Written by retired USAF Colonel Gregory S. Lamb, "A Dangerous Element" is based heavily on events you'll be surprised to see in the news. It will take you past the Iranian borders into their nuclear weapons development and uncover a top-secret weapon developed by DARPA - through the eyes of a former combat pilot who knows how to work the system. Description: An American covert operation to destroy the nuclear enrichment program at Natanz, Iran goes bad when a virus is discovered in the facility's closed control network. Former combat pilot, Colonel Mark "Coolhand" Reynolds holds the key to unraveling the cast of shady characters involved in the operation and cover up. In doing so, he becomes a target of another top-secret weapon developed by DARPA. With Iran threatening retribution and the start of a thermonuclear war, Coolhand doesn't have time to fix things the right way.
Gregory S. Lamb is semi-retired. He studied Geography as an undergraduate, earned his Masters Degree in International Relations, and was awarded a fellowship in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.
Lamb's writing career began as a passion and past time during his youth and undergraduate education. His formal writing career shifted to technical writing during his professional years. Retirement brought on a resurgence of creativity. Coupled with his life experiences, his passion for shedding light on the injustice experienced by refugees drove him to write his novel, The People In Between: A Cyprus Odyssey. He lives with his wife Cindy in Portland, Oregon. The Lambs have three grown sons.
After reading The People in Between: A Cyprus Odyssey, I could not wait for A Dangerous Element to come out. In the mean time, I interviewed Mr. Lamb, a retired military officer, for my blog.
First of all, let me tell you, Mr. Lamb’s ability to describe places he’s been to is uncanny. The settings for his novels are inspired by the places where he lived and worked while serving in the armed forces of the United Stares. The way he described Cyprus in The People in Between is unbelievable. It truly took me away on an adventure to a country I’ve never been to and will probably never see.
A Dangerous Element is just as good, if not better. If you’re into military action and conspiracies, then this book is definitely for you.
There are a few characters to fallow, but the main one is Mark Reynolds, a Colonel in the United States Air Force. The book starts off with Mark waking up in a psych ward at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He escapes and that’s when the story actually begins.
Once again, Mr. Lamb takes us on a wonderful journey not just here in the U.S. but also to Iran and once again, Cyprus (Turkey).
Like I had mentioned before, this book is packed with military action; conspiracies, broken friendships and nuclear weapons of mass destruction…
Colonel Mark Coolhand Reynolds is behind closed doors in a psych ward being given meds that will hopefully erase his memory. Many other combat soldiers both officers and enlisted men are among the patients in this hospital being given these drugs. Entering the halls you see them carrying a special project notebook having to add their thoughts and notes before begin allowed to leave their daily meeting. As each person leaves he/she is told to stand in line and get their meds. But, Mark is smart, realizes what is happening and hides the meds within his cheeks and never swallows anything. The year is 2011 the month is December as the story flashes back several years to where it all began. Just what does the government want him and others to forget? Why are they going to such lengths to keep these people you might say in captivity? What will happen if he finally escapes? A Dangerous Element is the work of retired USAF Colonel Gregory S. Lamb and will bring you up close and personal into Iran, its borders and smack in the middle of their nuclear weapons development program. Readers will learn just how they plan to develop the weapons, the materials used and how one Mossad agent and one Iranian scientist work together but for different reasons to help Iran become a nuclear power. An undercover and top-secret weapon, which was developed by DARPA, is an integral part of what is about to be revealed. The Iranians have developed an nuclear enrichment program at Natanz, which Israel and the United States wants destroyed. An American covert operation to take it down goes bad when a virus that has been placed in the facility’s closed control network is found. Former combat pilot, Colonel Mark "Coolhand" Reynolds holds the key to unraveling the cast of shady characters involved in the operation and cover up. In doing so, he becomes a target of another top-secret weapon developed by DARPA. With Iran threatening retribution and the start of a thermonuclear war, Coolhand doesn't have time to fix things the right way.
Author Gregory S. Lamb, a retired USAF Colonel, has drawn upon a wealth of personal knowledge and experience to create this believable, contemporary, military thriller. With a strong protagonist, and interesting cast of support characters, Lamb takes the reader on a roller coaster ride involving a compromised US plot to disable Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, an attempted government cover-up, and enough action and intrigue to make the book hard to put down. Dr.Farrouck “Reza,” Khedem decided to enter a ten-kilometer event sponored by a group of runners from the University of Isfahan. Whether by accident, fate happenstance, he becomes friends with another runner named Heydar. A strong friendship ensued as they decided to workout together on a regular basis and a solid trust came about. But, who is friend really is and where he works provides a strong element of suspense for readers.
