This wasn’t the usual kind of book that I woul read, however I did enjoy Bad Water. It is well written and edited, with a well polished air about it, making it easy to read.
The main charaters, Cassie and Walter are an unusual pairing of forensic geologists, and I enjoyed way the characters developed throughout the book giving you brief insights into their lives outside this case. I did also learn a lot about the dangers of radiation and how it can be part of our existence without us necessarily knowing….Bad Water is a very secret and scary vision of what could be.
It’s not what I’d consider a typical thriller, there is no edge of your seat stuff, but you are engaged throughout, and I was certainly eager to find out what the outcome would be and who exactly was involved.
I would award this book three stars, as whilst I did find it interesting to read, it was not overly gripping.
About the author….in her own words
I'm a third-generation Californian who migrated from southern Cal to northern Cal. What I like most about my state is that one can go from the ocean to the mountains in one day, with a lunch stop in the desert. I like it so much I've set my forensic geology books in those settings.
I'm author of a US History textbook, and have contributed to texts in the sciences. I've done tech-writing for the Silicon Valley computer industry, and that experience hatched an idea that became my first novel, about an attempt to sabotage the nation's telephone system.
I went in a different direction with the Forensic Geology Series, taking mystery into outdoor adventure and thriller territory.
From where do you get your inspirations for your characters and storylines in your books?
I love the outdoors, I’ve hiked and camped in Death Valley, and I always thought it would make a great setting for a story. I wanted a setting that was both enthralling and dangerous and Death Valley fit the bill. And then I learned that there used to be a radioactive waste dump on the perimeter of the National Park, and I had my theme for BADWATER.
My protagonists are forensic geologists, which means they examine earth evidence at crime scenes—and that takes them into the field and into danger. I like the dynamic of a young headstrong professional and her older, wiser mentor.
Cassie is age 29, attractive although not a major head-turner, smart (got to solve those crimes), strong in mind and body but not kick-ass (must survive threats, but believably), trusting and thus often vulnerable, dedicated to doing right but sometimes getting things wrong, prone to make a joke when things get tense, bit of a nerd.
Walter is age 60-ish, face like an eroding cliff, smart and occasionally wise, overcoming a small stroke and not as strong as he thinks (he thinks he’s kick-ass), loyal to a fault and thus often vulnerable, dedicated to doing right but sometimes getting things wrong and loathe to admit it, can’t make a joke to save his life but loves to laugh, too old to be called a nerd.
Walter is partly based on a real-world forensic geologist, who was kind enough to show me around his lab and teach me the basics. He was working on a case of a murder victim found at a beach, and showed me how he could analyze a single grain of sand with the scanning electron microscope. All the while quoting William Blake’s “to see a world in a grain of sand.” Part scientist, part poet.
Cassie isn’t based on any real-life person. I might have saddled her with a few of my own vulnerabilities.
What are your favourite books?
So many. Two jump to mind right now:
Bitterroot by James Lee Burke
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith
What are the best and worst things about being a writer?
Best = creating a world and having readers want to live there for a short while. That absolutely floors me.
Worst = doubt. Wondering if I can create the world on the page that I see in my mind.
Tell us a little bit about your books, who they are aimed at, and where people can buy them?
The books are a bit of a hybrid—part mystery, part thriller, part adventure. Much of the action takes place in the outdoors, with a strong environmental theme. A reader who likes that mix might enjoy the ride.
Currently, the books are exclusive to Amazon, in both ebook and paperback formats. Badwater is also available as an audiobook.