I am a Clive Cussler fan - but Clive Cusssler apparently little involved with the writing of the books bearing his name.
There have been eight prior Kurt Austin adventures written with Paul Kemprecos. Now no one really knows how these collaborations work, but the Kurt Austin books have been pretty good. If you've read the Dirk Pitt series (22 in all) you have a feeling for Clive Cussler solo - and with his son, Dirk Cussler, as a co-author (very different).
Cussler's trademark is high-flying plots that strain the reader's willingness to believe. But when Cussler is telling the story, he builds strong heroic characters and his story telling skills are powerful enough to pull the reader through.
In "Devil's Gate", Cussler seems to be entirely absent. The plot is outlandish - and Graham Brown's story telling is simply inadequate. The characters, including hero Kurt Austin, parody their roles in earlier books. The dialog of the bad guys seems to have come together from an accident involving refrigerator magnets. The plot and action quickly move from outlandish to bizarre to completely unbelievable - and I only made it to page 81.
The last Isaac Bell adventure, the fourth in the series after three excellent books, fell on its face as well.
A prolific author with 48 books to his credit, there's going to be a cropper or two. It seems that Cussler is trying to build a factory or farm system to up the number of titles he has in print, which in turn will increase his revenue. Apparently he is farming more and more of the actual writing out to others and, I think, the plotting as well.
The result has been more titles with the Clive Cussler name on them and, in my opinion, weaker stories.
"Devil's Gate" just doesn't make it for me. By page 81, nothing was believable and the characters - familiar from earlier books - felt like parodies.
Not up to what I expect of Cussler.