D.A.D.: The World’s Biggest Con, a Timely Thriller by Clark Viehweg

The Bottom Line: Clark Viehweg’s timely thriller about an epic battle against big oil sizzles with wildly imaginative schemes and an extravagant global conspiracy.

D.A.D. (an acronym for “Dad’s Anti-Gravity Device”) is the story of a groundbreaking invention that threatens the global energy market. The narrative is told in a progression of fictional and non-fictional bursts set across several decades. Setting the stage, author Clark Viehweg builds an indictment of the oil industry through various examples of artificially created shortages, including the infamous crisis during the Carter administration. It’s a thread he continues throughout the book, complete with detailed references to real-world energy companies.

The primary story arc begins in earnest in 1940, when Josh Logan first becomes aware that his father has invented something so pivotal that it must be hidden until the time is right. We then witness a series of events sprawling into the 21st century in which Josh’s primary mission – to realize his father’s dream – begins to take shape.

If you’re imagining a straightforward plot where Josh becomes an inventor/activist, think again. Fans of the movie Argo, in which the CIA used a fake movie production to rescue Americans from Iran, will be delighted by Josh’s scheme. When talent agent Abraham Weinberg recruits struggling actors for a role of a lifetime, and proposes a fee of a million dollars plus expenses, they can hardly believe their ears. There is just one delicious catch: “death could be the penalty for a poor performance.”

Locations are plentiful, ranging from a Wyoming basement to the Oval Office, with a nonstop cadence of surprises along the way.  As over-the-top as the plot is, Viehweg keeps the story grounded with real-world history, believable contractual details, imagined conversations in corporate boardrooms, and spot-on dialogue. Published at a time when the world’s attention is focused on global energy policy, OPEC and oil scarcity in Europe, Viehweg’s timing couldn’t be better.

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