Posted by jsmolders - August 9th, 2019

Here goes Clarion, a reputed national reviewer:


“Birds Sing before Sunrise is high-minded thriller that builds upon political insights using excellently placed characters. Jan Smolders’s Birds Sing before Sunrise is a muscular political thriller set in the controversial milieu of the energy industry in rural South America.

Frank Anderson is an idealist. He believes in sustainable energy and believes that Earth can no longer rely on fossil fuels. That is why he is the director of the Renewable Energy Division at the PuentePetro Company of Southern California.

Frank is married to another idealist, Joanna, whose hero is John F. Kennedy. Joanna convinces her husband to take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in southern Peru—an opportunity that could enrich PuentePetro’s renewable energy division.

Problems in Peru are immediate. Joanna, along with the couple’s two daughters, is kidnapped by terrorists. Frank undertakes a private investigation to rescue his family. The investigation reveals to already cynical Frank that the terrorists are part of a larger conspiracy involving corrupt politicians, profit-obsessed oilmen in the United States and Latin America, and PuentePetro itself.

This thriller is lean and gets to the point in its first two chapters. Few words are spared in describing the characters: Frank, Joanna, and PuentePetro boss Mauricio are defined more by their actions than by their appearances. Joanna and Frank’s relationship is captured as supportive, based on love as much as on a shared commitment to the environment.

Peru is pictured as a bipolar state wherein the urbane and well-to-do in Lima rule over the Quechua people of Moquegua and elsewhere with authoritarian zeal. This problem is handled with expertise.

Frank’s one-man quest for revenge and justice follows a predictable path and works toward an unsurprising ending, though both are related with panache and literary flourishes, including invocations of Ernest Hemingway and hard- boiled pathos.”

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Jan Smolders, author of Viral Games, The Convenient Fund and The Bridge of Whispers carries Belgian and USA passports, has lived in Belgium, Japan and Singapore, and resides in Florida. Read More...