B.A. – Music – Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas
Thriller Sub-genre: Techno-thriller
Future of the series: The latest book in the series which is a prequel entitled The Severed Pines was released on 12/26/18.
The Simon Review
Harvey Bennett, who prefers to go by the name of Ben, is not your typical action hero. He is afraid to fly, does not like heights, and desires to be alone living his life in the great outdoors. But he reluctantly becomes an action hero because of one trait; he has an overwhelming need to do the right thing and see that justice is done even if it might mean forfeiting his life. Bennett begins the series as a forest ranger in Yellowstone Park until a disaster strikes the park with a massive explosion and the release of a deadly virus. After seeing one of his colleagues succumb to the explosion, Ben is interrogated on what he witnessed by government employees including one that happens to work for the Center of Disease Control, Juliette Richardson. It isn’t long before Bennett finds out that a virus has been unleashed by the explosion, and feeling a tremendous need to help, he teams up with Richardson to find answers on how to control this virus and who is behind its release. After a bit of sleuthing, Bennett and Richardson discover that there is a more diabolical scheme in the works and it is up to them to stop it.
Of course there is nothing like a near death adventure to get those romantic juices flowing and Bennett and Richardson become a seemingly mismatched pair. The evil entity that caused problems for the pair in the first novel, The Enigma Strain, causes problems for them in the second novel, The Amazon Code, and then again later down in Antarctica in the third novel, The Ice Chasm. Bennett and Richardson don’t go it alone, they are teamed up with part ex-military, part Tasmanian devil, Red ‘Reggie’ Gareth and the stoic, ex-bad guy, Joshua Jefferson. After the events that occurred in The Amazon Code, the escapades of this motely band of four comes to the attention of a secretive technology entrepreneur that goes by the name of Mr. E. Well, Mr. E. eventually convinces the group after their success in The Ice Chasm to join together to make up what would be called the Civilian Special Operations (CSO) that would be assigned task that normally would not come to the attention of any government enforcing agency such as the military, FBI, CIA, etc.
This series is unquestionably action packed in a kind of absurd way. Just imagine a guy who is used to dealing with Smokey the Bear and add in a female computer geek, and an ex-military guy that is more like an ADHD kid on speed. Bring them together and have them face enemies that are well trained and heavily armed and then by all luck, they survive. So if you don’t mind having a thriller that has the heroes succeed through pure luck, then this series is a whole lot of fun. During most of the action scenes, I can visualize the characters moving in slow motion, and whenever one of the character lays out a punch, the words Kapow! or Zap! come to mind. But needless to say, I love this series.
Most Favorite Novel in the Series- The Enigma Strain- I rather liked the deadly virus/super volcano theme
Least Favorite Novel in the Series- The Paradise Key- Even though one could say that the deadly virus/super volcano scenario is way out there on the unbelievability scale, I think the escape from the submerged pod in crocodile infested waters broke the barrier on the unbelievable score for me.
What about the science? The first book in the series is the most ‘sciencey’, though the other novels has some scientific concepts they are not at all technical. Thacker has a degree in music, so I wasn’t expecting too much in the way of accurate science but he really does try. I found one really glaring mistake in this passage from The Enigma Strain;
Dr. Diana Torres looked through the compound microscope once more. Whatever it was, she hadn’t seen it before. The structure was different than a normal virus.
A compound microscope has the highest magnification capability of any of the light microscopes but it is still a light microscope which is useful in observing bacteria and parasites but not viruses. Viruses are so small that in order to visualize its structure a more sophisticated microscope known as an electron microscope is required. Recent advancements in light microscopy using Single Particle Interferometric Reflectance Imaging Sensor can be used to count and identify virus particles but cannot determine any significant details.
The Harvey Bennett Technical Word in Review: Capsomeres – All natural viruses have a protein coat known as the capsid that protects its nucleic acids, which can be either DNA or RNA, from degradation. The capsid consist of three basic shapes; icosahedral, helical, and prolate which I prefer to call the ‘lunar landing module’ shape. Capsomeres are repeating subunits of the capsid which are usually in the shape of a hexagon or a pentagon. The capsomere are also made up of subunits known as protomers which are proteins that are made of two or more peptide strands.
