The Lightning File, by Eric E. Wright (Hidden Brook Press, 2007)
“My discovery of terrorist cells operating in Canada coincided with Stephanie’s request that I move out.”
And so begins journalist Joshua Radley’s harrowing adventure.
Well-liked by almost everyone at the Toronto newspaper where he works, Josh is in the boss’ bad books. He’s been spending too much time chasing a hunch about a new drug ring linked to international terrorists. With a few tenuous leads and a faceless hacker friend, Josh slowly begins to piece together some clues.
As gifted as he is with news stories, Josh isn’t so good at relationships. His wife can’t take his workaholic ways anymore and says they need time apart. All he wanted was to track down this terrorist threat before it’s too late. Now, he’s dealing with writer’s block on the stories he’s actually been assigned, a tumult of emotions over his separation, a shaky faith, and temptation in the form of a beautiful woman who shares his commute.
The Lightning File languished in my “should read” pile too long because I thought it might be traumatic. Terrorists, after all, get pretty intense. But Josh is our narrator for the whole story, and although he’s shaken by his experiences it’s not an upsetting book to read. Instead, it’s a fast-paced puzzle he’s racing to solve.
His investigations take him into nuclear power plants and other places that require a lot of detail. Author Eric E. Wright does a fine job of keeping it all understandable, although at times the volume of facts got a bit too much for me.
Perhaps it’s the weight of facts that makes me feel there’s more “telling” than “showing” in this novel, although Josh tells us a lot about his feelings too. The plot gets very complex as it progresses, but it’s all part of unravelling the mystery. And the details could come out of today’s newscasts – or tomorrow’s.
The Lightning File is a well-crafted, high-stakes novel that will appeal to men and women both. It’s the winner of the 2007 Canadian Christian Writing Award in two categories: best mystery/suspense and best independently-published book.
Canadian Eric E. Wright is the author of five non-fiction books. The Lightning File is his first novel, and his second, Captives of Minara, also featuring Josh Radley, released in November 2009. You can learn more about Eric at The Country Window site and read an interview with him at the Hot Apple Cider site.