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DEADLY COVE by Brendan DuBois: Book Review

Twenty-five years after the disaster at the nuclear power plant in Chernobyl in what was then the Soviet Union, anti-nuclear protesters haven’t forgotten it. Now the scene of the struggle is New Hampshire, with power plant executives and unions on one side and the students and conservationists on the other.

Lewis Cole is a former Department of Defense operative currently living the quiet life in rural New Hampshire. Due to the sensitive nature of his past career, the DoD has been paying him a salary, with his cover being a reporter for a monthly magazine.  But now that magazine has changed editors, and the new editor is a hard-nosed woman who wants more stories from Lewis, ones with more bite.  Reluctantly Lewis agrees to continue working on the magazine, and as luck would have it his first assignment under this editor, Denise Pinchett-Volk, is the protest at the Falconer nuclear plant.

Lewis meets up with a friend, Paula Quinn, at the protest; she is a reporter and assistant editor for the local paper.  Lewis is content to hang back and see what happens, but Paula wants to be at the front of the crowd to get some photos of the anti-nuke leader, Bronson Toles.  He’s a charismatic leader of the protesters and also the owner of a local nightclub.

Paula pushes her way up to the stage and starts snapping photos, with Lewis staying as close to her as possible because he’s feeling some very bad vibes from the audience.  In the midst of Bronson’s speech, two radical young men mount the stage with cries of “Bronson’s too weak,” and Paula jumps up on the stage to get “a great photo.”  A moment later a shot rings out–Bronson falls to the stage floor with his head shattered, and Paula falls next to him.

At this point in his life Lewis is surrounded by women.  Paula, taken to the hospital for treatment of shock, was his former lover and is now a close friend.   Haleigh Miller is a University of New Hampshire student who’s attending the protest but is appalled by the violence she sees.  Diane Woods, a member of the town’s police department, is another close friend; she’s having problems with the woman she loves.  Lewis is seriously involved with Annie Wynn, a staff member of a U.S. senator who is running for president.  And of course there’s Denise Pinchett-Volk,  the editor from hell.

Deadly Cove is the seventh book in the Lewis Cole series. Brendan DuBois is an excellent writer with a knack for making his characters so realistic that you are sure you must have met them in person before reading about them in his books.  They have real problems and emotions, and the solutions aren’t cut and dried.  Even the protest between the two sides isn’t black and white, but gray.  The power plant officials believe they’re running a needed and clean operation; the union men and women want and need the jobs that the new power plant will create; the students and conservationists believe that every nuclear plant has a built-in potential for catastrophe.  There’s right and wrong on every side of the argument, and DuBois doesn’t patronize his readers with facile answers.

You can read more about Brendan DuBois at his web site.

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