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DOOM WIND by Max Gunther



Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Contemporary

A breezy disaster novel about an ill wind that blows nobody any good--from the veteran reporter who last year published D.B. Cooper: What Really Happened, a quietly convincing non-fiction account that cleared up the mystery over the fate of America's most famous hijacker. Here, sometime in the near future, an enormous comet comes hurtling through the far reaches of deep space on an apparent collision course with earth--only to break off at the last moment. But the near-catastrophe has changed weather conditions all over the globe, and certain doomsday scientists are prophesying that a wind of unheard-of power will arise as the comet's tail whips away from earth, a Big Wind that will have the power to blow down cities. In New York, cynical reporter Nick Pacifico, star feature-writer for Seven Days magazine, thinks this is, well, all a lot of hot air and thus is disgusted when patrician publisher Arthur Beaulieu assigns him to write a cover story. To make matters worse, Nick has to put up with cub reporter Kim Beaulieu, Arthur's beautiful young daughter, a recovered alcoholic whom Arthur has forced upon him as research assistant. Predictably enough, the two of them hit it off and gruff camaraderie turns to romance; in the meantime, they interview enough scientists to know that the Wind is indeed coming--and that no building in New York can withstand its predicted 400-mph gusts. Their blaring exposÉ article irritates certain powerful and corrupt real-estate figures, who try to kidnap Nick's daughter and disfigure Kim with acid; but the Grand Finale comes with a definite bang as the Wind bowls over Manhattan and we're treated to standard vignettes of people trapped in high-rises, cowardly, quivering politicians, and shallow socialites who redeem themselves through acts of great moral courage. In the end, Nick and Kim emerge from the rubble hand in hand to soldier on. Fast-moving and reasonably satisfying.