cover image Kill Zone

Kill Zone

Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason. Forge, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-18344-6

Anderson and Beason (Lifeline) fail to do justice to the intriguing setup of this muddled action thriller. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Energy Stanley van Dyckman, a sycophantic Washington, D.C., bureaucrat, organizes a review of the nation’s newest nuclear waste facility, Hydra Mountain, outside Albuquerque, N.Mex. The team van Dyckman assembles includes attractive Adonia Rojas, the nuclear site manager, who serves as the group’s brains and moral compass; Col. Shawn Whalen, Adonia’s former boyfriend and the U.S. president’s military aide, who supplies the brawn; and U.S. Senator Pulaski, the total fool who’s in charge of the Hydra project’s purse strings. Soon after Adonia and company start their tour, a small plane has a problem that causes it to land just inside the facility fence. The protocols for dealing with the breach lead inadvertently to a lockdown. Adonia and the others face increasing peril as they seek to escape the mountain. Stock characters make it difficult for readers to care much about their fate. Other writers have done a better job of dramatizing the risks of a potential nuclear disaster on American soil. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (Aug.)