Under Pressure: Book summary and reviews of Under Pressure by Robert Pobi

Under Pressure

Lucas Page #2

by Robert Pobi

Under Pressure by Robert Pobi X
Under Pressure by Robert Pobi
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2020
    448 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

A series of deadly explosions rock the city of New York and with too many victims and no known motive, the F.B.I. turns once again to Dr. Lucas Page in Robert Pobi's Under Pressure.

On a beautiful October evening, New York City's iconic Guggenheim Museum is closed for a tech company's private gala. Until an explosion rocks the night, instantly killing 702 people, including every single attendee―yet the damage to the building itself was minimal.

An explosion of that precision was no accident and, in response, the FBI mobilizes its entire team -- but the sheer number of victims strains their resources. Were all 702 victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, or was there only one target and 701 unlucky bystanders? That many victim files is a staggering amount of data to sort through and Brett Kehoe, Special Agent in Charge of Manhattan, decides that he can't do this without more computational power.

Dr. Lucas Page, astrophysicist, university professor, and former FBI agent, is uniquely gifted for the task at hand―he can visualize a crime scene as if he was a bystander and can break down any set of data at a glance. Even though Page wants nothing to do with the FBI, with his city under attack and his family at risk, he steps in to find a killer in a haystack before they strike again.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Stellar...[Pobi] combines a razor sharp sense of humor with surgical use of political and social commentary throughout. This is a must for fans of sophisticated crime fiction." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Nonstop thrills, especially for readers who want one last glimpse of New York's landmarks before they're incinerated." - Kirkus Reviews

"A thrill ride of a novel." - Booklist

"[A] gripping psychologically complex thriller." - Minneapolis Star-Tribune

This information about Under Pressure shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Cloggie Downunder

Excellent crime fiction
Under Pressure is the second book in the Lucas Page series by Canadian author, Robert Pobi. When an explosion at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum incinerates over seven hundred people, while leaving the building largely intact, Dr Lucas Page is unsure what he can offer to the investigation. But FBI Special Agent in Charge of Manhattan, Brett Kehoe, wants his expertise with numbers.

“No system — and that includes a series of crimes — is intrinsically random; the observer just has an imperfect understanding of how said system operates. If you see something that appears to be random, you’re missing data. And hidden inside larger seemingly organized structures, you can find smaller ones that look like they’re nothing—statistical noise — but they’re not. They’re just part of a different pattern.”

The device is apparently highly sophisticated and its design, ensuring maximum cruelty, zero survivors and the destruction of artwork worth a billion dollars, suggests several possible motives. A warning email sent to a CNN journalist, which denounces humanity’s reliance on technology, leaves Lucas unconvinced even when the next target, an internet hub, fits this motive.

Lucas firmly believes they need to look for the money: who would benefit? But is that the right question? Further explosions and victims don’t clarify the issue of motive, but are all linked to the high-profile company whose gala IPO launch at the Guggenheim was bombed. Horizon Dynamics is a company using nano-technology and AI driven solutions for rejuvenation and repair of eco-systems, and its directors are linked to each event on several levels.

As more bombs explode and more people die, some of them potential suspects, initial theories are challenged, but the sadistic aspect of the bombs leads Lucas to conclude there is a personal element. Lucas enlists the help of his post-grad students to analyse a mountain of data that has stumped the FBI, reasoning that: “The bureau’s people were fettered by both protocol and lack of vision.” Not so his clever students.

Another excellent dose of Lucas Page and Alice Whitaker that features land mines, a puppy, a confetti bomb, sniffer rats, an opportune pair of handcuffs, and a very large body count. Once again, Pobi’s plot is clever, with lots of excellent deductive work, twists, red herrings, plenty of tension and a heart-stopping climax. Entertaining dialogue is another hallmark of this series.

Will Lucas work with the FBI again? While he enjoys the stimulation it offers his mind, his wife and family certainly don’t appreciate that it takes him away from them and potentially puts his life (and theirs) at risk. Nor is this the first occasion that his involvement seems to be associated with unfortunate consequences for the Special Agent In Charge of the case. It will be interesting to see if Pobi gives fans further installments of Lucas Page. Excellent crime fiction.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and St Martins Press

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Author Information

Robert Pobi

Robert Pobi is the author of several novels, including the international bestsellers Bloodman and Harvest, as well as the Lucas Page thrillers, which begin with City of Windows. He lives in Canada.

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