Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Shadow Zone by Iris and Roy Johansen

I liked this book.  It is an adventure book rather than the romance type books by Iris Johansen.  I have only read one of her books before this. If  you like Clive Cussler or Preston and Childs, you will like this book.

While mapping the ancient (now underwater) city of Marinth in the Mediterranean Sea, submersible designer Hannah Bryson discovers the shocking cause of the civilization's doom from a submerged fresco in the city center--the surrounding waters for hundreds of miles were afflicted with what we now call an Oxygen Minimum Zone or a "Shadow Zone", a condition in which oxygen has been leached from the waters, devastating plant and marine life. For an island dependent on such life for their survival, this caused a famine that many did not survive. In Marinth's case, it was caused by a rare algae. Hannah recovers samples of this algae and hands them off to a sister research vessel to take back to land for further analysis, but the samples never reach the lab. The truck en route to the vessel is brutally attacked. Not coincidentally, Kirov finally appears after disappearing for many months and Hannah suspects that the intrigue surrounding her discovery is what brought him back. Soon it becomes clear that someone has nefarious plans to build a master weapon out of this algae and in their desperate race to stop him, Hannah finds herself catapulted into an adventure in which she finds herself even doubting the intentions of her fiercest protector, Kirov.


Marinth Underwater 
Archaeological Site 
Atlantic Ocean 
Copernicus Research Vessel 
7:10 a.m.

"HEY, I DIDN'T SEE YOU IN the galley for breakfast, Hannah," Josh Carnaby said as he strolled down the deck toward her. "You okay?"

"Fine." Hannah Bryson made a face as she gestured to the satellite phone in her hand. "I'm just trying to get through to my sister-in-law before we go down in the minisub. I want to talk to my nephew, and the time difference between here and Boston usually screws everything up." Her lips tightened determinedly. "But I will get through, dammit."

"An emergency?"

She shook her head. "It's my nephew Ronnie's twelfth birthday." Her expression became shadowed. "It's the first one since my brother's death. I want to touch base with him. It's going to be tough on Ronnie. It's going to be tough on all of them."

Josh nodded soberly. "It's only been a couple months since Conner died. The wound has to be still raw." He was silent a moment. "Damn, I miss him. The entire crew misses him. Every time I see you, I expect Conner to be right beside you."

As he'd been beside her all through the years, she thought. They'd not only been brother and sister, they'd worked together on hundreds of undersea projects, traveled the world together, and been best friends. She missed his sweetness, his humor, his gentle way of opening her eyes to the good things around her when all she could see was darkness. Dear God, how she missed him. "Yeah, I know." She swallowed hard and quickly gazed out at the sun-dappled sea. Get control. She mustn't be all teary when she talked to Ronnie. "Conner would have loved this job. He was always telling me that I spent too much time involved with machines and not enough enjoying the wonders the machines could uncover." She smiled with an effort. "Here I don't have a choice. The wonders are all around me whenever I go down to that lost city that all the historians are trying to link with Atlantis."

"That city would be damn hard to uncover if you hadn't been so brilliant and designed those minisubs." He was silent a moment. "I just want you to know that I appreciate you letting me go down with you and having a part in this show. It's the chance of a lifetime, and you've always been the best boss a guy could have. I'll never be as good as Conner, and I know it probably hurts you to work with anyone else. But it's been an experience I'll never forget."
"Bullshit," she said unevenly. "If you weren't terrific at your job, I wouldn't have chosen you. We make a good team." She drew a deep breath. "Now get out of here and let me make my telephone call. We're supposed to dive in thirty minutes, and I won't go down until I've talked to Ronnie."

He grinned. "I'm on my way." He moved down the deck. "I'll even keep Ebersole away from you. He was asking for you at breakfast."

Hannah groaned. "Then I'm glad I skipped it. For the last three days, he's been cornering me and squeezing every bit of progress information out of me."

"Imagine that. But since he's chief operating officer of AquaCorp, and AquaCorp is funding our little expedition, you can understand how he'd have a slight interest in the operation."

"Moneymen," Hannah said. "The bane of my life." She made a shooing motion. "Go. Keep him off my back until I finish my call, and I'll be eternally grateful."

"Consider it done."

She smiled as she watched him stroll away from her. Yes, Josh would find a way to give her these few moments' respite. He'd been a member of her team for years, but she'd learned new respect and affection for him since she'd lost Conner.

She dialed Cathy's number again. It rang six times, but Cathy finally picked up.

"Hi, I've been trying to get through to you. Everything okay?"

"Sure, we're about to cut the cake. Ronnie's been on the phone with my mom." Cathy chuckled. "And Donna had to have her turn. She doesn't totally understand the concept of special treatment on birthdays."

"She's only five."

"And Ronnie doesn't mind. He's a very protective big brother with her." She was silent a moment. "Particularly since Conner died. He thinks I need help with her."

"He's a great kid."

"You bet he is. The best."

"How are you doing, Cathy?"

"I'm surviving. Some days are better than others. This one is not so great." She changed the subject. "We saw you on the Discovery Channel this week. Donna was very excited."

"And Ronnie?"

"Thoughtful. I was worried that he might be thinking about Conner. I tried to talk to him, but he closed me out," she said. "We're okay, Hannah. Stop worrying about us."

"You're my family. It goes with the territory."

"We worry about you too. We're not the one who's careening around in the depths of the ocean in that weird contraption." She paused. "You named that exploration minisub you use after Conner. It came as a shock when that announcer started talking about Conner One."

"Conner would have liked this sub. I can hear him laughing because it's so crazy-looking."

"Yeah, he always teased you about your mechanical ‘creatures,'” she said. "It's kind of . . . comforting to have his name on one. Thank you for doing it, Hannah."

"I'm selfish. I did it for me."

Pages: 372

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