Novel: Hurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell’s whip-fast near-future thriller Hurricane Fever (2014) continues the series that began with Arctic Rising, and it’s another topical, bracingly entertaining read. This one features Prudence “Roo” Jones, a retired agent for a joint intelligence agency in the Caribbean. Roo’s peaceful retirement is spoiled by a phone call from a dead former friend in the service, which lures him reluctantly back into the spy game. He winds up in possession of a drive full of stolen weather data, and soon becomes a person of interest on the agendas of several people, including his friend’s grieving sister Kit. He doesn’t know what the data means, but he quickly learns that someone is willing to kill for it, and it leads him back into a life he left behind to uncover an international conspiracy.

It’s a very short, fast read that adeptly fuses classic spy thriller tropes with just-around-the-corner speculation, a winning combination deftly executed. Roo is an engaging and accessible protagonist, and the world-building is convincing and interesting stuff, from the spy-tech gadgets to the details of climate change and heavy weather. From time to time the plot feels a little rushed to me, and the overarching premise behind the hugger-mugger is a bit over-the-top, a mad scheme right out of Monologuing Bond Villain territory. But with its accessible characters, vivid Caribbean setting, and non-stop action, I couldn’t find much to complain about. Hopefully there will be more in this series.

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