Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tim Downs's The Ends of The Earth ~ Reviewed
Ends of the Earth (Bug Man Series)
Pub. Date: September 2009
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, 358pp
Nick must face the realities of lost opportunities and the passing of time as he struggles to protect a mother and her child from agro-terrorists in this latest novel from award-winning author Tim Downs.
Dr. Nick Polchak is called to a farm community in eastern North Carolina to investigate a murder. The victim is the owner of a failing organic farm who had developed a drug problem, and the police think his murder is drug-related.
Nick finds the remains of a bale of marijuana scattered in the tomato fields--but the South American marijuana seems to be strangely infested with a common North Carolina insect: the tobacco hornworm. To further confound the mystery, the bugs are infected with a fungus from Asia. Nick suspects the man wasn't killed because of the marijuana, but because of the insects it contained.
He then discovers that a vicious agricultural scheme is underway to cripple the U.S.'s corn and ethanol production. But just how far will these terrorists go in their quest?
I love Nick Polchak. And I love Tim Downs' writing.
Ends of the Earth mostly satisfied my need for more of the above. Mostly.
Nick was classic Nick; focused, clueless in the art of human interactions, sarcastic and brilliant. The story was full of freakishly icky things that hopefully are not likely to become reality. Fascinating plot points include: agroterrorism, dog heroism, bugs, organic farming, murder, bugs, forensic entomology, farming, and autism.
Add to that a love triangle unlike any I've ever encountered and you've got a great, entertaining and detailed read.
However, I struggled a bit with the triangle. I've read all the bug man series within the past couple of months so I have a pretty good feel for what's going on for Nick romantically. Or I thought I did anyway. But I didn't buy some of the dialogue between a couple of characters. There were a couple of conversations that bordered on annoying and unbelievable. I also struggled a bit with the interest in one particular woman. I didn't read sparks in the first story and didn't buy into the long-term emotional connection that seemed much stronger in Ends than it ever did in the original story. Also, there were times where Nick was too far offstage and I really missed his presence.
I feel picky for even stating my issues, but, if you are a fan of Downs/Polchak I want to warn you. The end is very open as well. As a matter of fact, Downs, wants the reader to pick the ending from two different possibilities on his website. I haven't done that yet but plan to. If you aren't a fan of Downs and you like forensic, fun science facts, sarcastic characters and descriptive writing, you really should become one. This series is great.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer