A Blind Thrust is the term that describes an earthquake that occurs on a fault that is hidden from view – these sorts of earthquakes can be the most destructive – and here Marquis uses this as a metaphor in his thriller mystery of the same name, in the vein of Dan Brown, but instead of religion we get science, and instead of Langdon we meet a protagonist in the form of geologist Joe Higheagle, a man passionate about his work, and the environment.
Are the blind thrusts across the Front Range in Colorado the result of fracking, or something more sinister? With his team of technical wizards to gather data, he must find out the truth before the mysterious force trying to stop them succeeds with fatal consequences for his team – and the towns of Colorado.
A wonderfully crafted story, the opening alone is enough to hook you in, as two dinosaur skeletons are uncovered, still in battle where they fell, entombed suddenly by a catastrophic landslide, symbolizing the struggle between Nature’s beasts and the full force of the earth itself. Technical and scientific detail brings Joe Higheagle’s work to life, and conveys the passion he holds for his subject infectiously to the reader so that from the first, Blind Thrust is a page-turning adventure that will hold its audience with the attention to detail only a really well-researched author can bring to the table. And you can’t get any better than Marquis, a highly-experienced geologist working in California and Texas assessing possible damages by earthquakes, and grading faults for real estate.
You may end up like me, wanting to start all over again and become a geologist of some kind just so you can go off and join our hero Higheagle on his quest to earthquake-chase. That’s what a well-written character should do for a reader, and here not only will the writing convince you to learn more about your environment, but the Colorado area’s local color – and natural splendor – jumps out with such identity that you’ll be convinced you know the place intimately by the time you finish reading.
It is incredibly clear Marquis is a talented author, but the issue here is the presentation. The book has not been proofread properly, albeit an ARC and not the final book, for example, “who’s/whose,” the incorrect use of en/em dashes, several spelling mistakes, and odd formatting issues such as lines in the middle and not the beginning of a chapter written in capital letters.
There is also room for a few sentence improvements with a line edit to bring the book up to par for professional quality publication. One can only assume there will be a final appraisal before it hits the shelves. It’s also a bit of a shame about the cover. Marquis really needs a professional design to enhance the brilliant book he’s marketing. Instead we get a stock font with a stock photo, with nothing to suggest what talent awaits inside.
That aside, the descriptions of earthquakes capture the first-hand feeling of experiencing them, which is rare. Being in an earthquake, as I have been myself several times, is nothing like you would imagine it to be. The science of earthquakes is truly fascinating, and Marquis has captured this science and packaged it into a really fine thriller ‘against the clock’ style for almost anyone to pick up and enjoy, and readers will no doubt want more from Higheagle and his intrepid grandfather once they have devoured this installment.
Samuel Marquis Books