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    Review of ROADWORKS by Gerard Readett

    Writers Exchange E-Publishing, October 2004

    Hugh Ryan's job might not be glamorous, but it is important. In the near future, Brussels has developed a highly sophisticated traffic network. Computers route cars around conjestion. Huge parking elevators keep cars below ground and yet easily accessible. Efficient trains and a subway system move hundreds of thousands of people to their jobs. When roads fill, computers send cars to another route. When too many become congested, the same computers send the cars to the rapid transit centers. And Hugh, along with a small number of fellow workers, controls the entire system.

    When things start to go bad, Hugh springs into action--and the system does its best to self-repair. But the system was never designed to deal with simultaneous toxic truck wrecks in every major intersection, power failure in the subway, the collapse of the train system, and malfunctions in the parking elevators that turn the entire city into a stationary parking lot. Hugh isn't surprised with the call comes in--a terrorist organization is holding the entire city, including heads of state from all of Nato, for ransom.

    Reading between the lines of the terrorist threat, Hugh realizes that someone in his own transport agency is somehow involved--and sets out to find who did it. What follows is an action-packed adventure with plenty of plot twists and even a touch of romance.

    Author Gerard Readett makes his near-future traffic scenario feel real and interesting. Hugh, with his lost wife and anti-establishment tendencies, makes a sympathetic protagonist and Readett mixes in just enough scenes from those caught up in the disaster--and from the point of view of the criminals and terrorists who combine to take the city captive--to make the action seem real. I wish Readett had relied a bit less on coincidence in putting Hugh in just the right place to do so much against the terrorist threat, but that's a minor quibble with a really fascinating story.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 12/15/04

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