Nice review of Warm Front by Barton Paul Levenson.
Countdown to the publication of Warm Front’s sequel, Heat Wave. The thermostat also rises.
An assassin executes a U.S. presidential candidate.
To witness and eccentric reporter, Sam Emory, it echoes a killing three years earlier that transformed his life.
Voters elect a new, environmentalist president, a colleague of the slain candidate.
But a powerful industrialist stops at nothing, including murder, to control world energy markets.
And this isn’t his first murder.
Emory and the president are the next in line.
In the not-so-distant future, an assassin kills a U.S. presidential candidate seeking to fix a world ravaged by climate change, and Sam Emory uncovers a chain of murders with a megalomaniac industrialist at its core. The newly elected president vows to solve the climate crisis. Can Emory and his friends stop the assassin from striking again?
HEAT WAVE begins in Chena Hot Springs, Alaska, but the political intrigue and murder spread to Washington, D.C., and into the labyrinth of an Aspen, Colorado energy research facility, where free-marketers manufacture chaos in the electrical grid, and where Emory confronts a terrifying a secret from his past.
Mark A. York
76, 000 words
Eccentric AP reporter SAM EMORY arrives at a global warming conference in Alaska, where only feet away an assassin executes a U.S. presidential candidate who was pro-green energy. Emory’s best friend, JACK SHELDON, an Alaskan wildlife biologist, and Jack’s girlfriend, ROBIN LAMPSON, also witness it. Their friend LAWRENCE TISDALE JR., an eco-philanthropist, is present, and later he emerges as the Democratic candidate, filling the void.
JAMES E. BRADLEY, the director of World Tech Institute, an energy research and policy conglomerate, and DR. AMANDA BALLANTINE, an astrophysicist and science director for WTI, fear energy regulation. Bradley is compelled to control world energy markets by any means. When environmentalist Tisdale Jr. wins the election, and his VP choice is Bradley’s college roommate, Bradley sees opportunity and places the president-elect next on the assassin’s list. At Tisdale’s Montana ranch, Secret Service agents find explosives but remove them before they explode.
Emory tracks the killer from the Chena conference to Washington, D.C. Emory becomes an AP White House reporter, and he is obsessed with this murder, sensing its connection to the triggered avalanche in Greenland that almost killed him and Sheldon, and did kill Tisdale Sr. three years earlier. Sheldon and Robin accept positions in Tisdale’s administration.
Robin Lampson’s father, former Alaskan senator RICHARD LAMPSON, who was convicted for conspiracy, is released from federal prison. He had associated closely with WTI in the past. Emory distrusts both him and Robin, which puts a strain on his friendship with Sheldon, especially when Emory hounds him to get information on WTI from the former senator. Sheldon does believe Lampson had prior knowledge of the Greenland murders, and he can barely be civil with him, even though Robin won’t marry Sheldon until they can get along.
A stalled Gulf Stream bakes the U.S., and amidst food and energy shortages; heat-caused power failures; and outbreaks of Dengue Fever, West Nile Virus, and Yellow Fever, Bradley and Ballantine plot to derail Tisdale’s ban on coal. When Emory digs into Bradley’s business affairs, Bradley dispatches rogue assassin, NICK VOLTEK, to stalk Emory. Voltek offers an anonymous tip, luring Emory into a clandestine meeting on Roosevelt Island, and he attacks Emory with a warning and a taser.
Violent lightning causes a fire in the tinderbox of Rock Creek Park, and it spreads out of control. Thousands evacuate D.C., including Sheldon and Robin, who escape to Senator Lampson’s Virginia farm. The two men finally have a real conversation, and Sheldon asks for Robin’s help to get her father to turn state’s evidence against Bradley and WTI.
Emory survives the taser assault only to find the city engulfed in flames. He escapes, and against his editor’s orders, flies to Colorado to collect potentially damning information on Bradley and WTI at their Aspen lab. On the commercial flight to Denver, Emory spots Ballantine, whom he recognizes as the WTI scientist he had confronted during a speech she gave that denounced CO2 as the cause of the climate disruption. He wants to get information on Bradley through her but first, over drinks, they flirt (and more).
The president evacuates the imperiled White House for his Montana ranch. On Bradley’s orders, Voltek follows Tisdale and makes a failed attempt on his life, but as in Alaska, Voltek escapes the Secret Service. In Aspen, after a heated interview at WTI with Bradley, Emory hacks into the wireless network and downloads archived e-mails that incriminate Bradley in the conference and Greenland murders. Emory sends the files to Sheldon and the FBI. Meanwhile, Ballantine orchestrates an e-mail hack of her own on a university climate database, and she posts out-of-context quotes in order to smear consensus climate scientists. She also devises a system, using an untraceable cyber attack, to disable power plants that are undergoing natural gas retrofitting.
Later, Emory and Ballantine hook up at the St. Regis Hotel, but Voltek poisons Emory with puffer fish delivered via room service. Ballantine gets Emory, who is paralyzed and near death, to the hospital, but then Bradley orders Voltek to move Emory to a private clinic in a secluded canyon west of Aspen, where Voltek holds him hostage.
