Book Reviews

#OrendaMonth Book 5: The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul Hardisty @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul


Time flies! It’s the fifth book in the Orenda Month to be reviewed! To be frank, I was hoping I’d review more books but March has been too good to moan about what a slow reader I am! Especially when you come across books from a genre you never expected to enjoy so much! Gosh, it feels good to jump out of our comfort zone!!!

the abrupt physics of dying

Title: The Abrupt Physics of Dying
Author: Paul E. Hardisty
Publisher: Orenda Books
First date of publication: 2015
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy
Number of pages: 448
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is as it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. A stunning debut eco-thriller, The Abrupt Physics of Dying is largely based on true events – the horrific destruction of fresh water and lives by oil giants. Gritty, gripping and shocking, this book will not only open your eyes but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached.


Say action, guns, a guy with muscle and I am out of here. I’m the first to say no to action movies, or if I do accept to watch one, I end up bored to death because they all look and sound the same. The same goes for books, I like a fast-paced thriller but there’s a line between a thriller and a pure action-focused storyline. I like my action with more subtlety and less bullets.

This is why I loved The Abrupt Physics of Dying.

With such a title, Paul Hardisty could only catch my eye. I hate physics per se, but there’s a raw sound to the name of the book that hints there is something inside this story you mustn’t miss out on.

And raw, this book is. Raw, intense, gripping, a hell of a hot ride served by a precise prose that prioritize the story and its characters, and more than this, a reflection of what has always driven the most powerful and what it takes to stop them.

Claymore Straker works for an oil company. He wasn’t destined to win my sympathies! His job is to make sure his boss gets the authorization to keep digging and make profits. You can ask yourself if the guy has a conscience! But from the start, I felt Clay was not a bad guy. There was something in him that I felt appealing and when their car got hijacked and he and his driver and friend were taken, I knew I was right. The position doesn’t make the man. Clay is not a simple guy, he is haunted by his past and only trying to make a living without making any waves. Too bad for him, the waves find him, even in the scorching desert of Yemen.

With the waves came a realistic array of supporting characters. Don’t try to categorize them and put them in boxes, especially not the “good” or “bad” labels, because you won’t be able to. I couldn’t figure out Rania, who makes for a perfect thriller lady, and I was basically suspicious of everyone, friends included! I could feel a sort of connections between some of the characters but was unable to see clearly what was going on, and the author skillfully leaves you in the dark. Meet them and you’ll see!

I believe the reason why this story worked for me was that I was not just imagining a big guy fighting for the good cause with terrifying weapons, lots of special effects and a perfect haircut that never moves. I was on a frightening journey for the truth filled with threats from everywhere and demons with different faces. There was sweat, doubts, fear and betrayal. Clay is no super hero, he questions himself, he questions others, his and their motivations, he is doing his best in the worst situation and having such an clear insight into his mind helped me connect with him almost instantly. Once I was in with him, there was no going back. Clay is not a killer robot with no emotions. Clay is a good guy who had it rough and is trying to cope with it. I loved the development of his train of thought throughout the story, it made him feel real and not G.I Joe-like. The more I learned about him, the more I understood why he was here and the choices he made made so much sense, I couldn’t stay cold to his issues. Hardisty created a character I could picture, feel and root for.

So yes, there is action. Lots of it! I found myself breathless countless of times, I spoke to (even screamed at) the book because things weren’t fair and I wanted to warn Clay (I know, characters never listen to us but I had to try!!!), I grasped the book so tight the print of my hands is forever locked on the cover, the spine was creaked, the book fought the war with us. I was IN the pages. Every gun fire scared me, every hazardous situation made my heart skip a beat, every scene that would have normally have me roll my eyes or yawn kept me captivated, I felt the rush of adrenaline, I felt the danger coming from everywhere, I could hear the clock ticking. The blurb tells you all you need to imagine the kind of plot you’re in so I’ll keep my mouth shut on the different events, just know I became addicted to the relentless and taut pace and the +400 pages flew way too fast. The plot is masterfully weaved, with no respite, no breather, no escape road. The stakes are high and the fight is harsh. I never thought I’d see this day coming, but I loved every piece of this action-packed story. Why? Because Hardisty added the piece I always find missing in action thrillers: depth. You’ll find a valid and awful reason to fight, multi-layered characters who don’t just “decide to defeat the beast” because it’s the right thing to do, but people who find themselves witnessing the worst and decide to act, which felt so much more realistic! Important issues are at the heart of this breathtaking adventure, turning it into a riveting and unputdownable read.

I knew nothing about Yemen, I know little about the Arabic language, the culture, the civil issues, the rules. This book was an eye-opener. I loved the bits and pieces of information I got to learn through the story. Adding snippets of language made me feel I was there, too. I was lost in a foreign country for which I hadn’t been handled the manual and I was taught about it in a way textbooks can never achieve. I felt the sun, I felt the heat, I could picture the poverty, the precarious conditions of the people, I think this was the most terrifying element. Knowing civilizations are being left on their own while big cats get richer by the hour.

I had the nice surprise to find touches of France and the Frenchie I am was happy about it, it did not feel weird or cliché, nor did any other location you’ll find in the book. The authenticity of it all felt scary. The world is a cold place.

