Friday, April 22, 2016

Put down the smartphone, turn off the TV, and read a book: Earth Day reads

So today, 22 April, along with being my mother's birthday, is Earth Day, marking the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement back in 1970.

Kickstarted as a national day in the United States by a Senator dismayed by a massive oil spill the year before, (and looking to harness the passion and energy for the student anti-war movement towards environmental concerns), Earth Day is now an annual celebration of this glorious planet we get to live on. A reminder that in among all the stresses, distractions, and busy-ness of everyday life, we should do our best to not just use but also look after the natural world.

Janet Rudolph of Mystery Fanfare has today shared a list of crime novels with environmental themes, for readers keen to explore some of these issues via the pages of an exciting story. Adding a little New Zealand flavour, here are three locally written eco-thrillers you might want to try.

MILKSHAKE by Matt Hammond (2011)
The globally renowned New Zealand dairy industry is put under threat when it intersects with the fuel industry in this eyebrow-raising thriller from Nelson author Matt Hammond. Here's the blurb:

"On the day David Turner is supposed to emigrate to New Zealand, he witnesses a savage murder and becomes caught in a ruthless global conspiracy.

A thirty year-old technological discovery threatens his own future and jeopardises the lives of millions of others as David discovers that starting a new life is about to become a deadly game of cat and mouse... and cows.

Modifying milk so ethanol can be processed from it could be the solution to the impending global oil crisis, but drinking it will kill you. Can the truth be uncovered before an entire country is sacrificed to satisfy the world's demand for bio-fuel?"

You can read my full review of MILKSHAKE here, and buy the novel here.

ECHOES IN THE BLUE by C George Muller (2006)
An eco-thriller from a New Zealand wildlife biologist that won a Silver Medal at the Nautilus Book Awards. Here's the blurb: "Ignoring a 20-year moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan sends its whaling fleet deep into the Antarctic to kill whales under the guise of ‘scientific research’.

Thrust into this volatile situation is an unlikely hero accompanying a whale research expedition. On the High Seas he must confront a terrifying adversary - a ruthless fishing industrialist who would wipe out entire species to satisfy an insatiable lust for money and power. From the windswept Southern Ocean to the opulence of corporate Japan, the battle has many fronts.

Mirroring a real-life tragedy looming in our own lifetime, this is a haunting exploration of mankind’s continual conflict with nature, and the heroism of those who would risk everything to defend a future threatened forever."

Based on the real-life battle that went on in the Southern Ocean between Japanese whalers and environmental activists (Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, etc), and written before the Whale Wars television series, ECHOES IN THE BLUE provides readers with a page-turning tale that also illuminates what has been going on in our oceans. You can buy it here.

THE ALO RELEASE by Geoffrey Robert (2015)
Nine days before the global release of a genetically modified seed coating set to make starvation history, the IT advisor for an environmental group receives a cryptic email from an old friend working for the seed corporation.

The email triggers a frantic manhunt from the glass towers of Los Angeles to the towering rainforests of New Zealand as the corporation’s security chief tries to track down and silence the English IT advisor and his colleagues – an American biologist and New Zealand eco-warrior. As the clock ticks down to the much-anticipated and highly stage-managed release of the coated seeds, the trio are pitched against ruthless corporate thugs, law enforcement agencies, politicians, journalists and bloggers … and the overwhelming weight of world opinion.

Aided by an unlikely cast including a gun-toting geriatric, reclusive hacker, toothless lobster fisherman, Oxford-educated Maori elder, native hardwood poacher and extreme multisporter, the fugitive trio race the clock to unravel the truth behind the email. In this debut novel, author, journalist and former communications advisor Geoffrey Robert delivers a pulsating thriller exposing the potential for public opinion to be manipulated during an international crisis. You can buy it here.

Happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment