Categorized | Features

Ice Fire, by David Lyons 2012

Ice fire refers to methane hydrate, which occurs naturally on the ocean floor and which bursts into flame when exposed to air. That’s the simple description of something that is fairly complex and which can be Googled if one so desires.
If one does not want to Google it, one can read Lyons’ book, much of which is given over to the research being done into how to use methane hydrate as the world’s next major energy source . . . and do it safely.
“Safely” is a key word here. The plot revolves around a man named Bob Palmetto, who did some important basic research into methane hydrate only to have an evil corporation swoop in and attempt to gain access to the research using bribery, threats and murder as its favourite tools of persuasion.
Palmetto goes into hiding. Then, one day, a black Cajun named Jock Boucher from New Orleans becomes a judge and another judge is murdered and the situation that ensues results in Boucher and Palmetto joining forces to battle the evil corporation.
A lot of devious stuff occurs, along with hair-raising adventure, near death for some and real death for others, some rather tepid romance and a final victory for the good guys.
This Lyons’ first novel and he has the basic moves down. Not as much polish as an experienced writer but not bad for a first time out. There might be a little too much scientific explanation for the reader who is looking for a fast-paced thriller. And the detailed descriptions of New Orleans architecture could be lost without anybody mourning their loss.
As a hero, Boucher has potential. He’s a judge, which has to count for something. He’s really tough and works out enough that he can defend himself in exemplary fashion. Beats up on bad guys and climbs out of a snake pit in a manner reminiscent of Houdini.
Lyons has the second Jock Boucher novel out and this could turn into a long-running series.