While their friendship developed Mark Reynolds was placed at Langley Air Force Base where he presented of a program he created called FACE or Fighter Aircraft Communications Enhancement. Briefing in front of the Major General Glazer who welcomed him with accolades for his work would send him to many bases all over the world.
Next we find Reza on the track with his new friend Heydar and as their friendship becomes stronger he explains the changes the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran is undergoing and temporarily moving his projects closer to the research and development nuclear reactor near the “Isfhan campus.” With his wife finally leaving Tehran, his life seeming on the right path Reza had no idea that that things were about to take a different turn. Heydar had his own agenda and working with the CIA and other agents his job was to find a way to infiltrate and learn how to control and command the Natanz facility. Learning the possibilities of point entry was vital and just how he hoped would come from his friend Reza. Discussing with his friend his role in Iran’s uranium enrichment techniques he hoped to come up with a plan that would destroy what ever the Iranians were doing and hopefully not get caught. But, others whom he thought were working with him would soon learn were using him until the job was done. As we once again meet Snake or Wormwood his affiliation with him was limited and whose role lethal. The catalyst for what would happen will surprise you and the technology used everyone wishes they had access too. Not everyone would notice changes in their computer codes or extra information flashing across their screens. Hiding in plain sight is someone close to the others and what happens is more than explosive.
A virus placed inside the computer network of an Iranian uranium facility and those responsible in the US government have to find a way to cover it up. Coolhand realizes that is might be the only one that can unravel this mess but first he needs to disappear, go off the radio and find a way to stop what the President of Iran has planned. Finding his way from Afghanistan, Cyrus, Virginia and across the globe the author takes readers inside Natanz, in the mind of a rogue CIA agent named Snake, and allows us to see first hand the depths to which we will go to take down an adversary as you read Chapter 18 and learn exactly what others experienced when the virus hit. But, Mark finally escapes Bethesda and finds himself in need of help. But, just how Coolhand manages to evade his captures and find his way to some type of freedom is quite ingenious. Throwing up those that are trying to follow him and someone claiming to be his friend, just how will he manage to stay alive?
But, within every mission that goes wrong there is a scapegoat or someone that will be held responsible as Reza realizes an act of friendship that he thought was a wonderful kindness would be his downfall and much more. Hoping to find a way to escape he learns the identity of someone involved and that might be able to help him.
Listening to Snake and hoping that he would learn more about the virus or STUXNET, we find out just what he has in mind for those involved and hope that Mark can stop him before it’s too late. Betrayals, lies, deceits, plans that go sour and so many lives at stake as we learn more about the many missions that Mark was slated for, the video war games and two women that would play an important role. One was involved in administering the “designer” drug that he experienced at the beginning of the novel and later on when he lost memory of certain incidents. The other a Mossad agent linked to the first but how and why?
So, what would happen if the tables were turned and Mark had the power to administer to others what was done to him? Midview-Ultra: What will he do when he gets close to his victim? Will he be able to pull it off and supply Iran with someone to blame? Will MISIRI get their man and hand him over to Ahmad? An ending so explosive and a mission that did not end. What is the final outcome and where will Mark go next? What happens to those involved and will Iran go through with her threats? From Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Cyprus, Washington, Maryland and Virginia this novel explores many different issues dealing with nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction. One air force pilot that just wants to get behind the wheel of a plane and fly. A government that has other plans for him. A CIA agent, scientists, psychologists and those that are affluent in making uranium-enriched bombs provide and ending so explosive so deadly that only author Gregory S. Lamb could provide. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is at the center of this novel and in reality it is responsible for the development of new technologies for use by the military. These technologies will have a major effect on the world as well as computer networking and more. “Today, DARPA’s mission is still to prevent technological surprise to the US, but also to create technological surprise for our enemies.” Wikipedia. What’s next for Coolhand and just where will he wind up? Only our five star Colonel and Author can tell you that when I present him with FIVE GOLDEN EAGLES for writing this suspense filled, fast paced plot and outstanding novel with a character that is strong, straightforward and smart. Fran Lewis: Reviewer
A Dangerous Element by Greg Lamb is a military/espionage thriller told by an ex-U.S. officer who seems to know a great deal about his subject. This is not a book that will necessarily appeal to everyone. But for readers interested in the world of contemporary international conflict and domestic bureaucratic maneuvering, A Dangerous Element will be a satisfying read.
The book is the story of Colonel Mark “Coolhand” Reynolds a former Air Force pilot who finds himself thrust into the arcane world of military and defense bureaucracy. Mark gets involved in a plan to place disrupting technology into the computer system of an Iranian nuclear facility. His duties are made more difficult by an more ambitious officer from Coolhand’s past, ominously named “Snake”.
