Cold Blood, Hot Sea|
(Mara Tusconi Mystery Series)
Torrey House Press, 2016, 250 pp, PB, $14.95
There seems to be a newly minted literary genre, "cli-fi" (climate change fiction). I don't know who is responsible but I'm glad there are enough books on the subject of climate change to warrant a separate category. On the other hand, it is regrettable in the extreme that such a sad subject requires one.
Mara Tusconi is also "newly minted". On her first job as a marine biologist, she is assigned to the Maine Oceanographic Institution's research vessel. She hops aboard Intrepid wearing a nausea patch behind her ear. (Now that's dedication to your calling.) The mission is to release temperature buoys in the Gulf of Maine. Before the vessel reaches the harbor mouth, the ship lurches wildly and one of the heavy buoys rolled straight toward the starboard railing...not a good omen...and then the plot thickens.
"Accidents" continue to happen and it is slowly revealed that powerful energy executives are involved in the sabotage of her research and Mara is a "sitting duck" because she does most of her research in her kayak. When a colleague from M.I.T. gets threatening messages targeting his kids, the only sane answer is to involve the Feds. Tusconi is appropriately incensed. "No one on a research cruise should need FBI protection."
The quality and quantity of the information in this book is very satisfying. There are no scientific "dead ends" and the writing is chock full of eco-info which drives as well as enriches the plot. The problem is so simple. The solution is clear.
D'Avanzo doesn't make a rosy picture of the future but she's not a doomsday sayer. But she doesn't beat around the bush either. We just have to jolt ourselves out of the denial phase. D'Avanzo is calm, rational, and extremely well informed. Best of all she is not a scold. Her scientific training allows her to be analytical and her appreciation for a good yarn is obvious. We all have a stake in this issue, and it's a pleasure to read about it without feeling guilty and to root for all those good folks who are responsible for their own trash.
The author is an award-winning environmental educator and has studied the New England coast for forty years. (I sure would like to walk the beach with her!)