Start with the chilling idea that a cask of highly radioactive material is hijacked on its way to the nuclear dump, amp up the tension as the nefarious plot unfolds, and climax with a showdown in Death Valley between the brilliant terrorist and his foe, an ex-Special Ops agent who…
No, wait. That isn’t right. His foe is NOT an ex-Special Ops agent. His foe is a broken-down NYC cop who…
No, that isn’t right, either. His foe is…
A forensic geologist!
If you aren’t sure what a forensic geologist is, think of that seven-second bit of dialogue in a crime drama where the detective looks at a piece of paper and says, “We have the lab results–this mud could only come from one place….”
That’s the work of a forensic geologist. In Dwiggins’ books, though, the geologists are front and center. Did you know that a good forensic geologist can tell where a car’s been by examining the layers of mud under the fender? I didn’t. I love this stuff!
Fascinating as the science is in the series, it’s still the characters who draw us into the drama.
Dwiggins keeps the story moving while still giving us characters we can imagine and empathize with. Cassie Oldfield is the young, female assistant to seasoned geologist Walter Shaws. Their relationship is touching and sometimes rocky (sorry). It’s refreshing to find characters in a thriller who aren’t pushed to the edge of credibility with wicked martial arts skills and borderline psychopathic personalities.
Badwater has been dinged in a number of reviews for bouncing back and forth between Cassie’s first-person narrative and the villain’s story told in third-person. I found it a bit annoying at first, but I got used to it.
Dwiggins sticks to Cassie’s point of view for the second book in the series, Volcano Watch, bringing Cassie to a critical decision in her life. It’s an exciting, character-driven thriller, fast-paced, in which a mountain blows up. What more could you want?
Since I read the first two books in the series, Dwiggins has issued a novella, Quicksilver, that she bills as a prequel. It currently tops my TBR pile.
As I write this post, Quicksilver is available for free and the other two books are on sale for $0.99 each. If you miss the sale, I think you can still pick up all three for the bargain price of $3.99.
Check ’em out!