Halfway around the world an Iranian engineer, Reza, has become concerned about his own involvement in the production of material to be used in nuclear weapons, while under the watchful eye of a Mossad operative he believes has become his best friend and running partner.
A Dangerous element relies a little too much on military jargon and a confusing collection of acronyms, but Lamb’s experience as a retired Air Force Colonel gives the narrative an air of authority. Lamb is at his best when recreating the behind the scenes tension that must exist in the world of ambitious, career-minded military officers. He draws a clear picture of a world occupied by people dedicated both to fulfilling their mission andto advancing their careers.
One of the most interesting aspects of Lamb’s book is the human face he puts on the Iranian engineer. Reza is dedicated to his work and loyal to his country, but Lamb’s portrayal leaves the reader wondering about how many other people in the Iranian nuclear community might have second thoughts about the direction that country seems to taking in the development of its nuclear capability.
A Dangerous Element is a clear-eyed look into the world of the U.S. military, with intriguing observations about the conduct on international espionage.
A thoroughly satisfying read from start to finish. Mr. Lamb’s latest novel is an action thriller with enough technical and espionage intrigue to keep the attention of the most discriminating connoisseurs of this genre. The story opened with a mysterious passage that kept me reading late into the night. I was so captivated, I picked it up first thing the next morning. This story really drew me into the world of those things we don't like to think about.
The main character, Mark Reynolds is an air force pilot and a man of integrity and an eye for the bigger picture. The roles of the other characters, a CIA agent and a scientist converge as Iran's uranium enrichment for bomb-making purposes looms ever closer to the possibility of nuclear war as the final outcome. I especially liked the Iranian Scientist and the way his lifestyle weaved into the main plot.Though maybe a little cliche, Reynolds shines as the hero who can solve just about any problem. From the combat action in the skies over Afghanistan where he flew his jet into the jaws of danger, to his skill as a savvy diplomat and spy, it seemed he could do no wrong.
I enjoyed the smooth flow of Mr. Lamb’s style of presenting a good story, which by the way comes off well and smacks of authenticity. The technical details involving the machinery, and ins and out of military command and how events get handled. It provided an insight that the average citizen is not privy to and it really drew the reader into that world of the CIA and military espionage. The story ended nicely with the loose ends tied just loose enough to lead me to believe Lamb will write a sequel, which I would very much look forward to reading.
A contemporary military thriller that keeps you turning pages.
Author Gregory S. Lamb, a retired USAF Colonel, has drawn upon a wealth of personal knowledge and experience to create this believable, contemporary, military thriller. With a strong protagonist, and interesting cast of support characters, Lamb takes the reader on a roller coaster ride involving a compromised US plot to disable Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities, an attempted government cover-up, and enough action and intrigue to make the book hard to put down.
When an ultra-secret US computer virus is found embedded in the closed computer network of an Iranian uranium enrichment facility, elements of US government scramble to cover their tracks. Colonel Mark “Coolhand” Reynalds, a former combat pilot, finds himself over his head in the middle of the melee, caught in the crossfire, and targeted by elements of his own government. Thrust into action, Coolhand goes off the grid and is forced to take matters into his own hands in order to save himself and prevent thermonuclear war.
Lamb’s writing style is enjoyable, and his pacing held my attention. The plot is engrossing, the book well-written, and he certainly knows his way around the US Military machine; however I still felt like some pieces of the puzzle were missing. For me, a few questions where left unanswered around the background of the protagonist’s direct involvement in the action, and this is the only reason I haven’t given this one five stars. None-the-less, “A Dangerous Element” is a highly entertaining thriller, and well worth a read.
Liam Saville - Author of Predator Strike, and Resolute Action
I very much enjoyed reading Mr. Lamb's first novel, The People In Between and looked forward to his second book. In A Dangerous Element, he takes us back to Cyprus and to the turmoil of the Middle East in a story of espionage, terrorism, and government subterfuge that could rival some of the best political thrillers. Mr. Lamb's knowledge of military operations and the details he includes in the novel make it all the more chilling because one begins to wonder how much of the work is fiction, and how much of it could be cold reality. However, his extensive use of military detail and acronyms is also one of the things that tends to bog the story down. The writing sometimes gets lost in the details. I did enjoy the character development of the protagonist, Mark "Coolhand" Reynolds, his adversary, Randy "Snake" Wormwood, and the earnest if somewhat naïve Iranian nuclear engineer, Dr. Farrouk "Reza" Khedem. I especially like the way Mr. Lamb gives us insight into the Iranian people through Reza's story. I did feel, however, that we could have been given more in the unfolding of the tale. Very often the author pushed swiftly through important scenes by telling us what happened instead of putting us directly in the scene. All in all, though, it was a fascinating, intriguing read and I would recommend A Dangerous Element to readers who enjoy military thrillers and espionage.
