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Freezing Point
by Karen Dionne

the Berkley Publishing Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc..
New York, NY

ISBN: ISBN # 978-0-515-14536-6

The condition and availability of clean water on our planet is a serious problem. A very real problem that Karen Dionne brings to our attention in her debut novel, Freezing Point.

In Freezing Point, Dionne's Ben Maki has a solution to the water problem: use advanced technology to capture and melt icebergs and transport the water to thirsty cities around the globe. It's a laudable idea, and a money-maker, too. But, as we all know, money-making and lofty notions are seldom compatible.

At Soldyne Corporation Ben's boss is Don Gillette, a money-hungry executive who can't even contemplate a point of view not his own. He wants to convince Soldyne's board that he knows a better way than Ben's.

With the iceberg is Zo Zelinski, an Antarctic researcher whose eagerness to help solve the world's water problems places her at the nexus of critical events.

Behind the scenes travels Rebecca Sweet, leader of P.O.P., a group dedicated to -- as their acronym implies -- preserving our planet. While their group is less radical than some, it is deadly serious about its objectives.

The novel centers on what can happen when egos and perspectives collide, not only with each other, but with unanticipated forces of nature. Sabotage, betrayal, and Nature herself feature in Dionne's plot, culminating in a stormy, twisting, action-laden ending.

Dionne's story is very visual, very action-oriented. She focuses on singular character traits; those traits on which we base our lives. Short peeks into the pasts of the leading characters establish these traits and beliefs. Their actions flow from there.

When I first started reading Freezing Point, I stumbled over the way it jumped around. However, it was no more jumpy than a film cutting from scene to scene. Once I picked up the rhythm, it was fine. The pace accelerates, drawing events closer and closer together, and then changes dramatically at the end. After the torrent of action, the resolution feels sudden and a little simplistic. About like shooting a long set of rapids and being dumped into a tranquil lagoon. On the other hand, it is a fitting ending, and there is something refreshing and real about its sudden stop.

Dionne uses Freezing Point to help us focus on a potential threat to our planet, then helps us retain our awareness through a memorable, entertaining tale. It is a terrific read that, if you simply have to put it down, draws you back to it like a piece of chocolate cake.

I have only one question for Dionne, and here I feel like Sean Connery in Indiana Jones: Why did there have to be rats? I hate rats!