Three Minutes to Midnight by A.J. TataTitle: Three Minutes to Midnight

Author: A.J. Tata

Pages: 352

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: 26 April 2016

Rating: ★★★

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley

Bristling with suspense, action, and thrilling authenticity, the novels of Brigadier General A.J. Tata have earned the praise and respect of President George W. Bush, Glenn Beck, and the bestselling masters of international intrigue. In Three Minutes to Midnight, he delivers a terrifyingly plausible scenario ripped from the headlines–and the ultimate test for his hero, Jake Mohegan…

It begins with the kidnapping of an Army Reserve officer on U.S. soil. Name: Captain Maeve Cassidy. Profession: Geologist specializing in natural gas drilling and fracturing. Mission: classified. Abducted less than twenty-four hours upon her return from Afghanistan, Cassidy’s disappearance from a Fort Bragg compound is more than a security breach. It is the first stage of a large-scale domestic attack that few Americans could imagine–or survive…

Enter Delta Force veteran Jake Mahegan. The seasoned operative is on a personal mission of vengeance, tracking down his mother’s killer at a drilling site in North Carolina. When he’s assigned the task of locating the geologist, he can’t help but wonder if her abduction is connected to the fracking magnate he’s pursuing. But when a nearby nuclear plant is attacked, and then another, in a matter of days, Mahegan knows it’s no coincidence. It is a brilliantly conceived, ruthlessly orchestrated assault on our homeland that no intelligence analyst could ever foresee–or stop…

When a third nuclear plant is targeted, Mahegan has no choice but to try. If he fails, our nation falls. The countdown is launched. The clock is ticking. Armageddon begins…Three Minutes to Midnight.

A.J. Tata is an author that I have been meaning to read because I heard good things about his last novel Foreign and Domestic. So I was elated when I received a copy of Three Minutes to Midnight from NetGalley. I was hoping for a good, action-packed read and wow, I was not disappointed.

Three Minutes to Midnight is the second novel in A.J. Tata’s thriller series featuring ex-army Captain Chayton “Jake” Mahegan. Geologist Maeve Cassidy has just returned home from Afghanistan when she is kidnapped and forced to help steal from a large natural gas deposit under North Carolina. Mahegan is sent to rescue her and through the course of his investigation he finds out that the man leading the plot is the same man who raped and killed his mother back when Mahegan was a teenager.

Three Minutes to Midnight contains most of the stuff that I really enjoy in a book. It is packed to the rafters with thrilling action scenes, without being over the top and unbelievable. It moves at a quick pace and it made me want to keep turning the pages once I got into it. There were a few twists and turns that I didn’t see coming and there was a pretty intriguing story idea. However it took a while to get going for me and I had no idea what was going on at times.

The plot of the story was interesting and pretty innovative. One of my favourite things about spy thrillers is seeing what crazy, yet plausible, new terror plot the author thinks up and Tata has come up with one that I would never have guessed. I found the idea of a terrorist threat from underground to be a pretty interesting idea however the story was a little too technical for my taste. Fracking was quite an important element of the story, yet it took a while for what that actually was to sink in. I feel that the actual process which is so integral to the story should have be explained a bit better at the start of the book. To be honest, I found it a little hard to get into the story for the first half or so because I had no idea what was going on, but once everything started to click into place I found the story was actually quite gripping.

I am not quite sure how I feel about the character of Jake Mahegan. He has an interesting back story and the fact that he is Native American is a little bit different to other books I read. The problem I have though is that I found it hard to relate with him and engage with him because he was just too perfect. He’s huge, he’s got some weird eyesight thing that lets him see in the dark, he’s got super hearing and as a 14 year old he was able to beat up a group of fully grown men. I really like characters that could be real people and Mahegan just stretches that a little too far for me.

All in all, Three Minutes to Midnight is a good, action-packed thriller that is really engaging once you understand what is actually going on. I look forward to seeing what Tata does next because this book shows that the series has potential. Also, I hope Mahegan grows on me because he has such an interesting backstory.

Worth a read? If you’re a fan of action-packed thrillers with a big brute of a main character and innovative terror plots, then Three Minutes to Midnight is probably worth a read. However, you’ll probably get more enjoyment out of the book if you have a basic understanding of what fracking is.



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