The Green Trap

ISBN: 0765309246
ISBN 13: 9780765309242
By: Ben Bova

Check Price Now


Currently Reading Fiction Listened To My Books Mystery Sci Fi Sci Fi Fantasy Science Fiction Thriller To Read

About this book

Microbiologist Michael Cochrane has been murdered. His brother Paul wants to find out who did it…and why. Accompanied by a beautiful industrial spy, Elena Sandoval, Paul follows the trail from California to Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Along the way, a lot of people seem to be interested in getting in their way, or discovering what they know. It's clear that Michael was working with cyanobacteria, the bacteria that crack water molecules and release free oxygen. It's less clear why this would get anybody killed. Or why oil billionaire Lionel Gould wants to pay Paul and Elena big money for the details of Michael's work. Then the truth emerges: Michael had found a way to get cyanobacteria to crack hydrogen out of simple water molecules.  A process that could be industrialized, producing enough hydrogen to cleanly power the world.  Practically free fuel, out of one of the planet's most abundant resources: water. No wonder everyone, from Middle Eastern heavies to hired domestic muscle, suddenly seems to be trying to get in Paul and Elena's way.   As the world's secrets--and their own--teeter in the balance, both Paul and Elena must decide what to do before it's too late.  Contemporary, topical, and exciting, The Green Trap is a thriller of today's energy skulduggery--both the kind you read about in the headlines, and the kind you don't.

Reader's Thoughts


A tremendous amount of this book is dedicated to the main characters acting out of fear of death. This story may be a scenario that plays out as a hypothetical reaction of big oil and the world stage politics viewing a true alternative to petroleum. However, three hundred and fifty pages was just too much book for too little plot.

Keith Bell

Great premise ruined by poor writing. I usually love anything written by Bova, but this one falls way short of his usual quality. Poor character dev't with predictable action. His age is showing. He should stick with Sci-Fi.


A microbiologist is killed, and his brother is left to pick up the pieces as to why his work on cyanobacteria might be have led industrialists or Middle East oil concerns to murder.A fun modern-day thriller based at least in part on actual science (given Bova's credentials as both an SF and science fact writer/editor), it ultimately fails because a lot of the cloak-and-dagger stuff relies on email working in a completely different way than it actually does. As the plot progressed I so hoped there was something I wasn't understanding, or that the characters tripping over each other was because only one of them didn't understand, but no.


So far so good. I love Ben Bova and have read about 100 of his books. This book a suspense sci-fi read about greed, murder, politics, and the environment. That's the big theme of most of Bova's recent works. Its great if you love Sci-Fi

Bob Kelley

Mostly harmless.


This is an EXCELLENT book. A fantastic blend of science and mystery. Keeps you captivated throughout and with a fantastic ending.

Angela Moxon

Ok, first of all, it's way too early for me to be trying to write a book review but, since I finished this at stupid-o'clock last night, I want to get my thoughts out while it's still fresh in my head. I picked this book up in the DOLLAR STORE of all places and paid a whoppin' $1.25 for it. I thought, this is probably gonna suck, why else would it be in the dollar store?Well, it didn't suck. At first I thought oh no, I'm not gonna be able to read this. The beginning was a bit slow. I didn't really find myself involved with the characters until at least halfway through. but, once I hit that halfway mark, I just couldn't wait to turn the page.The story is centered around science. Microbiology to be exact and deals with the conspiracy world of government and big oil. It depicts corruption and what I think is closer to the truth than fiction. i really enjoyed the fact that the science wasn't so complicated that it was mind boggling. It was described in a way that even the dullest witted person could understand. The story had so much more than I thought it would have, murder, mystery, conspiracy theory, love, was a nice surprise and I'm glad I spent that whoppin $1.25! I'd have paid more for this read!


Ick, predictable story, stupid stupid protagonists with transparent antagonists. Nothing to recommend this.


Decent premise, reasonably compelling, but a corny execution; definitely one of Bova's lesser works.

Ricky Penick

I was inclined to give Ben Bova a lot of leeway, as he has been around forever. That isn't too hard when it comes to the Sam Gunn stories that are hokey and tongue-in-cheek by design. This, on the other hand is supposed to be a serious treatment of energy issues. The premise is interesting enough, with a reliable cheap source of hydrogen having been discovered by a research scientist, who is murdered at the beginning of the story. Problems with the narrative surface immediately. We soon realize that our protagonist, the brother of the murdered scientist, is that most remarkable of stereotypes, a complete idiot with a doctorate in astrophysics. In fact, the entire plot hinges upon everyone being complete idiots at every turn. Every character is a cartoonish stereotype. Fortunately, I have not encoutered any of these "types" in real life.Still, I was willing to continue suspend my disbelief until the protagonist runs around the country trying to recover the "secret formula" that he had ingenously emailed to three friends from high school that he hadn't been in contact with for years. He was motivated by the antagonist (evil fat sweaty clammy egomaniacal murderous oil baron) apparently holding the love of his life (met two weeks before under rather unlikely circumstances) hostage. What finally got to me was the idea (this was published in 2006) that you could recover and destroy email messages by simply confiscating the hard drives of the computers of the sender and recipients of the messages. One of the "buddies" actually mentions that he never even downloaded the message from AOL but that didn't keep him from trying to extort the protagonist with the laptop that they proceed to fight over even though it doesn't actually have the files on the hard drive that must be destroyed.No, no Ben, it's not you, it's me...

Kristin Lundgren

Micahel Cochrne, microbiologist, brother Paul, Elena Sandoval, cyano bacteria,. Lionel gould, indutrial oil ginat,


Ben Bova is really a prolific writer, and enjoyed some of his other pure science fiction novels better than this one. The factual information embedded in this predictably lame murder mystery are the only thing that save this dog. I enjoyed the information about hydrogen fuel and the insane politics of the military industrial complex, but the central characters just plain stink. I couldn't even finish this one.


A fair to good read with some interesting premises but the characters are stock and there is a gaping plot hole that is never explained. Bova writes clearly and concisely, very much in the style of the golden age classics. No style points, just the "invisible author" that Asimov stated was his writing goal. The book, in fact, could be best described as one of Asimov's poorer efforts......not an insult really, but still not the level of writing that Bova is capable of doing.


The beginning of the Grand Tour of Ben Bova's universe and it is a good one. You don't have to read most of his books in any certain order and this one is no exception. It is very well constructed and has the typical character development strengths from Bova.


Interesting premise on the energy (petroleum) industry. Enjoyed the first half of the book, but then the story just didn't pan out. He did at the end what he could have done all along. Not sure even that big of a corporate executive could get away with so much. Would have put 2 1/2, but the option is not available.

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *