THE FIRE CLOUD by Kenneth McKenney


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Volcano-powered nonsense. Popocatepetl is erupting, and a huge black fire cloud full of static electricity is raining black ashes over Mexico City and may be burying it. What's more, American geologist Harry Carter (who has flown down to study the volcano) thinks that the only way to stop Popocatepetl from going into full-scale eruption and wiping out the city is to drop a large atomic bomb into the mouth, forcing the rising lava back into its magma chamber by having the top of the mountain cave in on it. And after incompetent President Ramirez is overthrown by the altruists in the military, the new junta listens to Harry and duly attempts to get an atomic bomb from the United States. But even weirder things are happening because of the eruption--like the activities of a sect which sacrifices live children to the volcano god in hopes of mollifying the divine force; New York Post reporter Mary Alice Jackson befriends a poor widow whose two children have been kidnapped for sacrifice. And, of course, there's also a terrorist group in the neighborhood--hoping to strike down the government. With these and other plots and subsubplots, McKenney (The Moonchild, 1978) tries to pad out the six days of disaster before the climactic bomb-dropping scene; but it's a clich‚-ridden fizzle, heavy on action and lava, short on inspiration.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1979
Publisher: Simon & Schuster