"The Leviathan Effect" (Soho), by James Lilliefors
James Lilliefors ponders weather manipulation and its potential use as a weapon in his new thriller, "The Leviathan Effect."
Homeland Security Secretary Catherine Blaine receives a frightening email from a person named Janus warning her that three recent "natural disasters" -- a tsunami, a hurricane and an earthquake -- were manufactured. The email says that unless Blaine agrees to a series of demands, the next catastrophic event will hit the United States -- and devastate the country.
As she works with the president and his Cabinet to neutralize the threat, a storm begins to brew off the East Coast.
Lilliefors sells the idea of weather manipulation as a realistic concept, but the rest of the novel suffers from a lack of interesting characters. If you don't care what happens to the people involved, why worry about whether they're going to be able to avert disaster? A subplot involving the murder of several scientists feels like an afterthought. And the ambiguous ending doesn't help much either.