Saturday, December 8, 2012

Dead Dry by Sarah Andrews - A Review

This is a review of a book written by writer; Sarah Andrews; "Dead Dry"; a mystery featuring forensic geologist, Em Hansen.

As I stated in my previous review of "Killer Dust" by Sarah Andrews, our protagonist Em Hansen is a Forensic Geologist, detective, pilot, and woman after my own heart. 

I love the Earth, Sky, Sea, Space, and Ocean, so having found mystery writer Sarah Andrews, is a gift.

Although "Dead Dry" has a genre listing of mystery and fiction, the story is well written. It is obvious that this is a work of love, and contains the caliber of work, citations, and credits found within a scientific research paper.

Many of you know the saying, "truth is stranger than fiction". If you live to an age where you can observe, and comprehend, the fact that fiction is easier to take and swallow will be proven to a curious mind, many times. "Dead Dry" is a work that tells a real story about the condition of depleted water supplies on our Earth.

Sadly, such occurrences such as the degradation of our only habitat are facts that most people do not want to know. Climate Change, Global Warming, Ocean Acidification, the death of coral reefs, and the loss of water are now a part of our 'modern history'.

The rapid loss of jungles, rain, icebergs, snow, species, cool air, and water are bringing mankind to the brink of a new Geologic Age. 2012 is here, and we have less than a month to go.

During my half century journey through this life, I have witnessed a beautiful, and 'perfect' eco-system turned nearly to dust, salt and ash. 50 years geologically is less than a wink of time. This is not good for any earth inhabitant, it is not good for our solar system, it is terrible for our universe as a whole.

Can we afford to turn our minds off, while turning the lighted box on that destroys our ability to think and see the truth?

Personally, I think we have gone too far, we have passed the tipping point. I think that in order to  save us, we must bring mankind back to sanity when it comes to the way we treat Earth. Our loss of species, and lessening resources are frightening to those who study Earth and Weather Science. It would seem there is no use in caring, no motivation to turn it around, but ever hopeful, I think that it does not hurt to try.

Em Hansen, has matured in the years since "A Fall in Denver", and her evolution is doing a world of good.

"Dead Dry" is another one of Sarah Andrews' books that serve the truth of environmental alarm into bite size pieces, making it possible for even a young reader to digest the story and meaning. Well water corruption in a mystery format is good work, and Ms. Andrews is an amazing writer.

The book, "Dead Dry" begins in Utah, where Em Hansen is working for the Utah Geological Survey. She is called by the Salt Lake City Police to assist law enforcement at a crime scene. The crime scene is at a rock quarry, and since her previous work relating to crime and geology has made her an expert, she is asked to assist.

One of the men who work at the quarry notice a rock fall that has a body part sticking out of it. Em is needed to consult on why the rock fall happened, if the quarry pit is stable enough for body retrieval, and her ideas on how a body ended behind the locked fences of the rock quarry pit.

Once the body is recovered, Em Hansen discovers (via a tattoo on the body's buttocks) at the coroners retrieval that she knows the victim, and the victim is a well known geologist; an Afton McWain.

Em Hansen knew Afton McWain from when she worked in the oilfields in Colorado ("A Fall In Denver" by Sarah Andrews). As the story proceeds, Em travels to Colorado to do the family notification, as she was friends with Afton's wife Julia.

In Colorado, events occur, and clues uncover the reason Afton McWain was killed. It comes down to the battle between greed, and environmental sustainability. Mainly well water depletion.

Due to the over crowding of the larger cities, more people are craving wide open spaces. Many people have more money, and are desiring to have a ranch setting, with all of the bells and whistles of city life. Swimming pools, toilets, washing machines, Jacuzzis, hot tubs, sprinkler systems and so on. The general population is unaware of what a drain on the Earth's water supplies this over use of water is.

Even cities who have waste water systems, and municipal water do not create that water. It is not a commodity that is created. There is a recycling of evaporated water, and water that was frozen eons ago, that are in aquifers. When the water cycle is polluted, the earth is over heated, and the water supply is finite.

In Dead Dry, there is the other faction. Those who own, or are commissioned to sell ranchettes, or ranches to those fleeing the cities. Like any salesman, they will tell a hungry buyer what they want to hear. "All you have to do is drill a well, and you will have all of the water you need." This is the reason why in this mystery, Alton McWain ends up smashed in a rock quarry. He was an expert, and important player in a group who joined with new ranchette owners to prosecute the land brokers that committed fraud in selling land that does not have the water capacity to sustain any ranchette.

Geologist MsWain was helping newcomers who found after spending $10,000.00 to drill a well, tthat he water only lasted long enough for the ink to dry on the Title and / or Mortgages. New home owners found themselves in a real pickle: their choices; 
  • the new owners could either try to sell their dry lands with a disclosure of no well water
  • learn how to live a permaculture lifestyle, and use the little rain water they got, sparingly and frugally.
"Dead Dry" is an important message for today. Each time you take a shower, or flush the commode, or wash 5 loads of clothes, consider that new water cannot be manufactured. This eco-system we were given, came with a container of water.

Sadly, the greed and corruption of corporations and businesses try to pave over the facts of resource availability, and what consequences we face as a globe full of people, with only 1% clean water available.

A good resource for "seeding water" is Brad Lancaster's "Rainwater Harvesting: for Drylands and Beyond I II & III", and his organization's Blog "Drops in a Bucket"

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