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Well Oiled: A Mayberry Multisport Adventure

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It's 2041 in the potentially oil-rich southern California town of Mayberry. Cousins and triathletes, Joey and Frank, are in the throes of deciding about colleges and careers. At a triathlon, they make a new friend, Kodi, a triathlete and geocacher. Their world is rocked when they stumble on information that may explain the mysterious death of Frank's father ten years ago. ...more
Paperback, 204 pages
Published January 23rd 2014 by Createspace (first published December 21st 2013)
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(showing 1-46)
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Allie Cresswell
Somewhere inside this book there is an edgy thriller eager to get out; engaging characters confronting a credible threat – murder, both actual and attempted, kidnap - darkly machinating forces using super hi-tech wizardry to perpetrate crime – fraud, embezzlement, theft, tax avoidance and money laundering – a threatened environmental disaster all set within an interesting, well-fleshed out vision of life thirty years from now.
So why can’t I find it?
First of all, the title is a tad misleading. I
...more
Jake Thompson
This is my revised review of Well-Oiled, a book that I think has huge potential.

The main plot of “Well Oiled” focuses on the town of Mayberry and its love/hate relationship with oil extraction. More often than not, the main plot takes a back seat to a series of numerous subplots. These subplots are random slices-of-life strung together in no particular order, and usually related to family, fitness, biking, education or computers. The plot is pleasantly lazy and meandering but the tone is serious
...more
Emma Jaye
The book revolves around two cousins who are college bound triathletes, and computer geeks. To say they are clean cut and wholesome is a bit of an understatement, life revolves around exercise and school, but they do occasionally talk to a girl. About bikes and computers. It also isn’t clear until some way into the book that its set 2040.
Every member of the extended family is nice, and the boys are happy to accept well-meaning lectures from various family members, often. Quite unlike any teenag
...more
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

To be sure, there's a great book to be written regarding the subjects being bandied about in Rubin Johnson's Well Oiled; set not exactly in the near future but not in the far future either, it complexly weaves together such current hot topics as bitcoins, geocaching, the future of "environmentally sound" o
...more
Noel Coughlan
Sep 20, 2014 Noel Coughlan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rg-review
This is the second time I have reviewed Well Oiled. I was given a copy of the book both times.

Reading the revised book (5th edition) was a strange experience. There were a lot of new and revised scenes. The changes enhanced the book greatly. The elder Wilson’s tendency to lecture was greatly curtailed, and the book had more pace than the previous version.

The way that technology is handled at the beginning of the book is refreshing. Most of 2040’s advances are treated like everyday contrivances b
...more
S.L. Shelton
Aug 04, 2014 S.L. Shelton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was provided with a copy of the updated novel in exchange for an honest review. Nice! In Johnson's updated edition, this middle school/young teen book took on a whole new feel. The story as well as the dialog flowed well and you could really see the body of work that the author set out to create. I'm impressed. I agree this is reminiscent of a modern (futuristic) Hardy Boys and I like the dynamic between Frank and Joey.

The story is quite exciting at times and the characters are likable. Well d
...more
Pearson Moore
Mildly Engaging But Implausible Sci-Fi Mystery For Teens

Title: Well Oiled: A Mayberry Multisport Adventure
Author: Rubin Johnson
Genre: Children/Teen Science Fiction
Length: 204 pages
Reviewer: Pearson Moore
Rating: 3 stars

Well Oiled by Rubin Johnson is a short sci-fi adventure/mystery novel suitable for older children and teens. The story contains several intricate subplots and reaches satisfactory resolution but fails to truly engage due to flat characters, uninspired prose, and deep implausibiliti
...more
C.C. Bradley
Jun 09, 2014 C.C. Bradley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book tells the story of two cousins who are searching for their direction during the summer between graduating from high school and starting college. One cousin is meticulous, the other shoots more from the hip. Each sees both the good and bad in their counterpart and struggles with the comparison, as well as their place in a family of quite accomplished individuals. The cousins are well delineated and quite extreme in their traits. The characterizations reminded me of the two formula one ...more
Penny Ross
The story begins with two cousins, Frank and Joey off to a triathlon. Readers are engaged in the race from the viewpoint of the competitive teens. I thought this book was going to be about the relationship between Frank and Joey through athletic endeavors they’re involved in. It’s one of the sub-plots yet there’s an overarching mystery plot woven throughout the book.

We learn that Frank and Joey are off to college in the fall. Before their lives change, readers are treated to the family dynamic o
...more
Anna Leighton
Dec 04, 2014 Anna Leighton rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, adventure, sports
Sports enthusiasts, particularly athletes interested in cross-training and/or pushing themselves to test and expand the limits of their physical abilities, adventure and mystery lovers, and people interested in exploring environmental concerns while maintaining society’s current levels of technology and industry will enjoy this thought-provoking, well-paced, lightly sci-fi story.

