cover image The Fifth Cataract

The Fifth Cataract

Jo Bannister, . . Severn, $27.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-6284-6

Palpable tensions suffuse this gritty mystery from British author Bannister (True Crimes ) set in the bleak marshlands of Norfolk. Clio Marsh, a former doctor turned writer, has joined a survival course to gather material for her latest work of fiction. When a fellow trainee falls ill, possibly with "marsh fever," wanders off and drowns, Marsh and her remaining colleagues receive no help from either the locals or the employees at a chemical plant, Growth Industries, believed to have polluted the environment. Marsh and the other survivalist trainees must use all their skills and determination to emerge from the experience alive. Readers who like their adventures hard-edged will be satisfied, though some may be a little disappointed at the deus ex machina ending. (Jan.)