3 out of 4 stars
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WaterForce by Jack Bell Stewart is an environment-focussed crime thriller. Environmental terrorists dump the nerve agent responsible for botulism into the Pepacton Reservoir. The 140-billion litre Pepacton is the largest freshwater reservoir in the Catskill mountains, servicing New York City. The system delivers a total of 1.1 billion litres per day to 9 million people in New York. Herb Rose, who works for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), discovers the white powder splashed across a boulder and floating in the reservoir itself. He and lab technician Mo Punjab identify the bacteria but decide to hold off on alerting authorities until after further testing.
Meanwhile, Herb's sons Titus and Parker take steps toward becoming environmental activists themselves, concerned about the impact of the reservoir system on their home in the mountains. Their great-great-grandfather committed suicide in 1953 while being evicted from his home for the construction of the Pepacton Reservoir. Now, the toxin in the water supply may cause fatalities in New York City...
WaterForce is an entertaining and engrossing environmental thriller. The author has clearly completed thorough research for his book, supplying plenty of facts and figures that add realism to the plot. The book remains story-driven, however, never bogging down in dry technical detail. There is a great dynamic between brothers Titus and Parker Rose, with brotherly humour and competitiveness that rings true from the start. The characters all have their own strong motivations to drive their actions. There is also some excellent character description. For example: "She had her dusty jeans hiked up so they could see the hair on her legs, and her eye makeup looked like a skid mark on Route 28."
A particular highlight for me is a frankly hilarious briefing scene including President Trump, the directors of the CIA and FBI, and the Secretary of Defense. Trump's bumbling tough talk, constant insults, and bluffing are all well-depicted in the scenes in which he features. I couldn't help but laugh at how well Stewart captures Trump's true nature. I also really enjoyed the book's climactic scenes, which are tense and exciting, ending the story on a high note.
The only real negative for me in this book is its minor typographical errors. I should note that I found less than I have in most other books I've reviewed, but there were still more than ten. Also, a few paragraphs were double-indented, and a few others accidentally started mid-sentence. Unfortunately, this limits my rating for WaterForce to 3 out of 4 stars. With these errors fixed, it would definitely be 4 stars, as I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Anyone with an interest in the environment or terrorism would enjoy this book, but those turned off by the occasional violence should steer clear.
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