Infidels of Oil

Fiction - Thriller - Terrorist
248 Pages
Reviewed on 06/11/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ray Palla worked twenty-seven years, from the age of fifteen as a broadcast news reporter for several top-rated Texas radio stations including KVET/KASE in Austin and KIKK AM/FM in Houston. In 2016 Ray was nominated for inclusion in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

Palla began programming computer software applications in 1988. In 2001 he founded INSONA Corporation, a consulting firm for the information technology industry. In 2015 INSONA began hosting Palla's creation, INSONA Author Alliance Network, a collaborative platform for authors, editors, cover artists, illustrators, video producers, and publishing professionals in the field of literature self-publishing.

During his journalism career, Ray interviewed astronauts who walked on the moon like Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin and the late Neil A. Armstrong; U.S. Senators, Governors, Lieutenant Governors, and a host of other influential notables including musicians, actors, comedians, sports legends, and everyday people. He also boasts awards for several national advertising campaign jingles for customers that include: Ford, Purina, and Exxon.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Neil A White for Readers' Favorite

H: Infidels of Oil is the latest offering from Ray Palla. And if you enjoy thrillers where the murderous band of antagonists gets their comeuppance from a gaggle of good ‘ole boy roughnecks, then Mr. Palla has a rollicking novel just for you. In a story set predominately in the West Texas red-dirt wastelands, a band of oil company roughnecks heading toward their next job site stumble upon a small group of Islamist terrorists that are bound and determined to bring America to its knees by detonating a number of hydrogen bombs in oil wells across the region. Will the terrorists be foiled in time? Which nation is behind the attacks? Can the Federal government keep the entire operation under wraps? Will the socially-awkward “Pad” find love in the most unexpected of ways? And is the slow-roast brisket ready yet? Mr. Palla’s H: Infidels of Oil will leave you hungry for more.

Set amongst a backdrop of Texas barbecue, cold beer and enough swirling red dirt to keep you squinting for the foreseeable future, Mr. Palla weaves a fascinating tale that also manages to mix in many of the hot button political issues of our time as our protagonists traverse the highways and byways from Midland to Monahans to an explosive showdown in Orla, Texas. Mr. Palla blends a cast of characters that are easily likable and could have been plucked from any honky-tonk between Amarillo to Odessa, though he chooses to keep his terrorists opaque, leaving their origins and personal mindsets in much murkier waters. For how can a Westerner truly penetrate the mind of an individual willing to kill for their faith?

Darryl Greer

The curious title of Ray Palla’s latest novel, H: Infidels of Oil, isn’t so curious once you get into the story. Things heat up early in the narrative as a group of terrorists sets off an H-bomb in a Middle Eastern oilfield. Meanwhile, back in the United States, we are introduced to some colourful characters, their language and their habits. They are roughnecks who stumble upon another group of terrorists, related to their brothers in the Middle East, who are hell bent on igniting not only the local oil fields, but the global war which they hope will follow. Also riding along are some Mexican illegals, including some women hoping to make it to the delights of Las Vegas. It’s an interesting mix. The motley crew of cussin’, cursin’ sun-hardened oilmen decides to take on the terrorists. And the result is explosive.

I had a little difficulty getting into the story. With characters named Foot, Pad, Wichita and Weasel, I wondered if I’d happened upon a nursery rhyme. Then there’s the dialogue. What’s going on? But soon the mist cleared and I could see the road ahead. Of course oilmen would talk like that and they’d all have weird nicknames. Once I settled into the story, it grew on me. A considerable amount of research on many subjects must have been carried out for H: Infidels of Oil. The dialogue, certainly that of the American characters, sounds realistic and Ray Palla paints a picture with his words so it is easy to visualise every scene. However, even with the English speakers, not enough use is made of contractions to make the dialogue sound more realistic. In this era of the Internet and Google, it isn’t necessary to explain in brackets various terms, even technical ones. That, plus an overuse of commas, can give the text a staccato-like effect. The tension in the story might have been beefed up a little to make it more of a page-turner if there were more scenes involving the Middle Eastern characters and less of the mundane day to day conversation of the English speakers. Those peccadilloes aside, the story itself is imaginative, a real Boy’s Own adventure, and well worth a read.

Christian Sia

H: Infidels of Oil by Ray Palla is an unusual terrorist thriller, a story with a conflict that reaches great proportions, with huge social and political implications. The world is facing a terrorist threat like no other and the US stands the risk of being completely decimated. A basic H-bomb has just erupted in a Middle Eastern oil field, triggering a series of events that could escalate into a global war. Now, terrorists have smuggled hydrogen weapons from the Soviet Union to west Texas and they have only one aim: launch an all-out nuclear radiation assault on the American oil fields. Watch as they meet with determined resistance from a group of ruffians who want to protect their city and their world.

Here is a hilarious story that has great potential to entertain readers immensely. Ray Palla’s writing is awesome and the narrative voice is jovial and humorous. Right from the prologue, which is a very unusual one, a repetition of a phrase throughout an entire page, the reader is prepared for something like they have never read anywhere. Enter the boisterous gang of characters — Wichita, Foot, Tweed, Pad, Comanche and others — who are every bit as convincing as they are entertaining. The author has a particular gift for dialogue and readers will love how he uses this gift to enhance the plot, deepen characterization, and explore the themes. H: Infidels of Oil is a rollicking ride with memorable characters. I found it impossible to put this one down. It’s a story with a huge conflict and a satisfying denouement.

Rabia Tanveer

H: Infidels of Oil by Ray Palla is based on a pretty mild topic, but the way it is written makes is too enjoyable to resist. Based in a near future, but focused on current concerns, the story follows a steady stream of characters that are socially and politically invested, yet they have their own agendas. Sometimes, it is every man for himself and sometimes it is one group after another. I despised many characters, but I just loved to hate them. The story is intense and fast paced, yet nothing is rushed at all.

The story is kick started when a hydrogen bomb explodes in the Middle East, and a new type of energy crisis begins. The oil war has begun and now some terrorists are hell bent on destroying the American oil fields and starting a new era of nuclear war. The terrorists have now smuggled hydrogen weapons into Texas and there is nothing that can stop them. Now it is up to a handful of oilmen to take a stand and come up with something that will stop this mayhem. But what can they do when their own lives are at stake?

The narrative is very strong and intense. Author Ray Palla kept a steady narrative that was humorous, encouraging, witty but never insensitive. He kept the pace of the novel and he ensured that the characters were strong enough for the plot line. I particularly liked Sue and Weasel, both of them were very different, yet they were the most relatable. This is a great novel that I really enjoyed! Intense, fulfilling and very entertaining.