Review of Ransomed Earth: an Eco-Thriller by Thomas C. Anderson, recently retired as President of Baker & O'Brien, Inc., an international petroleum industry consulting firm based in Dallas, Texas.

I found this book to have the action and intensity of a Tom Clancy novel, but with a story that is unique among thrillers. It should be made into a movie.

It has environmental underpinnings, but it is also about US and international politics, crime, corruption, and character development of people. The lead characters are likable, but with flaws and conflicts, and are shown struggling to grow through difficult situations of life and death. It is well researched and detailed in the descriptions of international cultures, complex environmental issues, and geography.

The plot and characters are believable and relevant to our present time, and the dialog makes the characters seem real. The book has a series of story lines that are complex but interwoven in a way that kept me wanting to read on to learn the next twist and turn.

I could see this book becoming a movie as it has a unique story line, thrilling scenes, believable characters, and issues that are relevant today across the globe.

Review is from: Ransomed Earth: An Eco-Thriller (Kindle Edition) by Cynthia Massey, award-winning author and WILLA Literary Award Finalist for Original Softcover Novel

"He did it again, but this time in an environmental thriller that takes place around the globe in China, Equador, and Colorado, USA. A group of environmentalists kidnap the children of U.S. government officials and make demands to the U.S. Government regarding funding for environmental issues. Will the government meet the demands? And if they do, is it a cop-out? Does the U.S. government negotiate with environmental terrorists? Coalson brings up some interesting issues in this compelling and fast read."

Comments from Bill and Dusty Durrill regarding the biography, "Hi, I'm Billy Durrill, the Third Child of Clinton Glenn and Myrtle Ruhlen Durrill: a biographical sketch shared with Les Coalson, 2011.
Comments after submitting the first fourth of the manuscript:

"My son Bill is having some research done on the family background...the man he is using is Les Coalson and he has amazed me."  Dusty Durrill, May 23, 2011.

"You are a hell of a research guru!....You amaze me!!"  Dusty Durrill, May 23, 2011.

"....over the top..." Bill Durrill, June 5, 2011

Comments after the final draft was submitted:

"I have come around to reading your writing and I must compliment you on your work. It brings tears to my eyes how you caught the moment and emotions. I have to take it in pieces but I wanted to reach out to you and compliment and thank you for coming into our lives."  Bill Durrill, Feb 2, 2012

"I have been working on the manuscript & am about finished...I cannot conceive how you managed to get so much information....I am totally impressed ...."  Dusty Durrill, Mar 29, 2012


     "Don't do as I do; Do as I Say Do" is an autobiography by Willard Hammonds (unpublished). I helped him arrange and edit these memoirs between June and August, 2012. Here's what he had to say about my work: "...working with you has been a pleasure and exactly what I need..."  September 2012


Les Coalson's "Color of Blood" takes the reader on a wild ride through some fairly untamed parts of Texas and into encounters with a couple of very unsavory characters. The main storyline deals with the disappearance of a young couple, Jack and Vicky, who vanish from Jack's boat during a rather routine outing. When Jack's journalist brother Clay starts to investigate their disappearance, it soon becomes obvious that Jack was involved in some environmental issues and very likely about to step on the "big guys' toes," so Clay starts to believe that his brother's disappearance was not an accident but, rather, the result of foul play. 

As enthralling as the main storyline was, I found several of the side stories even more absorbing. Julio and Louisa's heartbreaking story presents an ethical dilemma that many people have witnessed in the Terry Schiavo case, but which remains fresh and compelling. Mary Frances and Clay's story is one that so many readers slightly afraid of commitment will find easy to relate to. Jacob's struggle between what's easy and what's right is a classic example of the choices people are faced with every day; and there is no telling which side will win in any of those situations. Vicky's past - and to some extent her present - will probably make you wince, but you are also bound to feel some compassion for her. All of those side stories and their characters are well-thought-out and very believable. The characters are well-crafted, and I found it easy to relate to them. Although their motivations are pretty straightforward, the story does not suffer for that and does not become boring and predictable. 

Les Coalson has obviously done extensive research for the background of his story and his insights into Texas's history, economy and the current environmental issues are well worth reading. He touches on many pressing contemporary issues, including race relations, the euthanasia dilemma, crime, pollution, the behavior of large companies with little regard for our environment and more. 

