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Badwater (The Forensic Geology Series) [Kindle Edition]

Toni Dwiggins
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Volcano Watch (Book 2) just 99 cents!
Quicksilver (Prequel) free!

* BADWATER: Golden Bot Award ( Best Whodunit *

Forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws embark on a perilous hunt--tracking a terrorist who has stolen radioactive material that is hotter than the desert in August. He threatens to release it in America's most fragile national park, Death Valley.

But first he must stop the geologists who are closing in.

As the hunt turns dangerous, Cassie and Walter will need grit along with their field skills to survive this case. For they are up against more than pure human malice. The unstable atom--in the hands of an unstable man--is governed by Murphy's Law. Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

And it does.

Editorial Reviews


"Fans of Nevada Barr will love this suspenseful literary mystery."
~ Lisa Brackmann, Amazon Top 10 Mystery and Thriller author

"The best closing act of any book I have read in years."
~'s GeekDad, Golden Bot Award Best Indie Whodunit

"The mystery kept me guessing, the suspense made me sweat, and the pace was as blistering as the heat in Death Valley."
~ Good Book Alert

"A fast paced thriller with the terrifying theme of radiation exposure as a weapon. CSI type fans will appreciate the science...even those of us less well versed in the technical side will feel the fear and horror as events unfold."
~ Bookstack Reviews

“A very fine job of characterizing the disconnect between measures intended to assure safety and the reality of things sometimes being unsafe. Truly well-written and engaging."
~ David Lochbaum, head of the Nuclear Safety Project, Union of Concerned Scientists

From the Back Cover

Science Thriller  ~  Forensic Mystery  ~  Environmental Fiction

"Her series on the geological sleuth is spellbinding"
    ~ Amazon reviewer

Product Details

  • File Size: 887 KB
  • Print Length: 316 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1463579284
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005466WQ6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,431 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Radioactive Thriller December 9, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed BADWATER by Toni Dwiggins, an independently published thriller that compares well with traditionally published paperbacks available at any bookstore.

Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws are forensic geologists--a new term to me, but I know about it now thanks to the book--who are called in to assist in the investigation of missing radioactive waste in Death Valley. The setting is well described, the technology well researched, and the bad guys engineer diabolical plot twists. The action continues right up to the end.

My only gripe worth mentioning has to do with the narrative perspective. The book is written in a mix of first and third person that I personally find to be distracting. I don't know if this is a recent trend in fiction--this is the second book I've recently read that does this--but I find it jarring at each change. It may well be a personal preference, but I can't help but penalize a star for it.

BADWATER gets three stars from me, others who don't mind the narrative perspective would likely rate it higher.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling... July 5, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Dwiggins' intro into the world of forensic geologists Cassie Oldfield and Walter Shaws offers a chilling view inside the messy business of hazardous waste disposal; in this case, highly-toxic radioactive waste that has fallen into the wrong hands--for a devastating purpose.

Set in the harsh, gorgeous, and dangerously barren landscape of California's Death Valley, Dwiggins pushes her characters to their limits. They are in constant danger, from sheer exposure to the elements of their setting to exposure to the radioactive waste they are hunting.

There are a number of surprising twists and turns involving the villains, and their multi-layered development makes it difficult to determine who they are, and their true motives, until the very end. The most frightening aspect in the story is the radioactive material itself; Dwiggins does an excellent job of creating this "character" without bogging the reader down with too many scientific facts or confusing jargon. It simply comes alive in her prose and takes on a life of its own, which raises the stakes even more for those who are trying to find it, and those who want to control it.

In the end, it is the radioactive waste that emerges as the true villain, showing how humans--bad guys or not--are at the mercy of nature itself.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Badwater receives a rating of 3 stars from this reviewer. However, I could recommend this book to readers who are selectively looking for a mild thriller with a basis in the desert SW (specifically Death Valley).

The story is set in Death Valley and follows a pair of forensic geologists who are using their expertise in helping the FBI track down a terrorist (U.S. grown) who has stolen nuclear waste.

A reader interested in desert geology and nuclear waste storage as part of a thriller could easily give Badwater 4 stars. My rating of 3 stars indicates that it is a "good book", with quality writing and research, and worth the time to read -- for the right reader. I personally found the background information concerning nuclear waste more interesting than the geological part of this story. This might be more of a result of living in a state of 10,000 lakes with very limited knowledge of the desert.

If you like a thriller with a forensic science base, then Badwater might be a perfect match for you.

Anthony Wessel (for the Kindle Book Review) and owner of
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Badwater is Geology at its Best December 4, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm not big on crime investigation stories, but I do have a degree in geology, so I couldn't resist this book. The story brings us a pair of forensic geologists who use soil samples and rock types to solve crimes. In this case, they are on the trail of stolen radioactive waste, through Death Valley, California, one of the most amazing places on the planet.

