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The Exiled Element by John L. Betcher
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's review
May 25, 2012

it was amazing

The Exiled Element
Author: John Betcher

A secret meeting between an army Colonel and a U.S. Senator reveal information about an Air Force bas in the Mojave Desert. Area 51 houses the nation’s black projects. Only a chosen select few know it even exists. Rumors spread as to the purpose of this base and what might be within its walls would definitely surprise the reader. Colonel Jackson and Unite States Senator Elbert Grossman were meeting about a project called Aurora. Special preparations were made to guard the true location of Area 51, its contents even from the Senator. Before touring the facility known as Hangar 16, the Senator needed to read and sign certain documents. But, an unknown observer for other reasons was monitoring Grossman’s actions.

Appearances can be deceiving as one would be attacked and mugger would find out. Beth Becker was leaving a fundraiser for the Minneapolis Art Institute and heading home. Leaving the hotel she strategically placed her keys in her hand in order to thwart off any danger. She was always prepared for the unknown. Taking her keys and placing them in her hand with the longest one protruding between her 2nd and 3rd fingers, Beth started toward the elevator and the garage to get to her car. As she entered the elevator she sensed another presence and an unknown man asked to share the ride with her. But, sometimes holding the door for someone made be a deadly mistake. One mugger would learn just what happens when a woman fights back.

Beth was able to take down her attacker and wound up in the hospital. Upon her release she was order to CIA headquarters. Recalled to active duty Beth reluctantly travels to headquarters and encounters a surly deputy director. But, Beth takes no prisoners and when confronted with certain deviations from protocol, she explains her position quite clearly.

Flashback to Egypt 18 month prior to this meeting with the deputy director where several Egyptian scientists were hovering over a pile aluminum castings hoping to create a model airplane. This plane was called Aurora. Aurora was presented to them with the help of an American U.S. Senator who managed to get the planes and give them to the GIS or Egypt’s version of the CIA in order to create plane with revolutionary technologies. But, would these scientists succeed and what would happen if they did not?

Let’s come back to the present where Beth is about to confront the CIA Director to learn just why someone at the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate wanted her and her alone to handle the assassination of the Egyptian President and much more yet to be revealed. Enter James Becker her husband as she relates some of the events to him and what her role might be.

While Beth is about to meet with the CIA Director, Beck is meeting with the Chief Deputy Sheriff who is about to enlist his help guarding a dignitary coming to Ottawa County. As they discuss the job Beth is about to learn more about hers. Will both turn out to be dangerous and just who is this dignitary and what will be involved in guarding him? But, no one will reveal who the official is and why he/she needs protection.

Flashing back to the Aurora project we listen to a discussion between the Commander and the Directorate wondering if the plane will fly and if the mission will succeed. As the Commander decides to move ahead with the making of the prototype out of titanium and magnesium the reader is privy to the inner most feelings and fears of both men dealing with this sensitive project. Reenter Elizabeth and the start of her mission learning more about the woman who is interested in working with her or is she as her superior states wanting to give her disinformation. The author shares his extensive research about the area, Israeli and Egyptian relations and the ramifications on all sides related to the death of the President of Egypt.

As the author relates the problems with the Aurora project and the lack of understanding of the Commander in charge the scientists pray for their lives and hopefully for success. But, the man who presented them with the information is a loose end and the end result for one Senator might not be reelection. Added to the mix we have Elizabeth who needs to find out just where this Rasha is and her reasons for wanting to contact her. No one seems to know where here message originated from or how to answer her. Just who Silver Star is remains a piece of the puzzle that has not been revealed.

Author John Betcher takes the reader deep inside the corruption of the CIA, depths to which one government will go to obtain the technology we have and the cost to the scientists of that country. The research in this book is extensive as we learn a lot about foreign relationships, security, diplomatic courtesies and Elizabeth’s talent of code breaking.

While Elizabeth makes contact with Silver Star, Beck is learning more about the security detail that might be needed for the dignitary. Meeting with Silver Star she learned the reason she requested to meet with her alone. One reason for wanting to meet with Beth dealt with an incident from the past and the second and more grave would connect the security plan for the same dignitary that Beck was supposed to protect as a hired killer was being paid to eliminate the same man. The preparations in place but Beck and Gunner want to take more precautions as a killer that calls himself The Raptor is just waiting to take his shot. But, just how this connects with why Beth was sent to Cairo you just won’t believe until you read it for yourself. But, the end result was not exactly what the local police expected as the assassin’s bullet hit its target and now Beck, Gunner and his old friend Bull are determined to take this killer down. When Beth learns the end result of her mission and that it is linked to the assassination of the Senator will she come home or will she wait for her CIA contact to provide further information?

But, the red tape seems to be piling up as Beth employs the help of not only Hitch but hopefully the Deputy Director to get some answers as to why the Egyptians ordered a hit on a U.S. Senator and whether our government was going to take any action. Would they learn of his involvement in the Aurora project? Just why didn’t the Army want the CIA to investigate a foreign spying issue? Why hide the issue of the stolen plans? Then we hear Beck’s voice explaining how they are going to handle the investigation in Red Wing by giving the reader an inside course in police procedures, protocol and how their investigative team operates. With the help of Bull, Gunner and Beck manage to catch the killer. But, would they make a deal with him in order to get those behind the hit? When Beth is kidnapped and placed in a cell she felt isolated, betrayed by those she was working for and hoped that someone would rescue her. What happens and why Beck realized she was in danger and his plan to rescue her would reveal more than just who her kidnappers were and just who in her own government betrayed her. Trying to cast blame on Rasha and not admitting that there was much more behind the assassination of the Senator and the Egyptian President Beck and Bull race the clock to try and save Beth and hopefully find learn the real truth behind the Aurora Project, why it failed and the Army’s secret. The ending you certainly won’t expect. Who finally pays for the crime I won’t reveal. Just who was behind the assassinations and why is classified by the CIA and the information is sealed between the pages of this book only to revealed to the individual reader upon reading the book and promising never to divulge any of the information about the project, Area 51 or who was behind the killings and the kidnapping. Once again author John Betcher pens a novel filled with explosions, deceit, lies and disloyalty. Will Beth come out unscathed? What about Rasha? Filled with humor, suspense and definitely fast paced this is one book whose title might read The Exiled Element but the only place it should be exiled to tons of bookshelves waiting to be read.

Fran Lewis: reviewer

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