Book Review – The Burning Wire

Joanna Schroeder

Ecoterror has made it into mainstream fiction. OK, so its been there for a while but it made it into the latest book by one of my favorite authors, Jeffrey Deaver. (I know it’s a shocker, but I actually read for fun too). His latest book, the Burning Wire, focuses around an ecoterrorist who uses electricity from an East Coast utility company called Algonquin to kill people because he believes he is dying from leukemia caused from the electricity he works around each day.

Weaved throughout the book is the message of renewable energy. One of the sub-characters in the book, who is tasked with helping the crime scene investigators, is the genius from Algonquin who is tasked with working on renewable energy projects for the company. Ironically, the company’s CEO, Andi Jessen, is against renewable energy so while you read, you are unwittingly exposed the pros and cons of renewable energy or continuing down the path of the status quo.

In one scene of the book Jessen says, “Sure, the renewables will be growing but very, very slowly. For the next hundred years, they’ll be a drop in the bucket of juice, if I can quote myself.” The president was growing even angrier. “The start-up costs are obscene, the gadgets to create the juice are ridiculously expensive and unreliable, and since the generators’re usually located away from major load centers, transportation is another huge cost. Take solar farms. The wave of the future right? Do you know they’re one of the biggest users of water in the power business? And where are they located? Where there’s the most sun and therefore the least water.”

I have to give some kudos to Deaver and commend him on his research into the power grid. From what I’ve learned over the past year and how the smart grid is changing the game and how renewables are also changing the game, it seemed like Deaver really created some eerily real scenarios for murder by electricity. I just hope that people don’t take his “insights” into energy as “truths” and continue to explore the pros and cons of renewable energy outside of fiction.

He also has some amazingly in-depth characters. From his hero – the quadriplegic Lincoln Rhyme whom some may remember from The Bone Collector – to his partner in the sense of both professional and personal Amanda Sachs, and all the supporting characters, he has created both a winning book as well as a winning series.

So if you’re looking for a last minute gift for the energy enthusiast, book loving friend or family member, definitely add this one to your gift list.

book reviews, Electricity, Solar