INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - If you need a good read to keep you engaged on those cold and snowy Tahoe days, I've got a thriller for you.
Plug in the teakettle and stoke up the fire; however, be warned, "The Fifth Device" is not light reading. This edgy and intense novel, written by Gunther Boccius, who resides in Incline Village, gives one a lot to digest. You will encounter lengthy social commentaries, provocative philosophical talking points and a fair share of diatribes that leave you breathless. Don't be dissuaded, though, because you are guaranteed intrigue, drama and suspense.
Sometimes a scorecard is needed to track the laundry list of colorful characters but each one of them is well developed and delivers spice to a provocative storyline. The plot includes action, angst, politics and criminal intent as well as friendship, family, love and community ties.
Did I mention "The Fifth Device" is steamy, hot and sexy, too? Well, it is.
It begins in Clarity, a small California coastal town that is struggling with a financial shortfall. Fluid, a water bottling company, breezes into town proposing to upgrade the town's water distribution system in exchange for bottling excess water. Revenue from this project will fund the city's budget, thus providing Clarity with the bailout it needs. Is this the answer to the fiscal dilemma at hand? Maybe. But Roger Trent, the town mayor, and Samantha Harden, the town manager, are skeptical. Both are relieved of their duties early on in order to clear the path for Fluid to prevail.
The keyword in Boccius's novel is greed, that of the corporate kind. Multilayered limited liability corporations will stop at nothing, including murder, to line their pockets with excess profits and pave their way to unimaginable wealth. Devices are used to manipulate the residents of Clarity who are pawns in the game. The clash between good and evil is a messy business and the struggle to right the wrong can be painstaking but once the prophet appears there's a new dawning. Yes, there is a prophet, adding a spiritual element to a multi-dimensional story and changing the tone of the plot at its pinnacle. The first heavy dose of exposition comes in the fifth chapter when the ruthless chairman of the board, Igor Bruganich, better known as Brug, introduces the devices and their purpose to his newly hired CEO. By chapter's end there is no doubt you have been exposed to an evil element.
"The Fifth Device" weaves a tangled web in its salacious and sinister plot leaving one a bit unsettled. Make no mistake it is fictional, but with multiple references to real historical events, our own Lake Tahoe as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, one has to grasp this concept and hang on tight.
It's exceedingly clear that Boccius has done his research. He writes with conviction, is articulate, detailed and direct, sometimes perhaps a bit heavy-handed, but you can be sure that each word is intelligently selected and fits with pinpoint precision. He has brilliantly created a riveting novel with a storyline that encompasses an array of hot topics that is guaranteed to stir you up.
- Gloria Sinibaldi resides part-time in South Lake Tahoe. Her short story
"A Means To Survive" appears in "Tahoe Blues." She's a job coach,
trainer and author. She contributes monthly to the business section of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Contact her