This is simply one of the best books I've ever read. The characters are strong, realistic, and sympathetic. The lead character is Cassie, and yes, I'm delighted she's a woman. Lots of geologists are women, but geology somehow still has a macho, guy-thing reputation. This story has Cassie tramping through the heat and hills of Death Valley and enduring radiation exposure, while protecting Walter, her older boss and mentor, who is strong, but has a heart problem. Cassie carries the action with a believable blend of ethics, intelligence, and humor.

Geology and radioactivity are explained in seamless narrative or dialogue, never once detracting from the action. This is not a simple thing to pull off, but author Toni Dwiggins makes it look easy. The book is not long, but she layers plot twists and "who-dun-it" mystique throughout, taking the reader on a high-stakes guessing game scattered with scientists, truck drivers, mine owners, and government managers.

Highly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deeply fascinating, impeccable thriller-- September 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A first note for readers who are intrigued but not persuaded by the sample: this story progresses, or 'stacks' to a flawless and shocking resolution, but takes its time to do so. Do not be deceived by the meditative tone of the first pages. This is a thriller, and you will be thrilled. The relationship between place, professional culture, and character distinctly reminds of Tony Hillerman. Cassie is to her mentor Walter, perhaps, as Jim Chee is to the older, wiser, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn.
Consider forensic geology as a lever the author uses to pry into motivations, both superficial and deep, forensic geology as a lens to examine friend and foe in almost any working environment, forensic geology a descriptive science to establish absolute authenticity of place, and time. Brilliant. Done in subtle and lovely language:"'s the heart of Death Valley, a mammoth basin, faulted and dropped below sea level, bordered by knife ridged mountains which spill their guts, here and there, in coquettish fans..."
You are in that place and nowhere else.
You will find no cardboard characters here.
A proper villain, introduced early, keeps his hair in a long black braid, "because women liked to braid it"--and men notice it, consequently ignoring his ruthless attention to detail. So...a braid to seduce, is also a braid to screw...other people. Really neat.
As charming and provocative a character as you will ever find, Hap, relates a story in which he may, or may not, have killed a fellow co-worker in a holding tank for spent nuclear fuel rods, will still love him.
The kind of character, let's call them "function characters" in most books, who answer phones, give orders, etc.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars very good novel
I like this book was really interesting and was a good mystery, I learned alot about waste disposal or the lack of
Published 2 days ago by kathy higgins
2.0 out of 5 stars Badwater (The Forensic Geology Series)
It is an interesting story and does integrate geological terms and ideas into the story and plot. I have been personally involved in radioisotope cleanup and as a process... Read more
Published 18 days ago by R. S. Kunter
5.0 out of 5 stars Badwater (The Forensic Geology Series) - Toni Dwiggins
Skin crawling tension and thoroughly developed characters. With 2014 event(s)? at the WIPP nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico, the crisis level situation at Hanford... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ChancesR
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Novel!
Unlike so many of the so-called "free Kindle mysteries," this novel by Toni Dwiggins is well written, has an excellent plot, has well developed characters, and provided many hours... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Alex Howard
4.0 out of 5 stars great
I have read three of these novels by Toni Dwiggins and I hope there are going to be many more. Great details about the work that is done in the book and also making sure the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Marilyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I love a good novel. This one was a good one. It kept my interest and I liked the message.
Published 3 months ago by Nick Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary potential
Enjoyed the plot, hope it never happens. Wish I had the time to go back to school, forensic geology is fascinating to me.
Published 3 months ago by Anne Marie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I really enjoyed this book. The series is fascinating - the information about the geology of the areas in which the books take place makes these books worth reading.
Published 3 months ago by Diana Forman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
I didn't even care about geology before reading Toni Dwiggins' amazing forensic geology series. Now I'm doing my own online research. Read more
Published 4 months ago by jill cook
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read.
I really enjoyed this book although it was somewhat predictable who the villain was. Loved the science and geology themes.
Published 5 months ago by Joan K Ryan
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More About the Author

I'm a third-generation Californian who migrated from southern Cal to northern Cal. What I like most about my state is that one can go from the ocean to the mountains in one day, with a lunch stop in the desert. I like it so much I've set my forensic geology books in those settings.

I'm author of a US History textbook, and have contributed to texts in the sciences. I've done tech-writing for the Silicon Valley computer industry, and that experience hatched an idea that became my first novel, about an attempt to sabotage the nation's telephone system.

I went in a different direction with the Forensic Geology Series, taking mystery into outdoor adventure and thriller territory.

~ Science Thriller ~ Forensic Mystery ~ Environmental Fiction ~

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