One can say that the latest solo effort from Douglas Preston ( The Codex) literally starts off with a bang. Or, to be more precise, a meteor impact off the coast of Round Pond, Maine.
Abby Straw, a Princeton dropout who works as waitress in a diner, just happens to have her telescope out and captures the meteor as it streaks across the sky. The next day, Abby explains to her friend Jackie that the meteor did not land in the ocean but on one of five nearby islands: Loudís, Marsh, Rip, Egg Rock and Shark. Abby takes her fatherís lobster boat, and with Jackie in hand goes searching for the meteor - they think they can sell it on eBay for half a million dollars.
The second plotline involves a researcher with the Mars Mapping Orbiter project at the National Propulsion Facility. Marc Corso has been promoted to the position once held by his disgraced mentor, Jayson Freeman. Jayson is quickly killed off in a home invasion, but just a few days later, Marc gets a package in the mail from Freeman. Inside the package is a hard drive filled with highly classified Ėnot to mention illegal Ė data. Just like in a horror movie when you scream at the character for going down into the dark basement when you know they shouldnít, Marc simply canít resist seeing whatís on the hard drive and is pulled into the plot.
The third portion of this triptych is former CIA agent Wyman Ford, last seen in Prestonís Blasphemy (2008). Asked by the president to look into some radioactive gemstones found in Cambodia, his task is to find the source of these beautiful but rare (for the region) gems. Itís when all these storylines coalesce that the book really starts to take off. But, for all the buildup, it comes to a fairly abrupt ending that might leave a sour taste in some fansí mouths.
The audio production itself is quite good. The narration by Scott Sowers, who has lent his vocal talents to the works of such esteemed authors as the late Robert B. Parker, Nicholas Sparks and John Hart, does a fine job with this material. Overall, Impact is a solid thriller.