Monday, April 12, 2010

Press Release: US President Praises South Africa for Dismantling its Nuclear Weapons Program: But has it really been done?

12 April 2010

US President Praises South Africa for Dismantling its Nuclear Weapons Program: But has it really been done?

As reported by on 12 April 2010, President Barack Obama commended South Africa on the 11th for voluntarily dismantling its nuclear weapons program when he convened with South African President Jacob Zuma on the eve of a key summit on nuclear terrorism in Washington. But how do we know that the South African nuclear weapons have really been dismantled? This is the question that South African Author Ian Kruger poses in his thriller novel Strike of the Black Mamba.

The novel opens with the ingenious theft of a shipment of nuclear material from a cargo ship destined for Japan's nuclear power reactors off the Namibian coast by a mastermind criminal, Donald Morse. Morse is an American whose company used to supply the South African Government with arms during the apartheid years, in contravention of the UN arms embargo at the time. Morse was eventually apprehended and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. He later on escaped and fled to South Africa.

In the story, Morse knows that South African scientists developed really sophisticated nuclear weapons, and some of them stowed these weapons secretly away when the nuclear program was dismantled. Under the guise of a new Afrikaner right-wing movement, Morse proceeds to excavate the nuclear weapons and he has a chilling use for them which is only revealed at the climax of the novel.

Kruger mentions that the idea for the South African nuclear weapons came from a non-fiction book written by investigative journalists Peter Hounam and Steve McQuillan in 1995. The title of the book was The Mini-Nuke Conspiracy: Mandela's Nuclear Nightmare and it proposed that apart from the six conventional atom bombs that the South Africans had built and showed to the world in 1993, they had secretly developed much more sophisticated nuclear weaponry, including mini nukes. They concluded that it is highly possible that these weapons of mass destruction might be secretly in the hands of right-wing elements in South Africa.

"The Mini-Nuke Conspiracy really set my creative juices flowing," says Kruger, "and although my book, Strike of the Black Mamba, was first published in 2008, it is now even more relevant in lieu of three recent developments regarding South Africa. First is the praise given by the US President to South Africa regarding the dismantling of its nuclear weapons. Second is the recent racial tensions caused by Julius Malema, president of the ANC Youth League, stirring much trouble by singing the struggle song containing the words 'shoot the Boer or Farmer', as well as the murder of right-wing extremist Eugene Terreblanche, leader of the AWB, on his farm last week. Third is the terror threats made by Al-Qaeda as reported in the media last week, when it said it might attack athletes at the Soccer World Cup Games in South Africa in June 2010."

Kruger advises us to keep in mind that the plot of his thriller novel is only a piece of fiction. Or is it?

Strike of the Black Mamba can be found at most online retailers world-wide, such as Amazon, as well as and in South Africa. The book was published by CruGuru with the ISBNs 978-1-920265-13-7 and 978-1-920265-72-4. More information can be found on Ian Kruger’s website:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book Review: Ice Station Zebra by Alistair MacLean

An astounding spy thriller by the master

This thriller novel kicks off with Dr. Carpenter, a British medical doctor, who gets orders to board the USS Dolphin in the UK. The US nuclear submarine Dolphin has a near-impossible mission: it has to cruise underneath the ice pack of the Arctic to find and save the inhabitants of Ice Station Zebra, a scientific meteorological station drifting with the ice pack somewhere north of the Arctic Circle. Ice Station Zebra was destroyed by a fire, but little does anyone know that fire at Ice Station Zebra was due to sabotage, and that one of the survivors is a ruthless killer. Furthermore, Dr. Carpenter is not what he seems to be and it later becomes evident that he has more staked in this cruise than originally suggested.

What I liked about the story is how Alistair MacLean demonstrated his writing ability and mastery of the genre to create an atmosphere that gets the reader to feel that he/she is also inside the submarine and can sense, feel, smell and experience the conflict, fear and tension on board the submarine. Definitely not as turbo-paced as Matthew Reilly’s more modern thriller novel with a nearly similar name, Ice Station, MacLean’s book does not lack in pace, but the pace is controlled to such a degree that the right amount of suspense is created and that the tension builds up as the story progresses. Reilly's Ice Station is more about countless pages of jet-propelled action and relentless mindless violence, whereas MacLean’s Ice Station Zebra consists of the finesse of expert handling of suspense, intrigue and tension.

Although the dialogue may be more reminiscent of the era that the book was written in, this is truly still a masterpiece of the thriller genre and can almost serve as a template for thriller writers, where you have a plot stripped of all the unnecessary fluff that so many modern thrillers suffer from, which only serves to increase the page count and nothing much else.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: Total Control by David Baldacci

Total enjoyment!

With his thriller novel titled Total Control, David Baldacci succeeds in building up a tremendous amount of tension and intrigue in the world of high tech business takeovers.

The protagonist, Sydney Archer, is a lawyer with a prominent law firm and she is involved in the takeover deal between the company her husband's is working for, a leading technology business, and a cash-filled buyer. Sydney's husband, Jason is a rising executive at his company, but is involved in some secret project at his office, which keeps him busy day and night. He does not confer any details of the project to his wife, but tells her that, when it is completed, it would make all their dreams come true.

