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Killer Dust: A Mystery Featuring Forensic Geologist Em Hansen Hardcover – February 10, 2003

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

For Em Hansen's eighth outing, Andrews takes on national security in a complicated plot about airborne anthrax and the possible devastation it could wreak on the planet. Em's knowledge of Earth's minutiae propels her from her Wyoming home to the humid wetlands of Florida, where her new lover, FBI agent Jack Sampler (introduced in 2002's Fault Line), has disappeared. As always, Andrews surrounds Em with a cast of unusual supporting characters; yet Hansen is still her gem-unpolished, naive and, worst of all for a Florida trip, hydrophobic. Ably combining science and suspense, Andrews once again entertains and educates, making the driest dust theory intriguing and portraying Florida's landscape in a new geophysical light.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Compulsively readable." - Houston Chronicle

"Em Hansen's seventh well-paced outing...Em Hansen is rapidly carving out a niche for herself as a forensic geologist...and may eventually maker her field as popular as that of forensic anthropology or medicine."--Publishers Weekly

"The resourceful and intelligent Hansen makes a terrific series heroine...what has made the series shine has been the amount of 'hard science' that Andrews, a professional geologist herself, was able to work into the stories."--Booklist

"An entertaining story...[Andrews] has a winning detective in Em Hansen."--Dallas Morning News

"A fine series."--Library Journal
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (February 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312301960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312301965
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Imperial Topaz on June 5, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the previous Em Hanson book as my introduction to Andrews' forensic geology novels. I loved it so much that I was disappointed when it ended. I was so happy to find Em's story continued in this new novel, Killer Dust. I also ordered her previous novels, which I haven't yet read, just on the strength of the one novel I read. Andrews is an excellent writer.
Certain things about this novel were fantastic and exciting, while other things were disappointing and confusing. What I loved most about this novel was the science. I had never heard about the dust blowing across the Atlantic, from Africa, forming the basis of the soil in all the Caribbean Islands, turning sunsets redder from Venezuela to Miami, and even transporting live locusts from Africa, as well as dangerous pathogens which kill Caribbean coral and dust which gives severe asthma to Caribbean Islanders-especially the dramatic increases in the dust since 1970. Em Hansen's character reads some books, mentioned by name, that gave me a good starting point to research all this on the internet. I easily found confirmation of everything she mentioned in the book. It's all really fascinating and based on excellent science. Furthermore, I found it of particular interest since I live in Africa--in Morocco, where all this dust originates--while I also have family in Florida. Most of the book takes place in Florida, and I learned many things about that state I did not know, in spite of having visited there.
What I did not like about this particular book was that it left too many loose ends, and I wound up feeling confused about some of the things that had happened. I felt like there was something wrong with me, that I had to go back and reread a number of parts, trying to make sense of what was happening.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Claudia Hanson on July 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The reader from Lawrence, Kansas, should have been Sarah Andrew' editor both in Fault Line and Killer Dust. (Both plot lines are weak, and the collaboration of a more skillful editor would have been very helpful.)
However, I enjoyed both books very much because I love the solid science and geology that enjoyably informs a nonscientist like myself, Ms Andrews' brilliant descriptions of the physical world, and her uncanny ability to remind me that thoughtful, caring, and intelligent human beings are forced to make difficult, sometimes dangerous, moral choices in a chaotic and ever changing world.
In Killer Dust I was delighted by the fact that Ms Andrews' dared to be political! I found myself cheering when she took some well-deserved shots at the foolish and self-serving ways of America's leaders, both scientific and political.
Finely, Em is Em-tough, impetuous, emotional, foolish, intelligent, loving, loyal, crazy, stubborn, insightful, tenacious, ethical, exasperating, and real. I'll keep reading Ms Andrews' books as long as Em Hansen leads the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Polymath on February 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, this is not the best book in the series, but if you're a fan it's worth reading since so much important stuff happens to her friends and the next books will build on those happenings.

My problems with this volume--too much coarse language out of too many characters mouths, none of the other books had this problem. Did the editor request this for 'grittiness'?. It doesn't work. I'm a geologist and I've been known to cuss out drillers and others in my time, but when I curl up with a delicious Sarah Andrews book I find bad language offensive. And there was a bit too much CIA type skullduggery and personal angst, too little scientific cleverness. The gamesmanship in the academic and gov't community was interesting though.

Read it, enjoy the flavor of her adventures in the Seminole country, and press on to Earth Colors or any of the other books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary H. Lesser on May 10, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I was glad to read that other people were disappointed in this book for the same reasons I'd list. Just to show how convoluted this book was, I thought the guy collecting the dust samples turned out to have jumped instead of being pushed! The other reviewers are right...too much going on, and not as good as the other books in the series. And honestly, while Ms. Andrews has my sympathy for going through what must have been a horrific experience, that level of self-disclosure is not what I expected when I chose this book. I just wanted an interesting mystery story with some intriguing science.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 25, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the first few books in this series-an intriguing heroine,interesting locales and characters, lots of instructive geology and good plot development. In the last volume(Fault Lines), things seem to begin to go wrong with Em as she began to take on the characteristics of the irrational victim. In this most recent mystery, things fall comletely apart! The scientific "dust" portion of the plot simply vanishes near the end, all of the concluding action takes place off stage so we have virtually no idea what happened, almost all of the characters behave without an ounce of sense and Em seems to dissolve into incomprehensibility. A clue to what has happened to this talented writers efforts here may be contained in an afterward in which she discusses the fact that she herself was once stalked with apparently devastating consequences. Ms. Andrew, these have been wonderful books. Surely it's time for Em to grow away from abusive men and develop her forensic geologic profession into a real career with all the literary possibilities this should offer. I WILL read the next book but it will be the last if this sort of nonsense continues.
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