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THE SECOND LAW wins the 2019 Texas Authors 1st Place Award for Best International Thriller!

Critic's Report from The BookLife Prize

Title: The Second Law, Lynn Dayton Thriller #3
Author: L. A. Starks
Genre: Fiction/Mystery/Thriller
Audience: Adult
Word Count: 86900


  • Plot: The plot of sabotage of oil refineries is intriguing and drives the action, setting the pace of this thriller. The plot engages the reader from the first page.
  • Prose/Style: The prose is descriptive without providing too much detail, allowing the reader to use his or her imagination at will. Emotion is evoked often, and the tension drives the reader forward.
  • Originality: The use of the oil industry in California helps make this thriller original. The author provides just enough history without overwhelming the reader with too much information.
  • Character Development: The characters are well developed, with their own memorable voices. The names provide a diversity that is demanded when using the oil industry and technology as a background. The dialogue is natural and believable and brings the reader easily into the story.


  • Plot/Idea: 9
  • Originality: 10
  • Prose: 9
  • Character/Execution: 10
  • Overall: 9.50

      ---The BookLife Prize

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. A brilliantly up-to-date thriller that entertains as well as educates…. L. A. Starks’ latest novel, the third in Lynn Dayton Thriller series is vividly up-to-date, involving global cybersecurity concerns and oil and energy politics. TriCoast Energy executive, the ever vigilant Lynn Dayton races to uncover a global conspiracy . . . while a shadowy Chinese group recruits dangerous people and works tirelessly to take over the American oil refineries’ operations for their own twisted reasons with the help of inside information from a TriCoast Energy employee. The chapters shift between different settings from New Orleans to California, Europe, and South America . . . Starks is good at the details, her narrative flows easily, and she writes crisp action scenes. The pace of the book is fast, which keeps the reader hooked to the book. Starks proficiently builds suspense toward a tense, satisfying finale. Stark’s authoritative portrayal of the way things are done . . . makes The Second Law a convincing, engrossing read.

      ---The Prairies Book Review

A global conspiracy to disrupt American oil refineries surrounds energy executive Lynn Dayton in escalating threats to her employees, facilities, and eventually herself. In THE SECOND LAW by LA Starks, murder and mayhem follow Lynn to California, New Orleans, Europe, and South America as she tries to protect her company from Chinese hackers, American protestors, Russian assassins, and Philippino suicide bombers. Readers who enjoy real science and technology in their fiction will find accurate backdrops to this globetrotting mystery-thriller that gives a unique insider’s perspective on the petroleum industry in the US—and the ongoing battle to protect it from sabotage.

      -–Amy Rogers, ScienceThrillers.com

The result is a compelling thriller that's hard to put down, absorbingly powerful in both characterization and plot and filled with satisfying twists and turns that introduce readers to the world of not just refinery safety and operations, but high-stakes international intrigue between groups holding special government interests at the heart of their actions. Readers who enjoy stories of mystery, murder, mayhem and espionage will relish the intricate, complex yet highly accessible series of events THE SECOND LAW unfolds.

      --D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Rating: 5 Stars Global Energy Thriller. In L.A. Starks' newest thriller, "The Second Law," oil refining executive Lynn Dayton is confronted with a high-pressure alarm at her San Francisco-area facility. Initially thought to be a "computer glitch," Dayton and her team soon conclude the problem was caused by malware implanted in the refinery's control system...clearly sabotage. Meanwhile, another terrorist act is in progress. A giant U.S. oil tanker with a bomb hidden onboard slowly makes its way to a Gulf of Mexico offshore oil terminal. Events move quickly from San Francisco to New Orleans, Vienna, China and back to the U.S. in a compelling plot that features murder, intrigue, espionage and terrorism committed by agents acting primarily on behalf of foreign countries and their respective economic or political interests. Those who enjoy contemporary fiction based on current geo-political events ripped from today's headlines will enjoy and appreciate the technical detail, taut writing and fast-moving plot of "The Second Law." Highly recommended.

