The Lightning Stones by Jack Du Brul

Posted July 4, 2016 by Minx

The Lightning Stones by Jack Du Brul The Lightning Stones by Jack Du Brul
Genres: Action, Adventure
Release Date: August 11, 2015
Publisher: Doubleday
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 352
ISBN: 0385527756
Purchase at: Amazon
Minx's Rating:

What was Amelia Earhart carrying on her final flight? The adventure begins two thousand feet beneath the surface of the Earth.

Philip Mercer, a preeminent geologist with a taste for international intrigue and danger, rides an elevator two thousand feet into the earth at the Leister Deep Mine in Minnesota. Mercer is there to visit his old friend and mentor, Abraham Jacobs, who is leading a research team to the deepest section of the mine for a groundbreaking study on climate change. But as Mercer approaches, he is stunned to hear automatic gunfire in the massive underground chambers. By the time he finds his way to them, Abe Jacobs and the entire research team have been brutally attacked—and Mercer is left seeking not only answers but revenge.
     Mercer immediately retraces Jacobs’s tracks, searching for clues to the secret project on which the distinguished scientist was working. Staying one step ahead of a highly trained team of assassins, Mercer follows a trail that leads from a harrowing close call in the Midwest to a nail-biting showdown in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan to a remote island in the middle of the Pacific. At stake is an extraordinary scientific discovery that could irrevocably alter the planet, centered on a cache of rare crystals called lightning stones—rumored to have been aboard Amelia Earhart’s plane when it vanished on July 2, 1937.
     With his trademark combination of intellectual swagger, riveting action, and cutting-edge science, internationally bestselling author Jack Du Brul has crafted a superbly entertaining novel that will thrill his fans.


In 1937 Amelia Earhart took possession of an unknown case with objects in it that were unclear in origin but she was told that the United States government needed them. Unbeknownst to her she has “lightning stones” and was unaware of any potential effects these stones would have on her equipment to her detriment. I think the twist on the mystery of Amelia Earhart is well done.

The story opens with Philip Mercer training miners in a simulation mine deep below the earth’s crust. The characters although brief are interesting and memorable. After the final simulations are done Mercer goes to meet up with his mentor and friend Abe only to find that he has just been murdered as well as Abe’s entire team. Knowing that if he does not apprehend the criminals before they make their escape he may never find them, Mercer runs after them and grabs a ride from underneath the elevator. From this point on the action sequences start to get a bit far fetched but in fictional action could still be somewhat believable.

Searching for clues as to why Abe was killed Mercer goes to the most likely place to find them, Abe’s home. There he runs into Jordan, the daughter of an old acquaintance. Enter the formula, she’s pretty, nice body, he wants her. They look for clues and are unable to find anything of value and decide to head to Abe’s office on campus. Unfortunately it seems that the killers are looking to destroy any evidence that Abe may have left behind and have just shown up to destroy the house, and the office, and his little dog too, lol, ok kidding on the dog. This action sequence is just a bit unbelievable and mildly entertaining to me.

Despite the office being on fire Mercer is able to grab an entire trash can worth of papers that may or may not have some clues. Not having the correct equipment for the job Mercer passes the information over to the FBI who have been called in to investigate and they are able to ascertain a bite of information that relates to a geological sample that was taken in the early 1900’s. This sample had been in Abe’s possession and was the reason that the team had been targeted. Now Mercer must find out all he can about the mysterious sample and why it was worth killing over.

The main focus of this book now shifts to the political and scientific arguments  surrounding climate change and I cannot pin point why exactly but I really lost interest. Having read all seven previous novels I can say that I was not thrilled with the newest installment. The series character has no growth development at all. It has been about nine years since the last book in this series published and I would have expected for the main character Philip Mercer to have aged, changed, or grown in some way. Is that necessary no, but it would have been nice because the book was so formulaic. The way he introduces the main characters of the series is almost exactly the same, Mercer is the same, the dog, Drag, is the same, nothing has changed between the last book and this book. At one point I almost set it down because the sense of De JaVu was overwhelming. In the last book he had a woman that looked like she was going to stick and in this book she is 1) not there and 2) not even a backstory of what went wrong, why she was not there, nothing.

The plot has a good pace. The characters are as always well developed. The authors writing style is lively and full of action. The dialogue as always is snarky and amusing, so if I have all these positive points what the issue? If you had never read a book from the Phillip Mercer series then you will actually enjoy this book (unless you have passionate views about climate change or politics, then stay away). For those of you that are fans of this series maybe not so much, for me it was as if the story was the premise of the movie Groundhog Day and Mercer is just changing up how he interacts with others around him but everything else stays the same.

Have you seen the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray? What did you think of that movie? I loved it!

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