DEVIL’S GATE by
Devil’s Gate features protagonist Kurt Austin in an adventure classified as a “novel from the NUMA® files. Mr. Cussler has written over twenty Dirk Pitt thrillers, many of them set in underwater locations so familiar to the author. Now Dirk is Kurt Austin’s boss.
The ongoing action and high level of tension maintained in Devil’s Gate gives the reader little incentive to set the book aside for any mundane reason such as eating, sleeping or performing one’s own career duties.
The relationship between Kurt and his sidekick, Joe Zavala, is reminiscent of that between Dirk and Al. Ironically, they are serving to Dirk the same headaches he and Al once showered on Admiral Sandecker. This time, a million-dollar undersea vessel seems to be expendable.
If you are a writer, looking for examples of keeping your protagonist’s situation ever worsening, this is an excellent model. Mr. Cussler and Mr. Brown have the ability to escalate danger and then find an impossible means of extracting the characters by the skin of their teeth without resorting to the use of a dreaded deus ex machina solution. Although it is at the expense of the reader’s nerves.
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