Speed the Dawn: Philip Donlay
The tension begins from the first page as hundreds of white-hot meteor fragments destroys Earth in many places. Monterey Bay, California is the hardest hit and once the fires start nothing can stop the carnage and the death tolls that take place. Huge fires destroy the once picturesque landscape and the power grid collapses as the fires move swiftly taking down buildings, roads, and anything in its path. Donavan Nash and Shannon are left alone to survive and deal with this nightmare and they are trapped. Stuck at the Monterey Aquarium they have to find their way to higher ground before the waves and water rise. Fear reigns as he and Shannon find their way to partial safety only to have to tackle the elements, find transportation and hopefully help the small group of survivors they come in contact with survive.
Dr. Lauren McKenna works with the Pentagon and the Forest Service hoping to figure out a way to find Donavan, Shannon and many others before it’s too late. The fear mounts, the teams that are hoping to save those left alive in place but constraints happen, roads are closed, the fires are not well contained and Lauren and her security chief, Montero plus pilot Janie face the unknown. The weather conditions, the wind velocity, the lack of communication, phone lines down and the fear that her Donovan did not make it. Lauren finds herself in need of phones, contact with the Pentagon and hopefully able to work with Cal Fire in order to understand the total gravity of the situation. Added in there are many casualties and the helicopter they are using has to do an emergency rescue mission, find the Buckley her companies ship, learn the damage to it and hopefully set down so she can coordinate between agencies. Meanwhile Donavan and Shannon find William, who was seriously injured, hope to find shelter but encounter thieves, motorcycle gangs and get shot out hoping to stay several steps ahead of them and what has yet to come.
The fires are many and the tsunami is relentless as Dr. Lauren McKenna at first was flying toward the coast when the action begins and the small plane is hit. Working hard to hopefully save so many people, the author uses his flying experience, his knowledge of aeronautics to create the threats to destroy everything from Monterey to San Francisco.
Donavan Nash created Eco Watch and his team is unbeatable. After the dedication in memory of Howard Buckley naming the ship after him the meteor strikes and from this point on fires wiped out cities and coasts and the tension and suspense builds. With Shannon, Howard’s girlfriend trapped and alone they have to create their own rescue mission. Lauren is an analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and is a strong- minded woman determined to save lives at all costs. The members of her team, including the Captain of the Buckley, many higher ups in the Pentagon come to her aid but at one point the military shuts her out and down. Anyone reading this novel will understand the dynamics of what happens when meteors hit, the power of tsunamis and the ramifications of the fires and what would happen if Cal Fire and their team cannot stop some of them with their 747. With the aid of Cal Fire, the Pentagon and the Forest Service and the team from another ship including their own Ethan, Shannon who learns a secret about Donovan that could destroy his live, this book keeps the reader on edge until the very last words are spoken on the last page.
As Donovan and Shannon come to realize that they are their own rescuers and Lauren is not sure is a video feed shows where they are, he manages to escape and thwart these drug dealers/looters who shoot him. Their only way out is to find a plane and hope they can fly it without crashing.
This is a story about dedication, loyalties, determination, deceptions, hope, truths that are uncovered, survival and a team that is relentless in their pursuit of justice, understanding the gravity of situations and one Dr. Lauren McKenna that might compromise her values but in the end will it be worth the risks she’s taking?
Checking the GOES satellites they learned they are done. They tried to pull information from other agencies and get visual confirmation but the signs that the remnants of what would now impact on the Tropical Depression Evangeline would change everything and the dangers heightened. What happens when Ernie suggests that should start setting backfires? The ideas flow and the evacuations need to be in place and they need more weather updates. Lauren was asked how this all happened and how a single meteor hurtling through space has a single vector. Everything travels in a straight line. She then explains the Kessler Effect. When Lauren receives an aerial image of the fires she turns form her phone to the computer to see the damage and learn more. Looking at the image, finding the back burns that al Fire and The Forest Service started. They seemed small and paled in comparison to the fires they were designed to stop.
The ending will either rip everyone and everything apart or will permanently cement friendships forever. Changes are made and Shannon asks for something special as she created something memorable for both Donovan and Lauren. What does the future hold for them? What is the end result of all the tragedy? William and Rick were seriously hurt and Shannon barely made it out of the ocean. But, Lauren’s thoughts and daring convictions will hopefully safe the day but what about the military and the rules she broke? Will she remain afloat or will they take her down?
As Montero brings some news to both Lauren and Donovan hidden truths are discussed and friendships are on the line. Eco Watch is an amazing company and the team on the Buckley adds experience, expertise and hope that some day these catastrophic events will be taken more seriously by politicians, military personnel, the government and put safety, survival of those needing rescue ahead of funding and politics. Author Philip Donlay sets the world aflame with back fires, meteor showers, tsunamis, danger, helicopter disasters and one helicopter pilot named Janie that is remarkable, strong and persistent. Let’s hope all of these characters come back for more.
Speed the Dawn: Hold your breath until the ending!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine