Title: Freezing Point
Author: Karen Dionne
Publisher: Jove Books 
The world’s supply of fresh water is decreasing right at the point need for the commodity is increasing exponentially so it seems only natural that some corporation headed by someone evil will try to melt any icebergs created at the planet’s poles and sell the resulting water to the highest bidder. Equally naturally are environmentalists who are opposed to this idea and will take violent actions to make their point. Throw in an unknown virus, a new breed of animal and a few severe storms and you have the basic building blocks of Freezing Point.
The elements of a story I would like are present here: a remote location, environmental activists, sinister corporations, vaguely plausible science, and, at least potentially, a strong female character. However it’s not enough for a book to tick all the boxes, it still has to have an engaging story that links all the elements together and engrosses you so heavily that you forget you’ve read a load of books in the genre. This one didn’t achieve that for me. The story, such as it was, was entirely predictable from the outset, contained a load of half-finished threads that were plain annoying and had science and environmental messages so clunkily inserted into the narrative that the thing consistently felt more like a text book or a lefty diatribe than the thriller it was purported to be. I abhor being preached at in my fiction.
Also, while thrillers are allowed (even supposed) to have a series of unlikely events occurring simultaneously to create the perfect storm (literal or metaphorical) I need some realism in the mix. So many people in this story took such unrealistic actions that I rarely got past the ‘that just wouldn’t happen even in fiction-land’ mindset.
The book had a lot of characters introduced in quick succession and many were never heard from again so keeping track of who they all were and where they fit into the big picture required more effort than it should have done. None of them were fleshed out well enough to be truly engaging. Zo, the female character I should have liked, viewed every comment or action taken by male characters as misogynistic which grew tiresome. The other people were all a bit too black or white (all good or all evil) for me to really buy them and I’ve no clue why Rebecca (the avenging environmentalist) was even in the book as she really took no active part in the plot. Again, as with the story, there were lots of unexplained character developments dumped in the mix for no apparent reason such as several people despising each other with passion but without explanation (except in one instance).
There are a few interesting action-based passages here but, overall, the interesting concept that must have been the idea behind this book was lost in the delivery. The cover of my copy pronounces Dionne to be the next Michael Crichton but the very big difference between the two is that Crichton entertains first and allows his mastery of the storytelling art to relay any messages almost subliminally whereas Dionne, at least in this book which is her first, seems to assume readers will put up with second-rate storytelling if the messages are worthy enough. I’m harder to please than that.
My rating 2/5