Alternative energy spells danger for scientist Sabrina Galloway, who discovers her employer is dumping toxic waste into Florida’s waterways and the Gulf of Mexico, in Alex Kava’s stand-alone thriller, Whitewash.

What inspired this scary eco-thriller?

Three years after I bought a place in Florida, Hurricane Ivan hit [2004]. Then Hurricane Dennis [2005]. I come from Nebraska tornado country. But I’ve never seen so much devastation, the hurricane debris! It’s not like you can haul it off and make mulch out of it. That, for me, was the true inspiration for this book, seeing those mountains of debris and seeing them haul it away and wondering, “What are they going to do with it?”

Which is worst—political corruption or corporate greed?


They go hand-in-hand. Political corruption bothers me more than the greed because it’s not quite black and white. But when you look at some corrupt politicians, you think, these are people who are supposed to be honorable and watching out for the rest of us. How did they fall so low?

Why do you so often take ordinary people, like Sabrina Galloway, the trusting scientist in Whitewash, and push them to the brink?

When we are pushed to the edge, that’s when we show our true character. That’s where our values are, where our ideals are, what we believe in. You take people like Sabrina, you push and push, and you see what they’ll do to save those values.

Leon, the hired gun who keeps failing to kill Sabrina, is so funny. How important is humor in a thriller?

In this book it was important. I wanted to have some sort of a relief for readers instead of constantly being weighed upon by these hefty issues. And Leon is an unpredictable, unexpected place to find humor.

Will there be a sequel or is this a temporary break from your Special Agent Maggie O’Dell series?

It’s a stand-alone, but I never say never. I’m working on Exposed, the next Maggie, right now.

Reduce, reuse, recycle—what else is important to remember?

Awareness! We must be more open-minded about different aspects of what we can use. I don’t know if there would be an oil shortage, but it sure would be nice to not have a dependency on foreign oil. As taxpayers, we are in a position to do something about it.