Adventure that’s just a good, solid read

Solid Oil” has all the hallmarks of a boy’s own adventure but the hero is a young woman and its settings exotic and intriguing, to ensure its broad appeal.

The rainforest’s secret is known to a very few, but each is perfectly placed to profit from it. The secret is lithium – sometimes described as the oil of the 21st century – and the knowledge of it has spawned a crime cabal led by Vietnamese gangster-turned-investor Johnny Ho and a diverse cast of crooks from a corrupt Scottish knight to a vicious Russian mafia boss.

Their plan is to own the resource in the middle of the island of New Guinea, cut down the rainforest and leverage themselves into control of most of the economies of Southeast Asia. To protect them they have a weapon that only a nuclear strike can combat. Or so they think.

The first female president of a US that is now self-sufficient in oil but totally without the precious lithium, has her own plans, however, and Andrei Kuznetsov, chess aficionado, avid reader and unlikely secret agent, is sent to make them reality.

The Australians, meanwhile, are also aware of the deposit and have their own intentions.

As the story unfolds through murder, jealousy, corruption and a category A cyclone, Kuznetsov comes to realise the players have reckoned without one factor – the nation that hosts the deposit and the beautiful young woman who will emerge to lead it.

The presence of a national hero and the people who call forest home forces them all to think again. details: Solid Oil is available at Amazon in hard and soft copy form and on Kindle as an e-book.

Never too old to tell a cracker yarn
Russell Hunter is living proof that you can do anything if you really set your mind to it – he was well past 60 before his long-held dream of publishing a book was finally realised.

Drawing on his long and colourful career as a journalist in exotic Pacific Island locations, he wrote the thriller “Solid Oil” which was picked up by an American publisher last year. But it wasn’t clear sailing.

“Solid Oil began in about 1995,” he says. “But my computer was damaged en route to Fiji where the company IT expert swore he could fix it. I told him to go ahead but on no account to wipe the hard drive. “No prizes for guessing what he did.”

Born and educated in Dundee, Scotland, Russell’s work as a journalist, editor and newspaper manager has taken him to most parts of the planet. He has been a daily newspaper editor in England and CEO of newspaper companies in PNG and Fiji. He was co-owner of Time Off, the Brisbane street paper, but sold his interest in order to return to mainstream journalism which he did as chief sub-editor of The Australian before moving to Fiji in 1997.

His devotion to the principles of democracy and media freedom resulted in his abduction and subsequent deportation from Fiji by the military dictatorship that seized government at gunpoint in 2006.

In 2010, having completed a project in Samoa and with more time on his hands, Russell returned to his book, relying on memory for his characters and plot. It was finally accepted by an American publisher last year.

Russell has now settled in Queensland with his Papua New Guinean partner. They have two adult daughters and, when not subediting to pay for weddings, he is at work on his second book.