Whitley Streiber has written an exciting new novel that I just finished reading. Mr. Streiber is famous for his personal alien and UFO contact and abduction memoirs and his current event driven work like The Coming Global Superstorm which was the basis of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. Once I started Critical Mass, I couldn’t stop reading, it really held my interest.
The current event topic of the novel is loose nuclear material, a subject which seems rather neglected in the media considering the lethal importance it could have on our lives. I am not a nuclear weapons expert, but the general thesis of the book seemed quite plausible. I did not mind that in the lead character, Jim Deutsch, is embodied a superman. He could not be stopped, he was never deterred from his task. In a real life situation the work he accomplished would likely have been completed by a task force, but turning him into a sort of super hero was a literary device that allowed the reader to become invested in the outcome for the protagonist.
The Arab-American brother and sister who were the most prominent auxiliary characters were well drawn. I was particularly impressed with the character of the brother, whose public persona was miles from his private inner reactionary self. Though an exaggeration in the novel, it is not uncommon in life.
The ending was OK but slightly anticlimactic, which is not surprising given the incredible amount of exciting and terrifying action in the story.
Although I can recommend Critical Mass as entertaining reading (which it definitely is), the underlying message of the danger of unaccounted for fissionable materials cannot be overstated.