Image from Wikimedia Commons
Finally, the entire inner cavity of each individual viral body was made up of the traditional nucleocapsid and capsomeres, but also other bodies she didn’t recognize that seemed to be crammed in as well. While the overall structure was standard for a type of herpes-virus, it didn’t fit any of the eight strains modern science was aware of. – The Enigma Strain
Nucleocapsid is a term used to describe both the capsid and the genetic material together.
Books in the Series by Order:
Most Favorite in the series: The Ice Chasm with a score of 4.28
Least Favorite in the series: The Enigma Strain with a score of 4.02
Based on overall ratings from Goodreads, Library Thing and Amazon (US & UK)
The sow grizzly moved slowly through the underbrush, her broad head swaying back and forth, nose constantly sampling and categorizing a thousand scents on the shifting breeze.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett
Idaho and Glacier National Park
He just wants a new life. To escape from it all… but fate has other plans.
Harvey Bennett is no stranger to tragedy.
He’s searching for something. But he’s not sure what.
Life, unfortunately, keeps getting in the way.
When tragedy strikes Harvey during a family camping trip, he does the only thing he knows how to do: he runs away.
The Icarus Effect is a coming-of-age story set in the woods and backcountry of the US, following the saga of a young man who just wants to find his place in the world. He’s alone, scared, and stubborn.
The runaway bestseller The Enigma Strain and the follow-up series of Harvey Bennett Mysteries has fans asking the question: “who is Harvey Bennett?”
How did Harvey Bennett go from reclusive park ranger to head of the Civilian Special Operations?
Of all the poop-scrapers in Rocky Mountain National Park, Ben figured he was the best.
A grisly murder.
An unsuspecting witness.
A conspiracy that’s bigger than anyone thought.
Harvey “Ben” Bennett is a park ranger volunteer who stumbles across a crime scene. He’s immediately thrust into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, and he must figure out who’s behind it all.
…Before he becomes the next victim.
The sound of another exploding tree caused Nikolai Alexei to jump.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett: A park ranger that is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Juliette Richardson: CDC investigator and love interest of Bennett’s
When a bomb goes off at Yellowstone National Park, the reclusive park ranger Harvey “Ben” Bennett is startled to realize that the blast wasn’t the only threat: the bomb released some sort of virus into the air, and it’s beginning to infect and kill more and more people.
It’s a race against time as Ben teams up with a woman from the CDC to figure who’s behind the attacks, and how to stop the next one.
“The enigma strain virus is still eluding the nation’s researchers, though we are told that a breakthrough is imminent. As you have no doubt already heard, please stay indoors, lock your house, and do not venture out for any reason. Stay isolated, and do not physically interact with anyone other than your immediate family…”
Looking for a review of The Enigma Strain? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.33 out of 5 stars based on 1,447 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.27 out of 5 stars based on 118 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 3.76 out of 5 stars based on 1,802 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.61 out of 5 stars based on 19 ratings
Total Score 4.02
The world isn’t ready for a breakthrough like this.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett and Juliette Richardson
Reggie ‘Gareth Red’: part military brat – part Tasmanian devil
Joshua Jefferson: bad boy turned good guy
Mr E.: Head of a large tech corporation and head of the CSO
When her company discovers a remarkable hidden message in the dreaming brains of her subjects, Dr. Amanda Meron unknowingly invites disaster unto her company. She enlists the help of some old friends to find out what the clues are pointing her toward, but they seem to be pointing her to one of the remote places on the planet.
The Amazon Rainforest.
When Harvey “Ben” Bennett gets a hint that the nefarious organization he’s been searching for has turned up in Brazil, he and his new girlfriend Juliette Richardson race to the jungle to discover what they’re after – and hopefully stop them.
