Fracture Gradient

It’s the 1980’s, Ronald Reagan is President, and America has recovered from the crippling energy shortages of the 1970’s when OPEC nearly squeezed oil-dependent economies to death. But now the U.S. energy industry is faltering as OPEC again manipulates the international oil markets to wrestle back dominance and force America to her knees one more time.

Out of nowhere, rumors of an astonishing alternative energy discovery suddenly emerge and threaten to reshuffle the international balance of power, destroy OPEC, and make the world energy self-sufficient. Fletcher Boyd and Hollis Cade own it . . . for what it’s worth and at least for now. Information insidiously leaks and all hell breaks loose as Big Oil, OPEC, and governments explode into action. Who can be trusted? Can a handful of ruggedly individualistic underdogs withstand the massive assault from highly trained government operatives and corporate security forces?

What seems simple is not. What seems logical is not. Energy is power and power means everything to those who wield it. But Fletcher and Hollis don’t bend or bow; they’re hard men who think for themselves and are willing to fight for principle and what’s theirs.

Deadly intrigue, numbing twists, and exhilarating action will rivet you to your chair as a question chafes somewhere in the dark recesses of your psyche . . . an itch that can’t be scratched. Has this happened?

What else will you find in Fracture Gradient? You will find breathtaking action and adventure in the international oil and gas industry,Texas, Saudi Arabia, OPEC and Saudi Aramco, ham radio, private jets, F-4 Phantoms fighting an F-14 Tomcat over northern Minnesota, general aviation carnage, the bin laden family, and a fascinating peek into the concept of hydrogen power derived from a very common substance! Not enough? Well, then there are the US military veterans fighting for their lives, plenty of gunplay, a damaged marriage, and astounding wealth up for grabs!

10 thoughts on “Fracture Gradient

  1. Thanks for the interesting perspective and comments, D. Redmond. I’m glad you enjoyed JT and Katie. He and many of the other characters were based upon people I knew working in the energy industry in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. JT is a dynamic man in real life, also. Katie was a bright woman who viewed the world through a different prism than did her husband and his friends. She was included to offer perspective and viable alternatives.

    Your comments on plot logic, literary symbolism, and spiritual journey are fair. Broad brushed, Fracture Gradient wasn’t intended as literary fiction but rather as genre trade fiction. My intent was to entertain rather than teach lessons. The characters made a highly questionable and perhaps illogical decision to fight for their discovery rather than to rely on the courts. The plot is intended to follow a logical sequence of events based on the characters decision to take that route. I think I achieved that goal even though the decision the characters made to pursue their course was not necessarily logical. As to growth or personal journey, the closest any of them came to any sort of enlightenment or higher understanding was their ultimate decision as to the disposition of Neptune. Hollis was more inclined to consider the “greater good” but Fletcher was not. Flawed characters? I hope not, but certainly descriptions of flawed people. Did they pay a price for their actions? Steve lost this family and mind, Fletcher destroyed his marriage, and Hollis lost the country he so dearly loved. Yes, they and most of the other characters paid a high price for choosing their route and actions so perhaps there was a lesson after all.

    Yes, the logical direction would have been to find a lawyer and file for patent protection. Hollis suggested it early on but they decided that Westcona would try to take Neptune regardless of their legal claim. Hollis, Fletcher, and Steve had all signed agreements with Westcona stating that any technical oilfield discovery they made while employed by the company was the property of the company. They were not willing to give Neptune away and were concerned that they would be steamrolled if it went to court. Some, including Katie, found that decision illogical and irresponsible. However, the behavior quickly exhibited by Westcona and Global Oil confirmed Fletcher’s worst fear and stoked their collective paranoia. Taking it to the federal government was also logical but didn’t work out. Ultimately, the death and destruction that followed was the result of their reacting to external threats. In their eyes, they took the only available logical steps . . . and events got away from them. As in real life, they made their decision based on fear, paranoia, and personal benefit. Is that illogical? Sometimes, but that is the behavior of people around the world and the basis for this story.

    Had Fletcher and Hollis taken Neptune to a lawyer and sought legal protection, I would have been out a story, or it would have become a legal thriller instead. I’ll leave the legal thrillers to John Grisham, Philip Margolin, and the other lawyers who write that genre. Then there is the issue of whether or not the courts would really protect people like them with such a discovery. I’m skeptical, but that’s just me.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful comments and for purchasing Fracture Gradient.
    Jim

  2. Just finished Fracture Gradient. Knew a lot of oil field people back in Kansas and did not recognize any of these characters except maybe JT. He was a full rounded character. You had the ingredients for a good plot, but I had some questions about its logic. Why didn’t the men hire a lawyer and get a patent on their discovery instead of running around like fractious chickens with their heads pecked off?
    Usually in literature, a journey symbolizes some kind of growth, especially of a spiritual nature, and I could not see any growth, except maybe in their pockets, and considering all the death and destruction left behind, I kind of agreed with Katie, who seemed to be the only character with any insight and understanding of the whole picture.
    I’m glad that I read this and I wish you well on your next project and hope that your plot follows a more logical and reasoned development.

  3. Thanks so much, Wyatt. I did my best to make everthing in the story realistic. Feel free to add your review to the Fracture Gradient Amazon page. The more books I can sell the quicker the next one will be out :-) Thanks again for the support.
    73
    WD7H

  4. I loved the book just finished reading for the second time. If I remember correctly I got it thru the arrl web site. This story has it all Airplanes, guns, radio, and outdoor adventure. The writing is so real one continuously has to wonder is this fiction or documentary.

    My next question is when is your next book going to be available?

    73’s WY4TT

  5. Thanks for the kind words, Carol. I’m really glad you enjoyed the story, and hope you tell your friends about it!

  6. First saw mention of your book on, of all places, Facebook. It sounded interesting and plausible. So I purchased it fromAmazon (unable to find it locally) and really enjoyed reading it. Hoping you have more great reads in you which you will share.

  7. I LIVED IT FOR 30 YEARS WITH THE WESTERN COMPANY IT IS ALL DIFFERENT TODAY
    *****************
    Yes, The Western Company was the best company I ever worked for . . . while it lasted! Not sure if it really was or if we just think that because we were young and full of energy at the time. Got lots of fracking done in any regard. Thanks for buying the book Jerry, and thanks for making some memories in Lindsay. Nobody would believe some of the stuff that went on, eh? :-) Jim

  8. Am reading your book can already see things that really happened. You had to have been there and lived it. thanks again
    **********************
    They were fun days weren’t they, Jerry? Hope you enjoy the rest of the story!
    Jim

  9. Thanks, CC! I appreciate the kind commments. You identified some of my favorite authors, too so mentioning my name in the same sentence with theirs is a real thrill. I was saddened by the passing of Vince Flynn and already miss his stories.

    Thanks again for reading Fracture Gradient. People will wonder about our “73” . . . and will have to read the book to figure it out!
    73
    Jim

  10. Jim,

    Great read and engrossing story. Good luck on your writing career ! 62 year old retired guy here, and I enjoyed every minute of it. So now in addition to Clancy, Brad Taylor, Brad Thor, Vince Flynn……I can add McCulloch to my list of favorites. Good luck to you.

    73,
    C.C. McCoy

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