Fast Ice

Putnam. (NUMA Files, Bk. 18). Mar. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9780593327869. $29. THRILLER
Kurt Austin and his team battle a ruthless billionaire who made a terrifying scientific discovery in the latest “NUMA Files” title (after Journey of the Pharaohs). Antarctic research has uncovered an algae that will initiate a global ice age if allowed to run rampant in normal ocean waters. A former NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency) scientist disappears along with the vessel she was on, so Kurt and his assistant, Joe Zavala, head to the South Pole to find her. Simultaneously, allies travel to a research center to investigate the samples that initiated the expedition. Everywhere they go they find resistance and violence. The villain’s plot is daunting, and NUMA has no chance of success—in other words, a typical day for Kurt Austin.
VERDICT The pace never slows, and the villains are extra nasty in this entry that delivers what readers expect when they see Cussler’s name on the cover. Cussler, who died in 2020, and frequent cowriter Brown convey marine biology’s complexities in a way that makes it believable and understandable. Grab a comfy chair and plan to read all night.
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