Looking for a review of The Amazon Code? Check out:
Amazon Rating-US: 4.42 out of 5 stars based on 681 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.28 out of 5 stars based on 44 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 3.98 out of 5 stars based on 1,165 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.10 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings
Total Score 4.14
He had been alone before, but he had never in his life been exposed to the extreme isolation of the immense, frozen nothingness that stretched out away from him in every direction.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett, Juliette ‘Julie’ Richardson, Reggie ‘Gareth Red’, Joshua Jefferson, and Mr E.
A research station in Antarctica has been quietly building something terrifying…
Hidden beneath a sheet of ice, Draconis Industries has been working on a powerful new technology.
Harvey Bennett and his new team are sent in to shut them down, but what they find inside is far more sinister than they could have imagined.
Worst of all, an army of Chinese soldiers, also hoping to get their hands on the technology, are at their heels.
“You bast –“Hendricks’ voice was cut off as he fell into the chasm, his ice axe bouncing and catching a few times on the cliff on the way down.
Amazon Rating-US: 4.52 out of 5 stars based on 308 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.22 out of 5 stars based on 23 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.15 out of 5 stars based on 511 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 2.33 out of 5 stars based on 3 ratings
Total Score 4.28
There’s not much time left.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett, Juliette ‘Julie’ Richardson, Reggie ‘Gareth Red’, Joshua Jefferson, and Mr E.
Meriwether Lewis was murdered because he knew a secret.
…A deadly secret.
From the author that brought you the best-selling Harvey Bennett Thrillers series, The Jefferson Legacy is the newest installment in the series, and the first featuring the fully formed “Civilian Special Operations” team.
Harvey Bennett is back.
Ben and his new team are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their “Civilian Special Operations” headquarters, when they get a call: there’s been a murder, and a theft of a seemingly insignificant artifact.
The team heads to Philadelphia to meet up with the modern-day American Philosophical Society, to talk about the robbery and see if they can offer help.
…soon, bullets begin to fly. Apparently the APS has been keeping secrets that point all the way back to the nation’s Founding Fathers.
Julie frowned. “What sort of influence? And what book?”
“Actually, that’s why she will be on Good Morning America tomorrow morning,” Derrick said. “She’s a pretty big hitter in the realm of political blogging. Just released a book call The Jefferson Legacy.”
Amazon Rating-US: 4.38 out of 5 stars based on 125 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 4.70 out of 5 stars based on 10 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars based on 237 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars based on 2 ratings
Total Score 4.15
The child sat between two trees, waiting for death.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett, Juliette ‘Julie’ Richardson, Reggie ‘Gareth Red’, and Mr E.
Sarah Lindgren: An archaeologist
In the middle of the Caribbean
Paradisum is a science-based theme park.
At least, that’s what everyone thinks.
But there seems to be something sinister going on beneath the surface.
OceanTech Paradisum is the cutting-edge theme park from OceanTech, and they are hoping to capitalize on the growing trend of education-based vacation destinations.
The park’s CEO, Adrian Crawford, has spent his entire professional life working toward this goal, and he is excited to show it to the world.
Harvey Bennett and his team at the Civilian Special Operations are sent to Paradisum to investigate the security protocols at the new park.
But what they find there terrifies them…
Amazon Rating-US: 4.47 out of 5 stars based on 81 ratings
Amazon Rating-UK: 5.00 out of 5 stars based on 5 ratings
GoodReads Rating: 4.13 out of 5 stars based on 144 ratings
Library Thing Rating: 3.50 out of 5 stars based on 1 ratings
Total Score 4.27
It is like the Pesach, he thought.
Harvey ‘Ben’ Bennett, Juliette ‘Julie’ Richardson, Reggie ‘Gareth Red’, Mr & Mrs E., and Sarah Lindgren
Greece and the island of Santorini, Egypt
An ancient conspiracy is once again threatening the world…
Harvey Bennett and his CSO team receive a distress call from their friend, Sarah Lindgren:
Her father has been kidnapped.
Worse, she believes his kidnapping is only the tip of the iceberg.
From Santorini to Egypt, Michigan to Athens, The Aryan Agenda is a nail-biting mystery/thriller of epic proportions!
Harvey Bennett is back in his most intense adventure yet.