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Black Rain: A Thriller (Danielle Laidlaw) Mass Market Paperback – January 26, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Danielle Laidlaw (Book 1)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 515 pages
  • Publisher: Dell Books; Original edition (January 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553592416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553592412
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mayan myth, including the much-ballyhooed 2012 doomsday theory, forms the backbone of this action-packed debut. Danielle Laidlaw, an investigator for a covert branch of the National Research Institute, sets off into the Amazon with a small group of mercenaries, renegades, rogues, and scholars to uncover the source of mysterious radioactive crystals, hoping to find an ancient Mayan city and a possible source for clean energy. Ruthless billionaire Richard Kaufman has his own plans for the technology and will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means killing Danielle and her team. There are other dangers lurking in the rain forests, including a cartoonishly savage tribe of natives called the Chollokwan and a mysterious man-eating creature. A few sections seem unnecessarily padded, but the fast pace and nonstop violence will keep readers forging ahead. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Black Rain is an adventure that's not only a terrific read, but is smart, intelligent, and poised to shake up the whole thriller community.  Every copy should come with a bucket of popcorn and a John Williams soundtrack to play in the background.  Loved it."—Linwood Barclay, author of Fear the Worst

"Black Rain sizzles with tension and twists that both entertain and magnetize.  The plot envelopes the reader into a brilliantly conceived world, full of strange and amazing things.  Graham Brown is an exciting new talent, a writer we're going to be hearing a lot from in the years ahead.  I can't wait."—Steve Berry, author of The Paris Vendetta

Customer Reviews

Well developed backgrounds, for both characters and the story.
P. Eisenman
Summation: All in all I found the book enjoyable, the action was intense and well written, keeping me turning the pages.
Eliezer Kolatch
The book starts off a little sluggishly, but the ending is very well done.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 15, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the wild places of the world. Not in real life, mind you, but on the pages of a book I can't resist them. With his debut novel, Black Rain, Graham Brown has combined all the elements of a perfect adventure thriller--at least one written with me in mind. He's got the exotic location, the mysterious beast, the ancient puzzle, the cutting-edge science, and he integrates all of these elements into a smart and thoroughly engaging page-turner. It's the kind of debut I absolutely love to see, and all I want from Brown is... more.

What's the story? Well, it's too complex to go into real detail, but basically the National Research Institute believes there's an artifact lost deep in the Amazon that may hold the key to a limitless source of clean energy. An expedition sent to search for it has to contend with hostile natives, terrifying creatures, and cut-throat competitors who will do anything to beat them to the discovery.

I'll admit that none of these story elements is especially unique or original. But Brown's novel is--for lack of a better description--just darn entertaining. And he does so much right. The plotting of the novel is nice and tight. I won't swear that all of his science is accurate, but it rings true. And based on the creature he creates in Black Rain, it's obvious he knows a thing or two about animal biology.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Brown does an unusually good job with character development. And this is great news--because it looks like his central characters are coming back in his next novel, Black Sun. I can't wait!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Erwin VINE VOICE on February 19, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you've read Cussler, Rollins or Dan Brown, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect going into the debut thriller from Graham Brown. In this twist on the popular historial treasure hunting genre, our heroes are from a secret government agency and their target is a an ancient source of power, possibly having to do with cold fusion.

So our intrepid team goes on their mission (where the team before them have all been killed) bringing together the thriller standards of the tough female leader, the snarky male co-leader with a checkered past, the hard mercenary and his team of cannon fodder as well as the linguist and two academics, one old and one young. They face the elements, a group of savage tribesmen that may not be as savage as they let on and of course monsters, lots of big scary monsters. Working against them is a greedy billionaire who has a mole on the team. Beside the setting, there isn't too much original about this somewhat bloated 500 pager.

Yet, despite this rather contrived setup, Brown manages to keep the action level and the interesting facts about Mayan culture coming fast enough to propel you through the book. Sure, you know right from the start who will live and who will die if you've ever read a thriller before, but hey, you aren't exactly expecting Eco when the cover has "A dark secret that kills" written on the cover.