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This fast-paced techno-thriller will keep you engaged from start to finish. The story's wonderful collision of black-ops, high tech warfare, and vintage spy-vs-spy dialogue spins a classic espionage tale around one of the most successful cyber-warfare attacks in history.
Colonel Mark "Coolhand" Reynolds finds himself thrust into the middle of a covert plan to reach out from the ephemeral cyberspace and literally grasp and strangle an enemy's hardened military assets. Add in a mysterious and sultry psychiatrist, a well-meaning but clueless physicist, a couple of down-and-dirty covert operatives, and a bit of organized crime, stir well, and you have one break-neck story that barrels to an in-your-face climax that leaves your head spinning and begging for more.
Author Greg Lamb does a fine job developing the characters of Heydar and Reza, who are two of the key players involved in the covert operation. I only wish that Mr. Lamb had done an equally thorough job with two other main characters; Rina and Rachel Jennings. I struggled with rating this book 4 stars because of that lack of character development. However, I am confident that a 2nd edition or sequel is in the works and will turn this novel or series into truly 4-star quality entertainment.
This is a very compelling novel. If I was writing a movie pitch I would say, as I put in the title, 'Top Gun' meets 'The Manchurian Candidate'.
Without giving away plot points, the main character is a Colonel in the US Airforce. His starting point is as a combat pilot in Afghanistan. The flying scenes are done really well and reminded me of a contemporary version of the old 'Biggles' novel by Captain W. E. Johns that I used to read as a young boy. The Colonel finds himself transferred into other roles and he unwittingly becomes embroiled in murky dealings with secretive espionage operations run by an apparently rouge CIA agent.
The action moves between Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Cyprus, Washington and Virginia. The plot deals with issues that come straight from today's news headlines.
an important point to note is that the author is a recently retired US Airforce Colonel and this gives the novel an authenticity that can be felt on every page.
For anyone who enjoys thriller novels, espionage, or stories of war and the military then this one is a 'must read'. Well wroth a read.
They say "Write what you know"— Author, Gregory S. Lamb, a retired United States Air Force Colonel, knows his stuff and it pays off in this riveting military thriller.
The story starts with a bang and the reader is hooked when US Air Force Colonel Mark Reynolds wakes up in a psychiatric ward of a naval hospital.
The action only escalates from there, as the story takes us into Iran, nuclear weapons, secret operations, and cover ups.
A Dangerous Element is a thrilling ride from start to finish, with a fast pace, strong narrative, and authentic descriptions that bring this story to life. Especially if you enjoy military or conspiracy stories— you will love this one.
*FTC Disclosure: Please note that I received this book free through GoodReads FirstReads and the opinions in this review are my own.
I received a complimentary copy of A Dangerous Element from the author, in exchange for an honest review. My husband is actually the one who read this book, and below are this thoughts on it:
Overall, this is an enjoyable read and was entertaining throughout. The basic premise of the book is well thought out, reflecting topics that are happening in the real world, and the characters were well developed and believable. The story incorporates a good deal of technical detail which enhances key parts in the plot line.
On the negative side, the story incorporates a plot twist where the main character is subjected to “an experimental” drug by other US Government players. This is a rather tired theme and I did not find it to be a realistic part of the modern, covert operations world.
I thought the idea behind the storyline was intriguing and I found myself wanting to read further and find what would happen to Mark, Coolhand, as the story progressed. However, as someone that has no military experience I found wading through some of the acronyms and technical details a bit tedious at times. I think it is great to add in some information at that level, however, a little goes a long way and I think the storyline could have been a bit better developed and clarified in the given amount of pages available in place of some of the military jargon.
Though I am not a fan of war in general and war literature in particular, I found more than enough reasons to be captivated by this story.
It may be the fact that, prior to reading A Dangerous Element, I have watched three seasons of Homeland in less than two weeks. This is certainly a case of “if you have enjoyed this, then you will love that.”
Suspense, intelligence, fast pace, drama… Yeah, that worked really well for me.
Intelligently written with details military buffs will love. A plot-driven story rather than a character-driven one, the characterization reminded me of Stephen King's "The Dead Zone." While some may not prefer this style, those who do and those who like intricate details, particularly regarding military operations and technology, will enjoy this book.