Fortunately, some characters were there to remind me to keep faith in humanity. Religion was debated and is a part of the story, and whether you agree or not, Clay and myself found ourselves wondering about it. The book doesn’t ask you to pick a side, it shows you a different way of living, a strong faith in something bigger, but it never sounds like a lesson, and no matter what religion you are or what you believe in, I do believe the subject was treated with enough respect and research to be appreciated and make good food for your mind.

Paul Hardisty efficiently combined all those elements to create a stunning and unforgettable tale of fighting for what is good, no matter the price. Action-thriller at its best. I am converted. Good job, sir!

Find out more about the author in my next Orenda Team post!

I would like to thank Karen Sullivan for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This review is my unbiased thank you to her and the author.

You can get the book in your favorite bookstore, on Amazon, or on the Orenda Books’ ebookstore


27 thoughts on “#OrendaMonth Book 5: The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul Hardisty @OrendaBooks @Hardisty_Paul”

  1. I love it when a book makes you suspect everyone! It makes the end chapters even better. You know you have a good book when you are living the fears and scares, it sounds like a gripping read and probably one that I wouldn’t have picked up based on the title and blurb. But as always your fair reviews gave the book the credit it deserves. Orenda must be so glad that you are promoting all their books, and you so glad that you get to read and rave about them.


    1. I must admit this project with Orenda has expanded my horizons 🙂 I had chosen this title because it was totally out of my comfort zone but I trusted Karen enough to give it a try, and boy was I right! I mean, I never would have picked this book alone, and I would have missed on a giant dose of adrenaline and a complex story! Thank you so much xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve made me very excited to read this one Donna! I bought both of Paul’s books in the Orenda sale because I loved the idea of reading a thriller set in places I know nothing about. I also don’t read too many action thrillers so it’s somewhat out of my comfort zone as well. You’re Orenda reading month is turning out so good! Another excellent review:)


    1. YES! So happy to hear that!!! Paul’s writing just transports you and the action feels perfect and without anything that feels “too much”! Thanks so much, it makes me happy to see you step out of your comfort zone too! I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I think Orenda needs to consider taking you on full time my dear.. Just saying. I would never pick up a title like this, yet your review manages to snag my interest as always. I think you have had a fantastic month! I loved this all.


    1. Haha, I wouldn’t mind working there!!! A girl can dream 😍 I’m so so so happy the review made you consider this title! I was surprised myself when I picked it but it was a real good and strong read! I love to pick your interest with stories that wouldn’t be your first choice, it means “job done”! I know, I’ve been so lucky with all the books, I can’t find anything wrong with Orenda’s published stories!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha no- I can’t imagine him being especially relatable! But arghhh I can relate so much to distress-clutching a book because the story is killing me!! And I am always intrigued by books that debate religion- especially when it’s done in an intelligent manner! Sounds awesome- fantastic review!


  5. With movies, I love action thrillers! With books, not so much. It’s just that I read a few in the past and while I liked them, they weren’t my favorites. Fab review as always 😀


  6. I wouldn’t be inclined to read this book going on my first impression but you make a very good case ;-). It feels a lot like that other action thriller title from Orenda ‘Deep Down Dead’ and I think most of what you say here applies on that novel too (except for the countries’ descriptions). Orenda really does publish the greatest books. Fabulous review my dear!


    1. Thank you SO MUCH! I was a bit worried about reviewing a book outside of my comfort zone but this one was too good not to talk about it! I haven’t read Deep Down Dead yet (yep, planning on reading ALL Orenda books xD) but I know now that I enjoy action thrillers when the writing is good!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great review for this book Donna, and I’m really glad you ended up enjoying it as well. It certainly seems like an addictive read, and wow the characterization behind Clay makes him sound like a brilliant character as well. It would be very easy for him to go completely the other way, and for you to not be able to connect with him at all, but that fact that it wasn’t like that at all is brilliant. 🙂
    Again great review! 😀


    1. I was stunned to connect to a character such as Claymore. To be honest, I still can’t believe I loved this story so much! My imagination is much better than any movie to take me away into one of those story in a realistic way! Thanks so much, that’s too sweet xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s great this book managed to surprise you in that case. I’ve sometimes found it’s books where my expectations have been low that I’ve loved them the most. Guess that’s what happened here for you as well.
        And yeah, imagination is always better than movies in my opinion! 🙂
        That’s all right! 😀 ❤


  8. Excellent review! I love the sound of this one… I’m normally not really into action-thriller stories (especially if they sound too much like Rambo/Die Hard clones), but The Abrupt Physics Of Dying sounds like an exception. Intense, full of action but also a deeper meaning; you have me interested!


  9. Your passion for this book really shines through – I had a copy of this one but decided it was looked like it was too much like the films I name ‘men with guns hiding round corners’ but it looks like I underestimated what was on offer…


    1. Thank you so much for you sweet words 🙂 I wasn’t expecting to love this one so much. Like you, I thought about big guns and biceps, but The Abrupt Physics of Dying is different and very enjoyable 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Well that’s a compliment!! I took you to war with Clay and I! 😀 I love stepping out of my comfort zone and being rewarded with such intense and gripping stories!

      Liked by 1 person

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