julie K. Hersh on August 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a great read, fast-paced, good plot twists, entertaining. When I read, even fiction, I like to learn about something. Starks pulled me into the world of the refinery business, its risks, its jargon, painted with character's News Orleans drawls and slithering French accents. I could hear it, smell it, and see it with my eyes. I have been married to a man for 16 years who is a key investor in the natural gas business, but never really understood the workings of a refinery or that hydrogen sulfide could be such an instant, lethal killer. I would read parts of 13 Days to him for verification and he would nod, pleasantly surprised that a fiction book strove to be so accurate.

The cool Frenchman, Robert, made my skin crawl. In the same breath, I felt a sudden urge to lounge in a black silk negligee and take up smoking. Is this what Fitzgerald meant when she belted "I've got you under my skin... " Who knows? In any case, awesome character. Kudos to Stark on her first book. I hope to see more from her.

Julie Hersh
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Detra Fitch VINE VOICE on January 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
Lynn Dayton, executive vice president for TriCoast Energy's US oil refining operations, literally put her career on the line when she convinced TriCoast's board to buy the Centennial refinery just before it hit bankruptcy court. Lynn had promised the board she would make it profitable. The refinery is on the Houston Ship Channel and has had a few technical problems recently; however, since TriCoast purchased it the problems have soared and Lynn is on a time line. Lynn quickly learns that sabotage is the main problem and that many other refineries are having the same, dangerous troubles. Workers are dying! Lynn must scramble to figure out who the saboteur is and why s/he is causing the havoc.

Things are not much better in her private life, what little she can squeeze in these days. It is up to Lynn to finance the medical care her father requires. Her younger sister, Ceil, has suddenly left the Peace Corps in Gabon and refuses to explain what caused her decision to leave the job she loved so much. There is less and less time to be spent with Cy, her boyfriend, or his kids either.

The puppetmaster controlling the ones Lynn and her team seeks is Robert Guillard. Robert is a corrupted idealist in the French Ministry of Economy, Finance, and Industry. His diabolical plans are financed mainly by an Asian liaison. Just like Lynn, Robert is on a deadly time table too. Unless Robert's American puppets start doing better at their sabotaging, the Asian liaison will start reminding Robert of his need for haste. Robert plans to use Ceil to manipulate Lynn. But Robert's stereotyped image of Americans causes him to underestimate his prey.

***** To say more may cause spoilers, something I try not to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tina Chan on March 7, 2014
Format: Paperback
Title: 13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy

Author: L.A. Starks

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Review:

Wow...it took me a while to really get sucked into the novel, but once I was hooked and found myself in a comfy couch, I was flipping the pages as fast as possible. I loved the whole plot because I found it to be very unique. The characters were very realistic and I loved how the story is told from both the protagonist and villain's point of view.

The protagonist of the novel, Lynn, is the executive manager of a oil company. She made a huge investment in purchasing several oil refineries; she knows there is no room for mistakes as many of her coworkers don't respect her because she is a female working in a male dominated industry. Her career depends on making a profit from the refinery. However, trouble seems to follow Lynn every where.

The novel opens with Lynn dealing with a fatal accident on the rig in which 4 workers are killed from a gas leak. At first, it seems like the accident was caused by a careless mistake. However, soon another accident occurs...and another...and another. As Lynn's credibility plunges, she can't help but feel as if someone is delibrately sabotaging the company.

Lynn's instinct are correct, as readers quickly find out when the novel switches POV. Robert is the mastermind behind all the "accidents" occurring. A rather haughty Frenchman, Robert has made a deal with Sensei, another oil company. If he can help Sensei become a major company in America, then Robert will be able make quite a bit of profit and fund a project of his interest (providing third world countries their own oil refineries.
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