Tuesday, 29 July 2014


This is an amazing book! I started it at bedtime last night, and finished
after my morning workout, on the back deck while the guns blared from the annual, summer-long OPP Recertification in the back 40 (actually 500m into the wetland). It was surreal. Hubby was out delivering Meals on Wheels. I was free to read. I was riveted.

Kurt Kamm writes easily (or so it seems), and writes well. I've read my fair share of mystery novels, as well as historical fictions, and I quite enjoy them. He calls this genre: FACTION, for facts + fiction.

Target audience

It is a well-created, neatly woven story, with strong characters; heroic and dastardly; male and female. It is Kurt Kamm’s 5th novel –the others I shall have to pick up. Often, when hubby finds a male mystery writer, I find it a bit tough, difficult to read, with too much of your macho stuff to pad a weak story. This one is based in lots of historical facts, incorporates environmental issues, with a strong plot, and sub-plot.

It is well-edited, which is not always the case these days. I only spotted one error, p. 134 where the wives would 'try to kiss their mn.'  (My apologies, but they pop out at me – always a Language Arts teacher.)

I think my hydrogeologist-daughter would enjoy this read. My brother, who works in a gold mine and has worked in a uranium mine, would enjoy it. (Yes, he didn't tell any of us that he was a demolitions expert underground –not until my mom's funeral, at least! That's where he lost his baby finger, in the mine!) My husband, who worked with Homeland Security after 9/11 and before retiring, will also find it a good read.

The area had an earthquake
prior to the Sylmar explosion

My only concerns

It would stand alone, however, this reader would have found a couple of things to help her. While it is only about 200 pages, I would have appreciated an acronym list.
My brain was exploding with HasMat, JRIC, LA DIG, LA CLEAR, INCH, ISS, STAS, TLF ATF, ANFO, and the like.

Also, maps, since it is based on American geography, and an existing water tunnel, it would have clarified it for me. Maybe I'm a bit slow, but I like to get a picture in my mind. Perhaps, I was reading too quickly, wanting to finish it!

It was a shocking story, and there is much in the news about the area. Between the lack of water, the earthquakes and terrorism that is in the news... The photos in the back, of the actual Sylmar explosion, were very helpful.

What is interesting is that many of the resources exist, and my curiosity was piqued enough to do some more research.

Tunnel Visions (September 2014, MCM Publishing) 

Newspaper article

Tunnel Visions blends fact and fiction [FACTION], weaving together the historical facts of the Sylmar disaster, the current struggle for control over California's diminishing water supply, and a fictional plot to attack Los Angeles' water system.   When Homeland security mobilizes Los Angeles County, fire captain Nick Carter and his fiancĂ©e, ATF Special Agent Cindi Burns, find themselves working together to stop a terrorist threat.  As the crisis unfolds, California’s contentious history of water wars is laid to bare and Nick confronts a 40-year-old mystery. Tunnel Visions will navigate readers through this fiery mystery/thriller.

There are many resources that verify the facts, but read the book first!

Janette Zavattero, The Sylmar Tunnel Disaster,
New York:Everest House (1978)

The worst tunnel disaster in California history killed 17 miners below Sylmar, spurring the toughest mining and tunnel regulations in the nation and a year-long criminal trial against the contractor, resulting in record fines and civil damages.


Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
I love things that set me off in directions of inquiry - nice write up! YAM xx

William Kendall said...

Good review, Jennifer! I like the sound of it.

Debbie said...

I am not a reader but this was really an awesome review!! You, are clearly, a reader!