Sirk TV Book Review: HURRICANE FEVER [Tor]
The essence within lawlessness in the Caribbean dates back to pirate times but when dealing with bu,siness across the plain of sea. Despite that precursor, it all comes down to who you know. In “Hurricane Fever” (Tobias S. Bucknel/Tor/272pgs), the dastardly element of a possible bio-terrorist atack spread from a small atoll hoverng between Hispanola and its other islands provides a basis for the tension. The antagonist of this story is Roo, a former spy agent who now just happens to captain a boat (more specifically a catamaran) delivering supplies back and forth across various islands. He cares for his nephew who through extreme circumstances has become his ward after the death of his brother. Meanwhile in Miami, a former colleague of Roo injects himself a serum with a disease into his blood stream because of an unknown reason. This, of course, is fatal and he sends a message to Roo that places everything in motion. The bad guys in question want to have control of the virus and they think Roo knows what is going on. Hence the chase begins. What is the catalyst for another tale of fatalism is that a young woman claiming to be related to the dead man from Miami shows up saying that she wants revenge and believes that Roo has the information that she needs. She indirectly leads the bad guys to Roo’s doorstep. With his training he is able to out maneuver them but his nephew is not so lucky. He dies in the crossfire. This undoes Roo and he becomes a man bent on destruction, Trying to be part James Bond, part mercenary, he makes his way for an atoll where he knows his adversary is waiting. There is some engaging strategy including the secret attack on a fundraiser where the entire city on the island is vaulted on stilts. The girl is revealed to be closer to her target than she’s let on and a battle of loyalty ensues where Roo is given belated authority to carry out a mission under his old auspice. Eventually through battered bruises, gunshots and beyond he exacts his revenge and avenges his nephew. The motivations are not distinctly original and unlike the earlier “Tropical Squall” which also has a boat failing in the possible eye of a hurricane (since it provides dramatic tension), the pulp intentions of the novel don’t overwhelm as much as they should. The thrill at times is there but not with a sense of urgency to make the novel a must read.