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The Race (An Isaac Bell Adventure) Paperback – September 4, 2012
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“Bell just keeps getting more interesting. Cussler is turning out some of his best work.” —Booklist
About the Author
Clive Cussler is the author of more than fifty books in five bestselling series, including Dirk Pitt, NUMA Files, Oregon Files, Isaac Bell, and Fargo. His life nearly parallels that of his hero Dirk Pitt. Whether searching for lost aircraft or leading expeditions to find famous shipwrecks, he and his NUMA crew of volunteers have discovered more than seventy-five lost ships of historic significance, including the long-lost Confederate submarine Hunley, which was raised in 2000 with much press publicity. Like Pitt, Cussler collects classic automobiles. His collection features more than eighty examples of custom coachwork. Cussler lives in Arizona and Colorado.
Justin Scott is the author of thirty-one novels, including The Shipkiller and Normandie Triangle; the Ben Abbott detective series; six thrillers under his pen name Paul Garrison; and his coauthorship with Cussler of The Wrecker, The Spy,The Race, The Thief, The Striker, The Bootlegger, The Assassin, The Gangster, and The Cutthroat. Scott lives in Connecticut.
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The premise is great and the writing is fine. The action comes like you would expect from a Clive Cussler novel, it is plentiful and suspensefull at times. But for whatever reason I felt a lack of development of characters in the story.
The story is about an airplane race from coast to coast. Starting on the East Coast and ending on the West Coast in San Francisco. It takes place in the early 1900's when air flight was still in its infancy. So, to think that a lone pilot could fly a monoplane across the country is almost unbelievable. That's what Preston Whiteway is banking on. The Newspaper magnet wants to attract attention from a public that needs a new American hero. He wants to give them that hero in the guise of "The Sweetheart of the American Airways." In steps Josephine, a simple farm girl who just happens to have a love for flying. She is going to challenge a large group of men for the Whiteway Cup and the $50,000.00 prize. Can she do it? Can any of them do it?
Now enters our antagonist, Harry Frost, the former husband of Josephine. He is angry at her for what he feels is her immoral relationship with her aircraft mechanic, Marco Celere. The book starts with Harry killing Marco, or did he? It then has him fleeing from the law but making a commitment to kill Josephine before she can either start or finish this race.
The Van Dorn Detective Agency is brought in to protect Josephine from Harry and to do their best to catch him and bring him to justice. Isaac Bell is given the task of overseeing this protection detail and the hunt for Harry Frost. Harry and Isaac have a history that goes back 10 years to when Isaac was just starting out as a detective.
The story is going to revolve around Josephine, Harry, Isaac and Marco Celere. Our other characters from previous books have appearances, such as James Dashwood and Isaac's fiancé Marion. But this is where I think we loose some of the wonderful story development that is characteristic of Clive Cussler novels. These other characters take a backseat much more than they ever have in other books. They are not woven into the story as well as they could be.
Even Harry Frost is developed as much as I would like for the antagonist. Then there are several other characters brought in, such as the other pilots, the daughter of an aircraft designer, several young machinists, etc. They make appearances and have parts in the story, but they seem to come and go at odd times and not developed as much as they could be.
One final point from me, I was a bit disappointed in the ending. I felt that several things were left undone, not tied up like they could or should have been. Maybe it was just me.
Anyway, I still enjoyed the read, I like the chase, I like the logic games that Isaac and Harry delve into. I also liked the details about the flying machines.
I think if you like Clive Cussler you will like this book, it just won't end up being your favorite of his writings.
Plots are somewhat predictable, but Cussler throws in the odd twist. Isaac Bell is somewhat of a "superman" and seems to get out of unbelievably bad situations a little too often. He probably would have died and been replaced if I had been writing, but, then Cussler is the writer and I am only the reader. Lots of information about aircraft in the early 1900's which makes the story line more interesting. Stirs up the reader's interest in historical fact! Lots of shooting, blowing things up, and other nail-biting action. Wonder how these books would look on the silver screen.
This book starts off a bit slow but if you give it a chance you can be drawn in and find yourself wondering at what is transpiring and why it is happening, I found the characters very interesting and enjoy the use of period terms and phrases.
The Isaac Bell series has become one of my favorite series of the Cussler books. I haven't really taken to the new Dirk Pitt books, with the children, though I have read everything prior to them being introduced multiple times. I like the settings in the early 20th century or this series and find the characters interesting.
As for The Race, I had started it a while ago and never finished it. I decided to give it another shot, as I had only read about thirty pages previously, I couldn't put it down this time, I found myself staying up until 1AM a couple of times just to read it more.
I suggest giving this series a shot if you like adventure fiction and if you haven't read this series or this book, pick it up and fly away with it.