Charles Purcell is a hunted man. His wife and child slaughtered in their home, Purcell is the only suspect. But within minutes of the murders, investigating detective Charles Sears receives a call from Purcell in which the man proclaims his innocence. Not only that, he predicts that he himself will be dead in 24 hours and he knows who his murderer will be, even though his killer is not yet aware that he will do it.
Purcell leaves clues for a man he has never met, Ethan Warner, and when Ethan and his partner Nicola Lopez are recruited to investigate by the Defence Intelligence Agency, it becomes clear that the murders have a far greater significance, connected in some mysterious way to disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. But how does Purcell know what is about to happen? What has happened to time?
Apocalypse is a fun and enjoyable thriller revolving around the intriguing idea of what would happen if a baddie could work out a way to control time and use it for his nefarious ends. Should his scheme succeed, it becomes clear that he will have in his hands the secret to dominating the planet and terrorising everyone on it. The only people standing in his way are Warner, Lopez and their brave but feisty adventurer friend Bryson.
Warner and Bryson are extremely likeable heroes and the setting at sea is well drawn and provides an exciting and dangerous backdrop to the adventure. The plot races along with twists and turns that don’t surprise especially but they do thrill. The baddie is a Bond-esque villain. He plots on a grand scale and he has henchmen worthy of his evilness. Crawford isn’t afraid to kill anyone off and there are some great set pieces.
I am a big fan of technothrillers and read an awful lot of them but I do make certain demands on them and Apocalypse, while being entertaining throughout, did not meet them all. Not surprisingly for the genre, the female characters were little more than cardboard cutouts of attractive women with long hair. They exist solely in the eyes of male observers and I would argue that they would have been better left out. Also, the science was not remotely believable even to anyone with the simplest grasp of physics. I am very prepared to suspend my disbelief but there has to be discussion within the pages explaining to me why I should do that.
The worst offence, though, I can’t mention as it would be a spoiler but there is one moment, very late on, which risked ruining the entire book and if it had happened earlier in the novel it’s quite possible I wouldn’t have finished it.
I can forgive a great deal though and Apocalypse was a pageturner throughout. It did its job of keeping me awake reading into the wee hours and I’ll be buying the other Ethan Warner adventures, past and present, but I’ll be hoping for better.