But then suddenly Sydney's world shatters apart. Jason is reportedly killed in an air crash. At first, it seems just like an accident, but the FBI gets involved when sabotage is suspected -- and then Jason's name is linked to the sabotage and a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. Although the FBI tries to help her, but is very suspicious of Jason's recent activities, Sydney tries to solve the case on her own as she wants to clear her late husband's name. She gets pulled deeper into trouble as she gets closer to the real perpetrators, and her life is threatened. Furthermore, she has a disk with encrypted information that Jason had sent to her before his death, only she cannot decipher it and is frantically trying to find someone who can break the code for her while the antagonists are right on her heels in the process, trying to get hold of the disk themselves and stopping at nothing or no-one to get what they want.

After many twists and turns, the story climaxes with Sydney, her young daughter and her parents in grave danger and the diligent FBI agent fruitlessly trying to come to her aid.

I certainly liked the fast pace, the tension, the suspense and the many twists and turns in this outstanding book, although I had a few problems with the handling of the technology (keeping in mind that the book was first published about 13 years ago). One example was where an email message appeared on a computer screen and then suddenly disappeared again -- gone forever. In my experience and knowledge it simply doesn’t work that way; not now and also not 13 years ago. But for the rest, I can only comment that this thriller novel provided me with 'total' enjoyment!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: The Sinai Secret (Lang Reilly Thrillers) by Gregg Loomis

An enjoyable experience

This is the first book by Gregg Loomis that I've read and I discovered that the protagonist, Lang Reilly, had featured in some of his previous works as well. However, I was not left in the dark about how Reilly's previous escapades influenced what happened to him in this tale, as it was expertly woven into the storyline without interrupting any events.

Someone in Reilly's research organization discovered an old parchment that certain people are prepared to kill for, and they do too. Soon, they are following Reilly and are trying their utmost to do him in, but he is always one step ahead of the antagonists. Reilly leaves a trail of action thrills as he tries to get to the bottom of this.

Gregg Loomis interlaces the suspenseful action with plenty of international settings, ancient mysteries, science, discoveries and even a bit of romance. Reading this book was an enjoyable experience, and the only problem I had was that I had read a thriller by another author just before this book, that had used some of the same science and ancient mysteries (a lot of which is public knowledge, you can Google the stuff), therefore I could anticipate certain events in the story. That said; it is not Gregg Loomis' fault that I read the other book just prior his novel - I certainly look forward to read more of his work.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Book Review: The Murder Artist: A Thriller by John Case

Scary, spellbinding thriller

The plot is about investigative TV reporter Alex Callahan's identical twin 6-year-old sons who go missing at a Renaissance fair. He soon learns that they have been kidnapped. However, there is no contact from the abductor(s) and soon the police's investigation also slows down from lack of leads and evidence.

This is where Alex starts to take matters into his own hands and plays private investigator. His investigation leads him all over the US and he learns that magic and voodoo is involved. The more he learns about the abductor, the scarier it becomes and he knows that he has to find his sons as soon as possible, or they may depart this life in a terrifying way.

The novel's pace slows down towards the middle of the story, but picks up towards the end. However, Alex's quest to find his sons is still a captivating read.

My only quibble with this book is that some loose ends are left untied at the end, but maybe the author wants the reader to use his/her imagination and figure out how he/she wants it to work out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Book Review: Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Action all the way!

This thriller novel is full of non-stop violent action. By page 100, I was out of breath just from reading the book, and I don't know how the characters kept up the pace without tiring. And that is the trend through all 689 pages of my copy of the book. That said, I know it is fiction and things can get a bit far-fetched sometimes, but it still makes for an enjoyable reading experience, since the pages just keep on turning automatically. One of my first thoughts before hitting page 100 was that this author might be writing with a movie in mind, so vividly were the action scenes described.

The premise of the story is that US Scientists at a remote Antarctic ice station find a strange and fascinating large metallic object buried deep under the ice for millions of years. This object seems to be of military value and a first-class team of US marines, led by the accomplished protagonist, Lt. Shane Schofield a.k.a. Scarecrow, is sent to Antarctica to secure the object. And this is where the action starts - other countries also show an intense interest in this object and everyone is literally prepared to fight to the death for it. There are also plenty of suspense and near-death escapes in this novel to satisfy any lover of action-packed thrillers.

However, I have a few problems with this book; one being the fact that NATO allies, such as the British, the French and the US fight tooth and nail over this object, without any plausible reason supplied why they would want to fight their allies. Another problem is that there was an incident where two guys jumped into the ocean, and after some fighting with the enemy in the water, they land up on a large iceberg drifting in the ocean - and this iceberg just happens to have something buried under the snow and ice that would help them further on in the story - a large coincidence. But then again, like I have mentioned earlier, this is fiction, and if it keeps the pages turning, who cares?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Film Rights: Strike of the Black Mamba

A while ago, I was approached by a South African film company regarding the film rights of my thriller novel Strike of the Black Mamba. They said it was only an enquiry, and so I did not put too much hope in it.

Seeing that they have not contacted me again, I'm sure that it's not going to happen (this time).

Feeling that the book will make a great action-packed, suspenseful thriller movie (I'm the author, I should know - ;-)  -no I'm only joking - but a few people have actually mentioned this to me), I would like to appeal to all hollywood (or other) filmmakers, movie directors or scriptwriters to take a look at the novel.

Well, one can only but hope!