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Final Finesse by Karna Small Bodman
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Forge Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0765322528
Date: 12 May 2009 List Price $26.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

A great story and fun to read!!! In Final Finesse, by Karna Small Bodman, terrorists are blowing up natural gas lines during a terrible winter storm. People are freezing, and Samantha Reid, a White House staffer, must solve the mystery.

In Final Finesse, by Karna Small Bodman, Samantha Reid is the energy specialist on the staff of the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. Christmas is approaching and a giant snow and ice storm is raging from Texas all the way up the East Coast. A giant gas line explodes in Oklahoma which at first appears to be an accident. Samantha is suspicious that it not an accident and she is right.

Samantha's role on the White House Staff leads her to Tripp Adams, Vice President of GeoGlobal Oil and Gas, the company that owns the pipelines. They were acquainted, barely, during their college years and instantly develop a firm relationship, both professionally and personally.

Due to the storm, people are freezing without the natural gas lines to deliver heat for their homes and GeoGlobal and the government seem powerless to stop the explosions. GeoGlobal is also having issues with their gas drilling operations in Venezuela where the power-hungry Venezuelan “President” is trying to nationalize all industries to use the revenue to his own advantage. Tripp is sent on a short-notice trip to Venezuela. Meanwhile more gas lines continue to explode, and the United States is actively involved in propaganda matters to oust the Venezuelan president in the upcoming election.

The reader learns early in the novel that the group behind the explosions has access to a special explosive from the Venezuelan president that they are saving for the last attack, but the details are saved until the end.

Tripp arrives in Venezuela and is quickly kidnapped and Samantha is able to use her smarts and her clout from her position in the White House to help rescue Tripp from the kidnapper.

It is an interesting commentary based on the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Of course no one knew the current oil spill was coming, but I happened to be reading this novel when it happened. The problems in the novel and the real problems in the Gulf make us realize how dependent we are on our petroleum and how badly wrong the drilling and distribution system can be when they fail.

This is a lighter mystery, and truly enjoyable. The story is interesting, with a bit of science, a bit of struggling against nature, and a little bit of a love story. It catches your interest but does not make you think too hard, and the love story is proportionate and not the dominant plot. The book is fun to read. I highly recommend it.

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