      -–Coast Guy, Amazon Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I had such fun reading this book. It was captivating and had me hooked from the first chapter. The author did such a great job with the characters that I felt connected to them and was invested in their story. I absolutely loved the mystery and suspense that the author was able to lace throughout the whole story. Amazing twists and turns left me reading nonstop.

      --Valerie Padrnos, Goodreads & Amazon reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Definitely a thriller and a wonderful one at that. Keeps you on the edge of your seat and glued to the pages. I enjoyed this book immensely.

      ---Pat Eroh, Goodreads reviewer

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This was a chaotic, high-tech energy mystery with a wide range of settings….The plot itself was interesting, with the main executive, Lynn, being targeted and trade secrets stolen. Some of the best parts were when the book focused on particular people, and we got to know them. When the city of New Orleans was the place of action, it was very compelling. I was born there, so I find it fascinating, a city of much character…The story itself was complicated and full of murders and betrayal, and set all over the world, with China and Russia and The Philippines involved, along with the U.S. It's a global mystery, full of current events.

      ---Lee Broom, Goodreads and Amazon reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Second Law kept me on pins and needles! Oh, my gosh, was it good. Every time I thought things would calm, things exploded again. This is most definitely a keeper to be read again and again.

      --Rebecca, Goodreads and Amazon reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The Second Law #3 - This is my first read by this author and I'm impressed! I thoroughly enjoyed this technology filled, intriguing, suspense filled story. Although this is the third book of a series, I did not miss the first two books; standalone and informative enough about the past, but I still want to read the others. If you enjoy serious reading on a real life level, you will enjoy this book, too.

There are multiple storylines covering you name it. Technology; cybercrime; murder; industrial spying. The characters range from top echelon corporation types to scum and many types in between. I had several characters I enjoyed and of course, I cheered when the baddies got their just rewards. Having worked for two defense contractors, it's always interesting to see how many U.S. companies faced the same problems we did and how their methods were similar or different from ours to keep pace, protect ourselves, and survive and thrive.

The crime runs amok from nations on down; there are other International players participating, but as much as I want to tell all the excitement this book brings, I don't do book reports. I look forward to reading many more books by this talented, educated author. There's a depth to this story that comes from knowledge and experience, instead of Hollywood movies rehashed. 5*

      --Texas, Goodreads and Amazon reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. My first book by this author. I enjoyed reading it. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters in it. I hope to read more books by this author.

      -–Darren Martin, NetGalley Reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved that book because it was a suspenseful action packed thriller that should be read by our public officials.

      -–Michael Petkus, NetGalley Reviewer

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Hold on for the ride of your life as you learn about the energy industry and what vulnerability we have based on our competitor's needs and long-term plans. There is a mystery, intrigue, murder, cyber-warfare, international competitive interruptions, and many more twists and turns.

      -–Pam V., Goodreads reviewer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.The Second Law by L.A. Starks is book three in her Lynn Dayton thriller series. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I was hooked from the first page. This thriller book is full of espionage, murder, secrets, and danger. I couldn’t get enough of it. As you read you can absolutely tell that the author has done a significant amount of research about the storyline and this story truly shines.

The author takes us from the U.S. to China to Russia and even to the Middle East. This story is easy to follow along with and the characters are engaging. I appreciate the amount of detail that the author goes into both with the cybersecurity but with the oil refineries and even the murders. I especially appreciate how the author doesn’t skimp out on certain scenes. I was worried that the author would just give us abstract scenes with the deaths but we get the full situation.

While some of the characters are true blue professionals in what they do I like that we are given less professional types as well. I feel that this makes the story truly well rounded. I can easily say that this book can be read as a stand-alone novel, but the author does give the reader snippets from her previous books and this makes me want to read them to learn what has happened before with Lynn when she had a very close call with a murderer.

There is nothing that I don’t like about this book. As I said before you can tell that the author put a lot of thought into this novel and it shows. The details are well done and thought out and very little is left to chance. This book has been thoroughly edited and what I would call a true success.

