Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dry Ice

Dry Ice by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson
Tom Doherty, Associates, August 2011
Advanced Reading Copy, 320 pages
ISBN-13: 9780765324726


In the frozen heart of Antarctica sits TESLA, a secret weather "research" station designed by Greg Simpson for Flint Agro-Chemical, a world-spanning agribusiness. Only a few people know that TESLA is creating weather all over the globe, granting Flint huge harvests and punishing the company's rivals with hailstorms and drought. Even fewer know that from time to time, Flint and TESLA help the Pentagon by providing just the right weather for a military operation.
When Greg strikes a secret deal with the Pentagon, Flint executives decide to replace him with the beautiful and ultra-intelligent Tess Beauchamp. Arriving, Tess is surprised to find that Greg's second-in-command, Nik Forde, is even better looking than he was when they had a brief affair, ten years ago.
Tess doesn't have long to worry about the difficulties of a workplace relationship. Greg has barely left Antarctica—escorted by Flint security—when his secret, encrypted computer programs activate, sending fatal weather across the globe, striking every continent's grain-growing region and livestock-farming area. Tess and Nik must crack Greg's code and stop TESLA before the US government—unwilling to sit by and watch the planet's agriculture be destroyed by storm and fire, avalanche, and tsunami—launches a nuclear missile at the TESLA base.

My Thoughts:

Dry Ice by Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson concerns weather control gone awry. In this novel the TESLA research station which is owned by Flint Agro-Chemical, an agribusiness company, is controlling the weather to their benefit - and the detriment of others. Greg Simpson, who designed the station and runs, has gone insane and rogue. After it is discovered that he is working secretly with the Pentagon, Flint wants him replaced with Tess Beauchamp, who has no idea what TESLA does. The only problem is that Greg is vindictive and when Tess arrives to take over, more of his evil plans come into play.
Dry Ice features some scientific facts and gruesomely described weather related disasters. This makes sense because  Bill Evans is an award winning senior meteorologist for WABC, Channel 7 in New York City. Marianna Jameson has an experienced writer for the aerospace, defense, and software industries. Together, Evans and Jameson have written two other books:  Category 7 and Frozen Fire.
I did enjoy Dry Ice but it also read like a science fiction channel disaster movie. Now this can be good; I've been known to love to distraction some made for television disaster movies in my time. On the other hand, I've also been known to cruelly mock them. Nevertheless, most of the descriptions of weather-related destruction wrought by the antagonist, Greg, felt like they'd be better appreciated as scenes in a movie - quick glimpses of what the bad guy has done with the science behind it glossed over. Additionally, many of the descriptive passages concerning the disasters were overdone in comparison with the rest of he novel.
While the writing is technically good (and since I had an ARC, I have to assume mistakes were corrected), I felt the characterizations were lacking. I really didn't connect with any of them. They were also very simple characters without any layers or nuance. It's quite clear who is a good guy and who is a bad guy. (And for some odd reason, all the women are good while the bad guys are all men. On one level I totally understand this, but in reality it seems a stretch.) 

Although Dry Ice has been promoted as a book for weather geeks, I think real weather geeks are going to find it lacking. The disasters hit very quickly with pinpoint accuracy and some (of us) weather geeks like to follow the data, the build up, anticipating what the storm is capable of doing. We like the science. Also it should be noted that all the disasters are not weather related.
No quotes because this was an ARC, advanced reading copy.
Disclosure: I received this novel through the Goodreads First Reads program. 

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