Going Green: For Some It Has Nothing to Do with the Environment is a political thriller penned by Chris Skates. Its protagonist, Ashley Miller, appears to be living the dream. Five years removed from college, she’s making a comfortable living working at a power plant. She owns a house and takes pride in her classic ’66 Mustang.
Events are put into motion that turn Ashley’s perfect little world onto its head. It’s not long before she finds herself caught in the middle of a terrorist plot to bring down the nation’s power grid. If successful, the United States would be thrust into an economic meltdown. Chaos would soon become the new order. While the story has its moments, Going Green is a couple of thorough edits away from becoming memorable. Skates does have a firm grasp on the basics of writing mechanics. However, the problem is storytelling execution; or lack thereof. “Info dumps,” where the author presents large amounts of research information in big, boring chunks, are abundant. Instead of moving the plot forward, they function like brakes. Any momentum built up is brought to a halt. It’s like being stuck in rush hour traffic. You know you have somewhere to go but it takes an eternity to get there. Any amount of tension is quickly deflated by annoying “spoon feeding.” Nothing is left as a mystery to figure out. The result is that the pacing and rhythm of the story are completely off.
That’s not to say there isn’t a good story here. It’s just buried beneath poor storytelling choices. Leaps of logic break attempts at immersion for the reader into the story world. For instance, the main antagonist assisted in 9/11 and has managed to stay undetected in the U.S. for years. Ok, but he’s also a serial killer who preys on attractive women at random. Despite a string of murders, his actions somehow go under the radar. Wouldn’t the FBI get involved?
An agenda is very apparent from the onset of the novel. Weaving themes throughout a story is a fundamental principal of storytelling. Themes are what give the story take-away value. The trick is not to allow the theme to come across as a sermon. It makes dialogue unnatural, characters unreal, and the impact of the message reduced. This is a glaring mistake that is never fully recovered from.
Now, Going Green does rebound from its rocky start. The plot has plenty of promise. With more attention to storytelling execution in the future, Skates could have a bright future in fiction writing.
I cannot whole heartily recommend Going Green. It’s not a terrible book, but its flaws are very noticeable. I felt like I was thrashing through a thick, murky swamp, as opposed to roaring down a rollercoaster. For a novel made out to function as a thriller, this simply does not live up to my expectations. – Dana Timmerman, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Going Green by Chris Skates is a timely novel that is filled with intrigue and suspense that involve murder, suspicion, Islam, environmentalism, terrorism, behind-the-scenes government activities, betrayal, global warming, espionage, international relations, paganism, religion, violence, romance, and Christian faith all in one very thrilling book! Going Green will make you wonder if there is more to the environmental movement than you ever thought possible, and it exposes the motives of human hearts in a starkly realistic manner.