THE HOARD By Neil Grimmett, a Review by Joan Adamak

Dark, mysterious, treacherous actions and reactions.

This story starts out in 1951 at a Royal Ordnance Factory in Bridgewater when the nitration plant, which contained an extremely volatile, most powerful explosive, exploded killing five men.  This explosive wasn’t as dangerous at nuclear power in that it didn’t contaminate the lands for hundreds of years, but in its explosive ability, it matched it.  The contents of this liquid in the  nitration plant could not be trusted and when it reached an explosive condition, had to be corrected by certain techniques of the head scientist and another employee.  Charlie Stone, extremely experienced with this monster, could tell when it was becoming dangerous by feeling parts of the nitration pipes.  On this particular day, he knew it was reaching these proportions, but could not locate the head scientist and his helper to do the necessary to control.  Consequently Charlie managed to send one of his men out of the area to warn the townfolks and Charlie and five men died in the ensuing explosion.

One of the men who died was Gerald Browning, whose son, Byron, was born at that time and when Byron grew up he went to college and became a scientist because his mother always believed that it was through deliberate mishandling of the explosive that caused the terrible disaster.  The exploded area was walled off and a new nitration plant built.  Byron hired out as just a worker in training so he would be freer to explore and detect what must have happened in the first explosion.

The grimness of the story comes from the characters involved in the various aspects of those times in 1951 and now, as history seemed to be repeating itself and the young chemist who was working when Byron hired out was murdered.  The author makes everything a mystery like this explosive, the plant, some of the main characters and their importance that unravels as the story proceeds.  This is not a joyful or enlightening tale, but it is intriguing, and perhaps more suited to the reading tastes of men rather than women because it is mainly about men, their personalities and idiosyncrasies.

I was given a complimentary copy of this story for an honest review.


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