by Rick Mofina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Rick Mofina’s Whirlwind (Harlequin Mira 2016) looks to be the start of a great new reporter-solves-mystery series starring Kate Page, a struggling single mom on an internship with a major news organization. A string of bad luck has forced her to leave her young daughter with family friends while she spends three weeks in Texas, competing against two other interns for a job on a prominent news organization. What starts out as a human interest story about the devastation a vicious tornado causes to families turns into a search for a mother’s lost infant amidst the havoc of a city torn apart by one of the most vicious storms they’ve seen in decades. Kate struggles to balance the humanity of the circumstances against the newspaper’s push for the drama that sells papers as she follows this story through unexpected connections that span the globe.
Though Kate Page is the main character if this story, the plot is as much about the struggles and bad decisions of Mason and Remy, the ex-con and his hopeful girlfriend who are thrown together by shattered dreams and a last-chance hope that they can have their slice of the American dream, if only this one last plan works out. Their creed–Whatever life takes from you, you take back–well-describes the series of missteps that lead them down an increasingly treacherous path with no way to stop the freight train of horrendous events just steps behind them.
The plot is well-constructed, complex and fast-moving. All of the characters are multi-dimensional with that human side that makes readers happy to get to know them–even the evil ones.
As suggested by the title, this story revolves around the extreme weather, a metaphor for the choices faced by each of the story’s starring characters. My only complaint about Whirlwind is at times, Mofina became repetitive. I suppose it was to be sure I didn’t miss important points, but I ended up skimming through small chunks to get to the new material. Not too often, though, and it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the story.
More on nature-oriented thriller/mysteries:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.