by Robert Conroy
Cover Artist: Kurt Miller
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Baen Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781476780870
Date: 01 December 2015 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Meteorology is an imperfect science. A little shift here and the effects of a storm can vary a great deal. This is the reason that there are often small percentage chances that something odd will happen. Storm Front is a case of a perfect storm, which shouldn't happen, but does.
Wally Wellman is the weather guy for TVDetroit6. He has years of experience, learning on the job where others have gone to school. He sees something odd in a new set of fronts heading towards the Detroit metro area. But a recent miss-call leaves everyone hesitant to make a call on this new storm. The results are a huge mess.
Mike Stuart is a traffic officer. A snow storm and snarled traffic seem like a big problems, but a couple of travelers will make the whole situation worse. He will need use skills he thought he would no longer need after leaving Detroit for the quiet suburb of Sheridan.
Maddy Kovacs is a fourth grade teacher in Sheridan. She is dating Mike, but is taking things slow due to her trust issues. She is working typical day when the storm hits. The storm creates a teacher's worst nightmare.
The main storyline progresses through the perspective of the above mentioned characters. Additionally, there are a few additional perspectives used to provide additional detail which the main characters would not see clearly. The murder case develops mainly through these other perspectives.
This a different type of novel for Conroy, it veers away from his typical Alternate History to delve into an ecothriller with a murder. It is similar to Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capital series which included Forty Signs of Rain. There is also a similarity to Harry Turtledove’s Supervolcano series. In both series, an ecological disaster drives the action. This stand-alone novel has a similar pattern.
Living in the DC area I am very familiar with the eclectic mix of weather. A little shift here or there and the forecasted storm passes just to the North or South. The other side comes as well when a storm predicted to arrive at 11 pm comes a couple hours early and traffic stops and you sit for hours in traffic. It isn't unusual for meteorologists to be gun shy after they predict a big storm which misses. The story seems reasonable and readers who have lived through lake effect snows, can commiserate with the characters in the story.
This is an entertaining story. It completes the cycle in a couple of hundred pages. In an era of the multi-volume super series, I appreciated this one-and-done. Conroy continued to improve throughout his career. This change of style worked as well. I mourn his loss to the genre. There may be more stories out there to be published, I will enjoy them as they come. If this is the last novel published, it isn't a bad way to cap a career.