Sheldon takes the files to the FBI and then flies to Aspen to confront Bradley. At Robin’s urging and with Emory’s e-mail evidence, Senator Lampson turns state’s evidence against Bradley with an FBI-monitored call. Voltek kidnaps Sheldon, who escapes on Aspen Mountain with Voltek’s Glock pistol that he lost during the tussle. Later, during an argument about Voltek’s incompetence and letting Sheldon and Emory escape, Voltek kills Bradley by forced overdose. Ballantine witnesses it, and Voltek lock her in a closet.
Sheldon finds the remote clinic and rescues Emory, who is heavily drugged, but Voltek confronts them in the parking lot, where Sheldon kills the assassin with his own Glock. The next day, Emory, Sheldon and the FBI, with warrant in hand, find Bradley’s bloated body at his WTI desk and Ballantine tied up in the closet.
Ballantine gets probation and public service for her role in disseminating bad science with intent to stall climate legislation. A salting effort in the North Atlantic works temporarily, and the heat wave lifts, but the country is badly damaged. After a climate treaty passes, Sheldon and Robin marry in Chena, Alaska the following summer. Emory and Ballantine move in together, and she works on green energy. There is hope that the efforts will start a reduction in CO2 back to a safe level, but there will be more disruptions to come before the climate is stabilized.
JACK SHELDON, a wildlife biologist at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, tries to land his plane in Fairbanks, Alaska amid flooding conditions. He recalls the first Chena Global Warming Conference in nearby Chena Hot Springs three years earlier.
Sheldon meets with his best friend, SAM EMORY, a climate science reporter, before the conference presentations. Scientists predict the possibility of an abrupt “climate flip.” Environmental entrepreneur LAWRENCE TISDALE announces his offer of 500 million dollars to anyone who can develop a viable carbon sequestration technology to stave off catastrophic climate change. Sheldon and Emory become spokesmen in Tisdale’s public service announcements and targets of Tisdale’s arch nemesis, SENATOR RICHARD LAMPSON, who’s connected to World Tech Central, a web of free market think tanks funded by industries against environmental regulation. Internet threats become physical assaults when Sheldon and Emory speak on TV and Emory’s climate stories appear in national syndication.
Sheldon meets Senator Lampson’s daughter, ROBIN LAMPSON, and they eventually fall in love. She’s an attorney in Washington, D.C., and her father’s opposite. Sheldon, a confirmed bachelor, grapples with the memories of a previous relationship while fighting the Senator’s disapproval of him on all levels.
Sheldon testifies in D.C. before Congress about climatic change in the Arctic. He and Robin have a romantic rendezvous, which her furious father interrupts. The next day, Robin’s strange behavior causes Sheldon to question her sincerity. Later, WTC operatives tamper with his plane, causing him to crash on a dwindling ice floe in the Arctic Ocean north of Kaktovik.
Sheldon, Emory, Tisdale and crew tape a public service announcement in Thule, Greenland. A WTC assassin detonates an ice sheet, killing several people including Tisdale.
Soon after that, Robin and Sheldon’s relationship escalates. Senator Lampson is enraged, vowing to stop all of them and to open the Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling. Meanwhile, floods; wildfires; methane escaping from melted permafrost; and strange migrations of plants and animals escalate.
Emory embarks on a perilous journey that takes him from crumbling Shishmaref, Alaska to McMurdo Station, Antarctica to investigate. The Ross Ice Sheet caves while he and a glaciologist are en route to an ice core drilling site. Their Sno-Cat falls deep into a moulin, a melt tube tunnel deep in the glacier. They survive, and Emory returns home, but Senator Lampson pressures Emory’s editor. His story is labeled alarmist, and he’s fired after it runs.
When the FBI collects enough evidence on the subversive activities of World Tech Central operatives, leading to Senator Lampson, they move in and arrest him.
While en route to Fairbanks, Sheldon tries to land his plane amid flooding conditions, and he can’t find Robin and Emory. Major cities across North America, Europe, and Asia are flooded because the jet stream has stalled. Sheldon recalls the first conference at Chena, when he and Emory first met Tisdale and formed an alliance. Sheldon has conquered his fear of commitment, and now he and Robin are engaged, just as the planet’s climate appears to be crumbling into chaos. He finally locates Robin and Emory but wonders what more they can do for planet Earth, and how he and Robin and the rest of the world will survive the current crisis and those to follow.
An assassin executes a U.S. presidential candidate who was pro-green energy.
Eccentric reporter Sam Emory witnesses it and risks his life to expose the killer.
Voters elect a new environmentalist president.
But a powerful industrialist stops at nothing, including murder, to control world energy markets.
And this isn’t the first murder.
Emory and the president are next in line.
The killer is still out there . . .
This site will be my book-related work for the global warming eco-thriller Warm Front.
A scientist warns of an imminent, catastrophic climate change.
An eccentric reporter exposes the truth about man-made global warming.
A billionaire philanthropist has the money to make the solution happen, and the three join forces.
But a powerful Senator and his lobbyist friends stop at nothing to oppose them.
The planet doesn’t wait.