A plausible and stormy eco-thriller that might presage future events.
Meteorologist Gwen Boudain conducts billionaire-funded research on a phenomenon called an ARk storm, in which “atmospheric rivers” dump massive amounts of rain on California. (ARk means Atmospheric River 1000.) Meanwhile, a wealthy Arab schemes to use Gwen’s knowledge to unleash a catastrophic storm on America’s West Coast—jihad by weather. A storm is coming, that is beyond doubt, but Gwen’s discoveries in the wrong hands will make it far worse. So Gwen teams up with ex-SEAL Dan Jacobsen to learn who the bad guys are and stop them if possible. Nonmisogynist readers are going to like Gwen and her cohort, Dan. She is seriously hot, smart, tough—and deadly when necessary. Dan is all of those but is perhaps the lesser of two equals. Never once does Gwen go limp and cry, “Save me, Dan!” In fact, to Dan “she look[s] like a warrior princess” as she bench-presses weights. Oh, and she's a first-class surfer, which is amply demonstrated in exciting fashion. Sexual tension builds between the two without ever drifting into the tawdry. They are both good and likable characters whom readers will happily root for. The plot is solid, never straining credulity. The tale’s only negative is the verbosity—one may wonder if, like Dickens, Davies is being paid by the word. The moisture content in one of the atmospheric rivers is equal to that of 14 Mississippis, she writes. OK, that’s impressive. We get it, so don’t tell us a half dozen times or more. And get a wheelbarrow to cart away a few loads of adverbs.
All in all, though, an exciting and enjoyable book. Read it, and be glad it’s only fiction.