W. Michael Hewitt has degrees in chemical engineering and nuclear engineering and a long, successful career managing nuclear and hazardous wastes for the federal government and private industry, both domestically and internationally.
Hewitt’s inspiration for Malicious Deception, his first novel, came from an inability to find out exactly what was placed in the PUREX Tunnels at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Hanford Site in eastern Washington on the Columbia River. What a perfect setting for a techno-thriller.
The PUREX Plant is where the plutonium for three-quarters of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal came from. The PUREX Tunnels still contain wastes produced in the PUREX Plant that were too radioactive to transport across the Hanford Site to the normal disposal grounds.
A premise of the Malicious Deception is that in 1965, an Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) executive (Ty Rettig) covered up the disposal of an unstable explosive mixture of highly radioactive materials in PUREX Tunnel One. This is described in a prequel novella to Malicious Deception that will be titled, Pernicious Proclivities, which will be published on Amazon in 2023.
Decades after a PUREX leak occurs, Dr. Essie Openwaters discovers the existence of a time bomb in a memo that had been hidden for fifty years and that Ty Rettig believed he had destroyed. Essie becomes an assassination target as she works to unravel the mystery while striving to protect a quarter of a million people from the pending explosion and resultant widespread radioactive contamination.
Essie is the perfect protagonist. She is gifted with beauty, high intelligence, an athletic body, a strong moral compass, and a commitment to protect the Pacific Northwest cities that are at risk.
Her nemesis, Dr. Tyrone Rettig, has the same gifts except for the moral compass. Rettig is an evil sociopath intent on destroying Essie because she is uncovering old secrets that may uncover others. If Essie publicly unveils Rettig’s cover-up, a covert nuclear cabal (The Stewards) will terminate his life.
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