3 out of 4 stars
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Deadly Highway: Super Highway Beta 1.0 is an exciting and intense thriller written by J. Stewart Willis.
With twenty two years of experience but with no apparent future in the army, civil engineer and former military lieutenant colonel Charlie Hendricks finds himself in the Government Relations Office of the Bedford-Ewings International Corporation. His job is to find business opportunities offered by the federal government while Bedford Ewings takes on the management of contracts by putting together a team of companies with different areas of expertise. These teams which include design, logistics, system engineering and software must work together to accomplish what needs to be done.
Charlie presents the solicitation from the Department of Transportation for the initial phase of the replacement of the Interstate Highway System to the vice president of Bedford Ewings in Washington and becomes part of the project and the competition the project entails.
Though I found the book relatively uninteresting at first, my attention was eventually caught by the fifth chapter and my curiosity was piqued. The story, though not the ‘hold your breath’ kind of exciting or 'on the edge of your seat’ kind of suspenseful, is intense with its steady pacing and regularly shifting scenes between the various characters. The author is able to keep the readers’ interest in high level by giving away bits and morsels of information that will, apparently, be used later in the story.
Characterization is adeptly done that it is easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys and the guys in between. My favorite is Charlie Hendricks. He is nice and fair. He knows not only what he does but also what he wants and he is not easily deterred. He refuses to be intimidated nor manipulated. Though I found the ending a little inconclusive, I can honestly say it is satisfying.
The most important part of the book for me is the realistic depiction of ambition. While some people are happy and take pride in doing things they enjoy doing, some people will stop at nothing, will go as far as they can, and will run over anybody that comes their way just to be ahead of everybody else.
The part I like most about the book is the portrayal of Charlie’s family. Though they appear to be an ordinary family, they show how a family should be and what a family should do in that they support each other, they stick together and they face challenges as a team.
However, there are too many characters that some readers may find it difficult to remember and keep track of every one. Moreover, the explanation about the engineering and the software involved may be too technical for some readers. Finally, there are several noticeable errors within the entire book mostly typos.
I, therefore, rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is an intense, exciting and suspenseful book about ambition. It involves adultery, blackmail, drugs and death. I recommend it to fans of crime and thriller novels. References to drugs and sex, however, may not be suitable for young readers.
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