I would recommend Les Coalson's "Color of Blood" to any reader in search of a fast-moving, contemporary and relevant suspense novel. If the reader happens to be fan of wildlife, boating or Texas, he or she should find this an especially rewarding read. - Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views

Les Coalson Brings Texas' History and Landscape Alive with Suspense: Les Coalson uses his knowledge of agriculture, development of natural resources and business as background for his novels. 

In his recent suspense novel, Color of Blood, journalist Clay Aker's brother, Jack, is missing along with his girl friend, Vicky, whom Clay's mother intensely dislikes. Mom blames Vicky for Jack's newfound support of a conservation coalition that contends manufacturing plants are dumping methylmercury into Lavaca and Matagorda Bay. When Clay and his friend Texas Ranger Julio Ramirez find Jack's abandoned boat beached near Port Lavaca, they launch a search that embroils them in theft, kidnapping and murder.
As Coalson characters comb Texas from New Braunfels to the coastal bays, readers learn about the history, livestock and vegetation of the area. (Eakin Press) - Nancy Glass West, Book Shelf columnist, San Antonio Woman Magazine, January/February 2009, "Local Authors Captivate Readers", pages 90-93.


Sever the Darkness is an educational novel. The plot holds the attention and keeps the pages turning, but you cannot read it without becoming better informed on the natural resource issues which dominate the political and cultural landscape of the New Bruanfels area. The conflicts between long-time residents and tourists on the River; traditional enmity between ethnic groups; conflicts among the development, environmental and farming interests; the central role of water -- in many ways the New Braunfels situation is a particularly intense microcosm of the challenges confronting the whole Hill Country.
Coalson deals with real places --Comal County, the Guadalupe River, the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority -- and his descriptions of the infrastructure of them are richly textured, lovingly capturing the ambiance and atmosphere of the context in a way that could only be done by someone who has had long intimacy with the area. The characters are designed to personify the interest groups involved in the New Braunfels issues and they are well-nuanced.
It's a good read. Well worth three hours in the hammock on the back porch. All who have spent a few days in the New Bruanfels area will enjoy the tapestry that Les Coalson weaves. All who seek an enjoyable way of learning more of the challenges of natural resource issues in the Hill Country will be rewarded."
- Professor John L. Crompton, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University 

"I just finished reading Sever the Darkness. It is a wonderful story and well told. You did a terrrific job of sustaining interest to the very end. You were also adept at interjecting important information about the Guadalupe River and our responsibility to protect our natural resources, in an interesting way throughout."- Pat Montandon is a four-time author and former columnist for the San Francisco Examiner.

Sever the Darkness is a realistic mystery with a murder as the focus. The realism is in the issues affecting the deaths...(and) environmental threats (along) the river as well as the racial tensions from the Mexican immigrants. 
The story begins with Clay Aker, who returns to his home town and is now trying to put his life back together after the death of his wife and child while working for the military in Central America. His mother arranges an opportunity for Clay to become a journalist. His first assignment is to cover the outdoor opportunities for tourism along the Guadalupe River. Clay fortunately meets an experienced reporter known as Sharkbait who guides Clay with his assignment. Also, to complicate Clay's life, he meets Mary Francis Wiley who he knew in high school since Clay dated her big sister. The physical attraction between these two causes...sexual tension throughout the novel. 

While covering tourism along the Guadalupe River, the body of a teenaged boy is found. The girl that was with him is missing. The girl is of Mexican heritage and the boy is white. Investigating this is the girl's uncle, Julio, who has to overcome the prejudice of fellow officers and his own personal baggage. 

The environmental issues of the rights of people, big business, the tourists, the land owners, as well as the fish in the river are all superbly intermixed throughout the story. There is no one correct solution that is best for everyone. The land owners who to daily fight with...trespassing, and the litter problem helped to establish the realism in this book. Another theme is the threat of big business with the oil pipelines constantly threatening the land, the river, and the people who have lived in this area. The money and power that big businesses control daily upset the balances of nature.
The character development is super. Each character has a distinct voice and had depth to their personality which makes this novel more realistic. The setting is obviously a passion for Les Coalson as he demonstrates to his readers his love of the Guadalupe River, while educating about the conflicts of a river environment.Coalson has relied heavily on his education and background in natural resources development and business administration, as well as experience in managing recreation programs. SEVER THE DARKNESS is his first novel. The characters are so brilliantly established that I envisage a sequel or a series now about the Guadalupe River. This is definitely a book that I highly recommend to everyone. - Reviewed by Teri Davis, December 2003