I work with Richard Flores, "Brachiopod," to develop the "MACHINE" series of geocaches. Here is the first one in the series;

The MACHINE: The Return

 



 

Here is a fun book on Geocaching to read. Here is my review of Well Oiled: A Mayberry Multisport Adventure


 

This book is a well-written adventure set in the future, and placed in "Mayberry" --no, not THAT Mayberry. There is no Andy and Barney, or even Aunt Bee. So if you're looking for Goober to make an appearance, you've got the wrong Mayberry. In THIS Mayberry, there are strange goings-on, apparently related to the large oil reserves and the ultra-modern, but now closed oil extraction facility. The town stands to benefit from the oil extraction, but the issue has divided the town. Some high-tech research reveals that there are millions of dollars flowing through secret accounts, and it looks like the Mayberry Library Foundation and the Mayberry Council is involved with some financial shenanigans. Well, those things NEVER happened in Andy and Barney's Mayberry.

♠ When the main characters, teen-aged cousins Frank and Joey, decide to go geocaching in search of Puzzle GC314X, they get too close to the closed plant. They hear a strange rumbling, and when back home, bad things begin happening--Men in black SUVs with guns start appearing, cyclists get knocked down, and packages with dead animals start arriving by drone. And of course, the Fox security drones begin buzzing overhead.

♠ The author has clearly done a lot of research into the technology in this book. For the "techies" in the audience, they will find the detailed computer hacking references fun. For the bikers in the crowd, there are lots of references to Iron-Man competitions and cycling. And of course, geocachers will appreciate all the fun references to solving geocaching puzzles. I especially liked the reference about going to the Dublin REI store to pick up supplies. I was glad to hear that my local REI store will still be there 40 years in the future.

♠ A few things that I thought did not work so well: I did not think the scenes with the "Fox Security" teams were very realistic. Fox Security seemed more like a group of bunglers. (I couldn't help wondering if the name "Fox" came from Rupert Murdoch.) The subplot about a super high-tech family living in the the wilderness seemed confusing to me and a distraction. And a minor nit: Need to run the spell-checker again and also look for words dropped from sentences. However these nits were minor issues and not very noticeable. In general, the editing was very good.

♠ There are lots of fun facts in WELL OILED. Besides the many technological details, I learned, for example, the Rotary Club philosophy, which I had never heard of: Is it the TRUTH? Is it FAIR to all concerned? Does it promote GOOD WILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIP? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? So, not only was the book fun to read, I actually learned something!

√ All in all, WELL OILED is a fun read, with interesting tidbits of technology thrown-in. Anyone who has wrwitten a novel knows that writing is a very tough craft; writing a well-knit adventure novel is one of the biggest writing challenges. It is nearly impossible to write a novel that has the excitement of a John Grisham novel, or the descriptions of Dean Koontz. The characters in WELL OILED were pretty well developed, but I thought the characters were not quite up to Dean Koontz level yet. Of course, that is one high bar to attain.

For other geocaching novels, check-out:

Cached Out: A Cliff Knowles Mystery
Fatal Dose (Cliff Knowles Mysteries Book 3)
Held for Ransom (Cliff Knowles Mysteries Book 1)

► Side note: I suspect the author must be an engineer. Any writer who uses the phrase, "Modeled with a normal distribution," and explains how a "Sql Server Database" was installed, must of necessity be an electrical engineer. (Am I right, Rubin?)