(Pine Mountain Club, California)
Francis Hamit, whose two previous novels were about the American Civil War, is known for his close attention to detail, and for incorporating as many facts as possible into his fictional narratives. He has now gone in the opposite direction with his new technothriller, MELTDOWN, which describes an attack by domestic terrorists on a nuclear power plant someplace in the American Midwest in the late 1990s.
“I didn’t want to make a ‘how-to’ manual,” Hamit said. “I originally started work on this novel in the 1990s, when I was still in the Private Security industry, and I attended a few professional conferences that touched on such a possibility. After the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, people started paying attention to what people in the Security industry had been saying for years, and I put it aside because I didn’t want to add to the panic and fear that was so widespread. Recently I revisited the manuscript, and I thought I could make it a tolerable read and still help keep plants safe. How? By lying through my teeth about what I knew then and not updating that knowledge to find out how things work now.
“The basic principle of fiction and drama is ‘suspension of disbelief’ and Hollywood does this all the time by carelessly or even deliberately mistaking the facts to make a better story. This is what I have done with MELTDOWN. The jargon sounds good, and the procedures used by security people at those plants have probably changed since I was involved 35 years ago – at least I hope so. No two plants are the same, anyway, in security posture or corporate culture, and the hero of this story, Jimmy Berger, is not the kind of person that most companies would hire anyway. He’s an aging hippie and science fiction fan who has issues with authority figures and doesn’t really need the job.
“The other heroes are the security guards, who are basically soldiers who will die to protect the plant. That part of the story is more likely than most people think, and the book is dedicated to the memory of the contract security guards who died at the World Trade Center as they stood their ground next to the firefighters and the cops who were trying to get everyone out. People don’t remember them that way, which is a shame. I spent 21 years in that business, and started in uniform, as a Captain in the Chicago suburbs running about 200 guards at 24 major accounts. I was later in sales and management and worked as a consultant and for private investigation firms. I gave all of that up about ten years ago to concentrate on writing fiction and drama.
“I am sure that many of my former colleagues and the millions of others who work in the industry can spot the errors I have put into MELTDOWN. But I hope that they will remain silent and let others enjoy the story of an event that has never happened and that we all hope never will.”
MELTDOWN is currently available for $3.99 on Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook e-book formats in a “beta” version that may be revised. Future editions in audiobook and print form may occur, depending on demand.
For further information contact:
Brass Cannon Books
(661) 242-1686 or by e-mail at BrassCannonBks@