Em Hansen a forensic geologist has moved to Salt Lake City just prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A 5.2 earthquake occurs which mostly only shakes up the Mormon community. Later that morning the State Geologist is murdered at her home after being cut off during an interview in front of the Olympic Stadium. Em is doing some training with an FBI agent, who is trying to recruit her into the FBI. Em and her cop, Mormon head of his mother's family, widower and engaged to be engaged to EM, are having some difficulties resolving their different approches to family and religion. A scientific reporter is researching information on most of Salt Lake City being built on an earthquake fault without the proper safeguards and also the murder of the state's head geologist. Soon she is murdered also. Em is also trying find who killed the state geologist and then the reporter. A subplot is that her friend who dates the FBI agent finds herself in an unwanted pregnancy. Philosophical questions and discussion on many levels including personal, business and environmental. Geology terms well explained so that they improve the plot devlopment which centers on the present, past and future earthquakes.
St. Martin's, Jan 2001, 23.95, 304 pp.
Everyone expects earthquakes to hit the California coastline, but no one was ready for the 5.2 quake to hit Salt Lake City just weeks before the Olympic Games commence. The Utah State geologist Dr. Sidney Smeeth provides an interview that warns of damage to key structures, but the local TV stations without explanation cut off her talk.
Not long afterward, Sidney is found dead apparently a victim of a fall from the patio of her home. Though a local police matter, FBI agent Tom Latimer wants to insure that the death was not murder to cover up a geological problem that could endanger the upcoming visitors. He asks his friend Em Hansen, perhaps the only current unemployed geologist in the Salt Lake area, to evaluate and give an opinion on several Smeeth reports. However, he does not want this amateur to get involved in the actual investigation. Still Em cannot help but find the political FAULT LINES that shake the core of the city and state leaving her at the epicenter of the inquiry. The latest Em Hansen geological mystery is the best tale to date of a marvelous series that provides the audience with strong sleuthing and interesting geological information intertwined into the story line. The plot engages the audience as Em gets involved in another mystery. The support cast provides a local flavor that enhances the lead protagonist. FAULT LINE is an amateur sleuth tale worth reading while Sarah Andrews' previous novels are worth digging up at the used bookstores.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner