Dull characters somewhat enlivened by a jaunty, cryogenic disaster scenario. The disaster: the S.S. Prometheus, the world's biggest liquid natural gas carrier, is suddenly holed by a utility pole some boys have thrown into the bay around Staten Island: the pole rips open a fantastically huge tank, one of five, holding zillions of pounds of liquid methane gas, normally the most benign gas in popular use--but not when it's stored at 260Ã˜ below zero. A deadly white cloud spreads over the sea, moving toward Coney Island on the hottest day of the year--millions are at the beach, and it's now approaching rush hour. Should Mayor LaSalle warn the population that a cloud that kills almost on contact is about to destroy Brooklyn, especially if the cloud catches fire and goes up in a firestorm? He does put out the warning. One heroic subway conductor races his train from Manhattan to Coney to pick up as many folks as the train will hold, then heads back for the city but is forced to stop and finds his tunnel overrun by rats fleeing danger. Out at sea some fireships try dispersing the cloud with firehoses but give up after two ships are lost in the subpolar cloud. And aboard another ship the female Deputy Secretary of Energy (a cryogenics expert) plots with the first mate of the Prometheus about a way to tow the ship out to sea and away from the escaped cloud and the possibility of a quintuple fireball. . . . The cryogenics are the grabber here--sufficiently intriguing to hold readers who aren't put off by first-novelist Moan's amateurish handling of people and places.