■ REVIEW: Unearthed
Kiwi angle helps lift tone of novel

This is a New Zealand environmental thriller with a message or two. Set in the Waikato, Sam Miro is a young, highly regarded researcher working on environment monitoring. When some of his study farms start to show odd results, further investigation uncovers sinister forces at work.

Someone has deliberately created an environmental disaster in order to embarrass and bring down the government. This callous scheme, however, begins to spin out of proportion as the initial contamination expands and dramatically worsens. It seems that only Sam may be in a position to save the situation.

This is the author’s first novel and he has written about something he knows, being a scientist himself. At times it felt a little like a straight-to-video movie script with crooked politicians, hot young scientists and a race to save the day. However, the New Zealand voice and setting did lift the novel and it highlights nicely the potential knife edge that New Zealand’s environmental well being balances on.

Unearthed, by Steve Hodgkinson (Orb Publishing, RRP $33)

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