This book is for genre fans and won't win any new converts, but Brown keeps things interesting enough that I will look forward to his next book, a promised sequel to Black Rain.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By mrliteral VINE VOICE on February 4, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
At first glance, Graham Brown's Black Rain might seem to owe a lot to the Da Vinci Code or maybe Raiders of the Lost Ark. It is a tale of a hidden treasure deep in the Amazonian jungle, yet the most surprising influence is another novel/movie altogether: Starship Troopers.

The heroine of Black Rain is Danielle Laidlaw, an intrepid adventurer who works for an organization that acquires technological secrets for the U.S. through whatever means necessary. When an artifact dug up decades ago shows signs of tritium - a byproduct of hydrogen fusion - Laidlaw starts believing that an ancient Mayan tribe may have somehow discovered cold fusion.

Beyond hostile tribes and a dangerous jungle, Laidlaw and her team will have to face off against a ruthless competitor also after the secret. Getting to the site is only half the battle; the other half is fighting the deadly creatures within a strange monument. It is the battle against these creatures which is reminiscent of Starship Troopers. Certainly the movie influenced Brown, who named one character Verhoven as an allusion to the film.

Somewhere between adventure, sci-fi and fantasy, Black Rain is a decent, if not particularly memorable, debut novel for Brown. As a beach read, it works fine, as the story moves quickly and entertainingly. If you enjoy these sorts of treasure hunt stories, then this will probably be worth reading.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By NWG on August 30, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not bad, but I don't quite understand all the 5-star reviews. Semi-entertaining read with a flimsy plot and little-to-no character development. One part X-files, one part Indiana Jones, mix with a dash of Predator, and you've got yourself Black Rain. Buy it used today!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason Golomb VINE VOICE on October 7, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Black Rain" is a good, fun read that nicely sets up a sequel without sacrificing a solid ending.
This book fits squarely in the realm of the lighter-weight Dan Brown-esque genre of thrillers. Leaders of this genre include James Rollins and Jeremy Robinson, whose stories are a bit formulaic and their characterizations often thinly built.

Graham Brown brings new energy to the genre. His core plot involves the Mayan creation myth called "Popul Vuh". In reality, this document has been handed down through history only due to the work of a Dominican Friar who, in the 18th century, made a copy of the Mayan legend rather than follow suit of most of his forebears who feared the devilish presence of another religious doctrine and burned almost all other native documents in the New World.

After having discovered several crystals that suggest the existence of a tremendous new energy source, a semi-secret non-governmental organization goes to Brazil to find their source.

Brown picks apart certain stories from "Popul Vuh" and develops historic explanations for their origins as his team of ex-military and researchers uncover clue after clue surrounding the origin of the crystals. The story contains government conspiracies, hidden jungle pyramids, helicopters and big guns, war-ready natives, and monstrous animals. It also contains a tease of science fiction which nicely sets a tone for the rest of the series.

Brown captures the texture of Brazil including the jungle-embedded pyramid and the centuries-old tribe that endures it's ancient lifestyle. Brown paces each new clue, each newly unraveled mystery at a solid and steady pace. There was very little plot disclosed without a reasonably good rationale.
Read more ›
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More About the Author

Graham Brown grew up in Illinois, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, moving often with his family. As far as he knows they weren't part of any top secret government agency - but then - would he really know?

A former pilot and lawyer and later part of a start up health care firm, Graham decided he hadn't had enough different careers yet and decided to become a writer.

A huge fan of Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Stephen King and television shows like the X-files and Lost, Graham's first novel Black Rain debuted in January 2010. Since then he's written two other books in the Hawker/Laidlaw series: Black Sun and The Eden Prophecy and is also co-writes the NUMA Files series with Clive Cussler. As well as writing with Spencer J. Andrews on the Shadows series and the Sci-Fi hit The Gods of War.

"I'm a huge fan of all kinds of writing. I enjoy the traditional publishing world because of it's reach and breadth, and I love the world of self publishing through Amazon, where you can write books the traditional publishers would never be able to take a chance on."

"This year is going to be a busy one. The next NUMA FILES novel is coming together with Clive. I have a short story in the Hawker/Laidlaw series that will be self-published and at least two other books that will come out, starting with Shadows 2: The Half Life. This is the sequel to Shadows of the Midnight Sun. It really takes the story in some unexpected directions."

Please visit my Facebook page for updates or my website

All the best,


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Black Rain: A Thriller (Danielle Laidlaw)
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