Set about thirty years in the future in southern California, we meet triathlete cousins Frank and Joey Wilson—two you
...more
Michael
This story is a small town murder mystery, set in 2041, with a team of unlikely detectives. Two teenaged cousins, their aged grandfather and a girl-next-door love interest combine to solve a cold case, with deep personal significance. The youthful cousins are also hardcore triathletes, geocaching fanatics, skilled computer hackers and psychologically unstable to some undefined degree. (Both are in therapy, for what we do not know. The author hints that one possibly both, it was unclear, have ...more
Susan Hasler
The cover of Well-Oiled promises adventure, but novel delivers a lecture series. The book has elements that could attract a young readership: a pair of young triathletes, a near-future world with cool gadgetry, and a mystery to solve. Unfortunately, these things are buried under the weight of stilted dialogue. All of the main characters are nice, decent, exceptionally intelligent people who suffer from the irrepressible urge to speechify. They go on for pages about subjects that sometimes relate ...more
Jeffrey Carl
Oct 26, 2014 Jeffrey Carl rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors
Part American Graffiti, part X-Files, and part The Waltons. One gets the sense from this book that after five editions, the author has refined it to so the characters and narrative shine through as he has intended.
The American Graffiti thread has several characters coming of age and confronting their future after high school. But discovering their future means dealing with their past.
A mysterious death needs to be explained, and a mysterious crime has to be uncovered and solved using slightl
...more
Elizabeth Rose
Nov 05, 2014 Elizabeth Rose rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Well Oiled is the story of Frank and Joey, cousins living in California in the not-too-distant future. They participate in triathlons, crush on girls, mull over their university options, and investigate the death of Frank's father. An odd mix of futurism, mystery, and a teenage coming-of-age story, it works better than I expected it to. Unfortunately, two problems drag this book down.
The first problem is the often staccato dialog. Characters often speak stiffly and are slower on the uptake than
...more
Alison Cubitt
Oct 09, 2014 Alison Cubitt rated it liked it
In this book is a story about a boy coming to terms with the loss of his father, something that would resonate with teenagers everywhere, who have had to cope with the death of a parent. But it's the way that its packaged and the mixed genres – part sports adventure, part buddy story, part futuristic, part eco-thriller that left this reader dazed and confused.

I want to know why these characters are compelled to overachieve – competing in triathlons, going to Harvard, etc. I don't need to know t
...more
R. Leib
Five Category Rating System:
Concept: Star
Writing: 1/2 Star
Structure:
Credibility: 1/2 Star
Character: Star
-------------------------
Total: 3 Stars

Audience Suitability: All

"Well Oiled" tells the story of two cousins and their family and friends who are drawn into a dark mystery surrounding their town's past, present, and future. Set in the near future, "Well Oiled" postulates the next evolution of our technological society. Although intelligent and well written from a technical standpoint, "Well Oi
...more
Russell Atkinson
This book is crammed with lots of fascinating elements – triathlons, bitcoins, geocaching, energy policy, and more. I especially liked the Cal Tech ditch day stories, the Mexican cave exploring, and the history of the Esselen Indians to name a few. The author is clearly knowledgeable and passionate about all these things and I learned a lot reading it, but in the end, it suffered from a lack of cohesion. The plot took second place to the author’s desire to educate us on yet one more thing. The ...more
Darrell Nelson
Oct 11, 2014 Darrell Nelson rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. However, it is a very dense book as well. Rubin Johnson seems to have taken hundreds of technical books to boil down to a couple paragraphs. Economics, Petroleum engineering, and Computer Science. I definitely get the sense he knows what he is talking about, but it is a lot to take in.
Taking complex scientific ideas and boiling them down in simple language is tough, the soft sciences, Economics and Computer Science even tougher. Johnson does pull it off better than
...more
Jade Envy
Sep 13, 2014 Jade Envy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a feisty, well-written book, the third edition being head and shoulders above its predecessor. Passages are short, sharp and to the point. Characterization is realistic.

I didn’t quite understand why a prayer was printed in boldface, though that complaint is just a minor quibble, considering how well-written the rest of the book is. My only real gripe is that the title was misleading for me. The book is so much more about software engineering and technology than it is about sports or cycl
...more
Gaurav AGRAWAL
Sep 29, 2014 Gaurav AGRAWAL rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Johnson has done a great job by coming with a great teenage story. This is teenage adventure story. The events take place in future year 2040. The character development is great and story goes at a good pace. Frank and Joey are joyfully developed. They are cousins. Both are different but they complement each other very well. The story also gives an account of future technologies at some places. Author must be congratulated for his great imaginations but he did well by avoiding of excess of it. ...more
James Lynam
James Lynam rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2014
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Rubin Johnson graduated from Harvard College with a bachelor's degree in engineering, and then the University of California at Berkeley with a Ph. D. in operations research. Following his studies, Rubin backpacked for over a year -- first across Africa, and then across Asia. He is an avid endurance athlete having completed multiple Ironman distances including IM Canada and IM Lake Tahoe. When he ...more
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