If you are looking for a novel that is a true thriller and gives you a mystery, murder, and danger hidden in the shadows around you and in cyberspace then this is the book to pick up. If you have read L.A. Stark’s other novels and enjoyed them then grab this book! You will not be disappointed! I am rating this book 5 out of 5 stars.

      ---Seraphia, Goodreads reviewer

In January, The Second Law ranked #3 on the weekly Oklahoma Bestsellers in Fiction from the TulsaWorld!

In November, The Second Law ranked #4 on the weekly Oklahoma Bestsellers in Fiction from NewsOK!

13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy

Strike Price (E-Book)

The Second Law

Texas Association of Authors Book Award Winner

THE SECOND LAW wins the 2019 Texas Authors 1st Place Award for Best International Thriller

Here's what readers and reviewers have to say about Strike Price, Lynn Dayton Thriller #2

“If you're looking for big business wheeling-and dealing, international intrigue, murder, mayhem and high-geared action, you've come to the right place.

Toss in a charming and nervy protagonist like Lynn Dayton and L.A. Starks' STRIKE PRICE is right on the money. Well-written, well-plotted and well worth a reader's time...”

      Carlton Stowers - - - two-time Edgar winner

“STRIKE PRICE takes the reader from Oklahoma Indian reservations to the streets of Florence, in an imaginative and well informed fusion of oil refining economics, Native American politics, and the potential for lethal mayhem in the global energy market.”

      Michael Ennis - - - author of New York Times bestseller, The Malice of Fortune

“Ms. Starks has an eye for detail and richly paints a picture of the Oklahoma landscape and its people. The insight given through the killers mind is especially riveting, as the reader will be far into the story before everything falls together and the killer is unmasked.”

      Literary R&R

Here's what readers and reviewers have to say about 13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy (Lynn Dayton Thriller #1):

4 Stars. “This thriller is fascinating. It includes loads of technical details about the refining industry, engineering, chemistry, and so forth, as well as a host of characters. The protagonist is interesting and human and female (Yea!). The plot spans two or three continents. It's a fantastic first novel from L. A. Starks, for sure. I read it in a day (we were having an inclement weather day here) and quite enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the next related novel.”

      Amelia - - - A Year of Reading Women

“A knockdown conspiracy. Starks has made an impressive debut with the command, passion, and insight of an insider.”

      Michael Lucker - - - executive producer, Lucky Dog Filmworks

“The characters are well developed, the plot twists are interesting, dialogue sharp and well crafted... I want to read more Lynn Dayton stories... If you are into thrillers, you will like 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY.”

      Beth - - - Pure Textuality

“Wow...I loved the whole plot because I found it to be unique. The characters were very realistic and I loved how the story is told from both the protagonist and villain's point of view.”

      Tina Chan - - - reviewer, The Book Landers

13 Days is a cross between Vince Flynn and Patricia Cornwell.”

      - - - reader

“This was a very fast-paced book! I couldn't put it down! It is a superb blend of the oil business, current events, and international intrigue. I felt like I was experiencing a front-page news story.”

      Kathy - - - international executive

5 Stars. “I pulled the book out this week and haven't been able to put it down. The story is well written with personal crisis, drama, suspense, and just a touch of a romantic struggle. The characters are well developed. I am anxiously awaiting a sequel by L.A. Starks.”

      - - - Sonia

Rating: Excellent “Author L A. Starks delivers an unstoppable thriller that put this reviewer in mind of bestselling novels of this genre over the last several decades, with the welcome addition of depth... When the reader turns the final page of 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY, it will be with an understanding and education gleaned smoothly and without strain or difficulty. This is truly a book which will linger in the reader's mind long after the final ending, as we wonder: “What if?” ... 13 DAYS: THE PYTHAGORAS CONSPIRACY is a thriller whose potentials are altogether too probable to ignore.”

      Annie - - - Euro-Reviews

More 13 Days reviews here.

Read the short story about series character Josh Rosen: "Josh Rosen and Bubbe"