Earthquake Games

Bonnie Ramthun, Author
Bonnie Ramthun, Author Putnam Adult $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-399-14666-4
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
Mass Market Paperbound - 352 pages - 978-0-515-13177-2
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Colorado Springs homicide investigator Eileen Reed stars in her second thriller, after Ground Zero. Reed is dispatched to a nearby military base to investigate the shooting death of an air force major. Nobody at the scene is very helpful, least of all the dead man's boss, Jacob Mitchell, a former congressman and presidential candidate who has now resumed work as a scientist heading up a top-secret project. While Reed and her partner, Dave Rosen, struggle along, another murder occurs--that of a young woman found dead in the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado's San Luis Valley, an area long known for unexplained physical events. UFO enthusiasts descend on the area, distracting Reed and Rosen with claims that otherworldly forces killed the woman. Eventually, Reed tracks the two murders back to Mitchell, then makes an even bigger discovery: Mitchell has gotten his hands on a special machine that can cause earthquakes and is planning to use it soon. Ramthun does a good job managing a story that teeters on the edge of believability by providing a counterbalance of fact-based scientific detail and historical research into earthquakes and government coverups. A lack of credible suspects besides Mitchell and a waning torque of suspense, however, burden her plot. Ramthun, a former ""wargamer"" for the Department of Defense, does get high marks for creating a highly atmospheric setting in both the physical and social landscape of Colorado. She also weaves in a couple of personal subplots--a love interest for Reed and the surprising emergence of someone out of her past--that give her story warmth. (Sept.)
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