Sunday 21 August 2022

BOOK REVIEW: The Hills Be Shaken by Michael Stewart

The Hills Be Shaken
Author: Michael Stewart
Genre: Thriller / Action / Crime / Mystery
Publication Date: 13th April 2022

Book Description:
Mose Haley was an engineer, but in a few short months, he will have his FBI badge . . . and his revenge.

Two weeks ago, Mose was designing highway curves that safely carry minivans loaded with three kids and a dog doing 70 miles per hour. Now he is standing next to hot ammunition casings holding a standard issue Glock 23 handgun with the slide locked back and the barrel smoking. Two weeks ago—before the people he loved died—was a lifetime ago.

The attack on Manhattan, Kansas, dubbed Little 9/11 was the first. Officer Sam McGuire was there when it happened, shaken like everyone else on that day. The day he witnessed the collapse of a two-mile dam. Also, the day Sam saw the blonde in the park. The fit woman, jogging with an AR-15 and a pistol. He has questioned her and questioned her again. He has gone to ground zero and rummaged through the debris. Sam is a good cop, but he cannot piece it all together. He needs help. He needs an engineer.

Mose wants to believe he has the grit for the job, but he is a rookie. He has never had to face rooftop gunfire or defuse a bomb in a playground with sweaty hands and a paperclip. Mose Haley has never been tested . . . until now.

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The dam at Tuttle Creek Lake had a major failure on the 4th of July weekend, taking the lives of thousands who were on the lake at the time of the collapse. Experts think it's a natural disaster, probably caused by an earthquake. But can the cause be something more sinister? Like the work of terrorists?

The only eye witness is a young boy who can't remember anything. Can engineer turned FBI agent Mose Haley find the culprit before they strike again?


The plot was very intriguing. I always like when there's something to solve, and there was definitely suspicious activities happening around Mose that required the reader to put their thinking caps on. Being a big fan of McGyver, I loved the moments where Mose got to put his engineering skills to work and when he got really technical in his explanations - just like McGyver does. Clearly, Mose isn't only an expert in this field, but he also has great passion for his work. I liked that we got to see Mose in both his home and work environments, which gave more depth to his character. Mose doesn't have everything figured out in life; there's a disconnect in his family life. I liked the fact that Mose wasn't a perfect character who had everything in his life figured out. His home life and relationship with his family is not something he can easily solve with his engineering skills. Being an engineer is what he's great at, and while it helps him solve many things in his life, it's not a solution for every problem, which we get to also see in his work life when he's offered the opportunity to become an FBI agent where he has to use all his skills to figure out whether the lake incident was deliberate, and if so, who was behind it.

The pacing was great. The story didn't lag nor were there any dull moments to contend with. There was always something happening to keep you interested and keen. Loved the suspense and mystery throughout. It kept me on my toes. There are some good surprises and twists in store for the readers.

Very visual form of storytelling. I could picture everything as the story unfolded.


I didn't mind the religious aspects of the book as Mose's family are very religious, so I did expect a few mention here and there in reference to his family, but I didn't expect the heavy references throughout from people outside his family. It wasn't distracting and did not cause me to deviate from the story, however, it didn't always seem necessary or relevant in certain scenes, so it didn't always add much in the way of advancing the story.

It was a little hard to engage with the story at first due to the vast characters we were introduced to. Personally, I thought there were too many characters, and I think the characterisation suffered a little due to this. We didn't get much insights into certain characters and their background in order to get a well developed ensemble of characters that we could fully engage with. I would have liked some more insights into certain characters so I could better understand their decisions and the reasons behind their actions and reactions. Many characters met their demise, but it was hard to feel the loss of these characters when you don't really know much about them. I felt they were somewhat underdeveloped, but that may have been due to the fact that there were so many characters.


A solid read with a fascinating plot that will keep you on your toes. Mose carries the story well, and I think readers who like fast-paced action thrillers will enjoy this book.


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