Book Review: Toxic Waters

We have another review come in from Chris Connors! He has been very busy but he put some time aside to read a book that he has been meaning to for a while and then review it for us. This one was called Toxic Waters by David Ferguson.

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Synopsis:
In the tradition of Clive Cussler, comes a new novel of suspense and adventure set on the big water of the Great Lakes. Erin Franklin will do what it takes to take down Mid-Con, a waste management company that has been playing fast and loose with the law. An environmental crusader, known in the industry as the Iron Maiden, Erin doesn’t know what she is getting herself into this time when she is discovered hiding on Mid-Con’s property. Judge Franklin has his own bone to pick with Mid-Con. They are up on new charges and back in his courtroom again. Willard Reiger, the owner of Mid-Con, has had enough of little miss eco-crusader sniffing around his business, not to mention the latest trumped-up charges of illegal dumping. Having built his company from nothing, he is not about to let anyone take it away from him. He will do what it takes to keep it.

Conservation Officer Rick Webb still doesn’t understand why Judge Franklin dismissed the case against Mid-Con. The evidence was ironclad; it was a slam-dunk. Frustrated by the setback, Webb is looking forward to a vacation on Water Baby, a classic sailing yawl and his pride and joy. His first mate is Heywood the cat; otherwise, he is on his own. But his vacation is cut short unexpectedly when he is unwittingly drawn into a fight for his life — and for the purity of the pristine water of Lake Huron. When he realizes that the fates of two innocent people are at stake, he uses all his know-how and his guts to set things right. Non-stop action, tight pacing and believable characters make this an excellent read for anyone wanting to escape into a nautical adventure sprinkled with romance. Because of its setting and authentic descriptions, this story really delivers for sailing and boating enthusiasts and lovers of nature.

Erin Franklin will do what it takes to take down Mid-Con, a waste management company that has been playing fast and loose with the law. An environmental crusader, known in the industry as the Iron Maiden, Erin doesn’t know what she is getting herself into this time when she is discovered hiding on Mid-Con’s property. Judge Franklin has his own bone to pick with Mid-Con. They are up on new charges and back in his courtroom again. Willard Reiger, the owner of Mid-Con, has had enough of little miss eco-crusader sniffing around his business, not to mention the latest trumped-up charges of illegal dumping. Having built his company from nothing, he is not about to let anyone take it away
from him. He will do what it takes to keep it.

David Ferguson, the author, is a retired conservation officer who has written a few books. This, I believe, is one of his first ones. I bought this book because I’m happy to lend some support to a former conservation officer (having worked with a few in the past), and I admire people who continue to take on new challenges (writing a book) especially in retirement. The story is set in places that I know fairly well, the overall premise is one I’ve come across in real life (illegal dumping of toxic waste), and it has
some authentic sailing descriptions (I used to sail) with a good portion of the action taking place on—or involving—a sailing vessel.

So I really wanted to like this book, and I did, but the story and the characters didn’t grip me. I found the romance contrived, the woman stereotypical, the foreshadowing heavy-handed, the characters lacking depth, and the villain and his henchmen almost cartoonishly written. The plot device that set the whole thing in motion seemed implausible given the bad guy is a successful executive of a large company. He
would know that kidnapping and extortion (of a judge) would not end well given the number of potential witnesses and the numerous ways things could go wrong, things that were so far out of his control that he wouldn’t even know if they occurred or not.

You’re not going to gamble your life, freedom, and company with that many unknown and uncontrolled variables, especially when you’ve gotten to where you are by being in control and careful. I was reluctant to write this review so for over a month I haven’t. Then last night I read a book by a published author. The book itself receives glowing reviews, testimonies, and blurbs for several pages in the front; I didn’t like that book. The characters seemed shallow, the people stereotypes, the tragedy contrived, and the unraveling of the main character cartoonishly bad. And I thought David Ferguson writes nearly as well as this author who has a few published books and a professional editorial and publishing team behind him. Ferguson should be proud he’s writing at the level he is and has done so without an editorial team.

His book does have some gripping scenes where you have to keep reading because you want to find out what happens next. The sailing scenes were written well enough that in my imagination I could feel the boat moving and hear the creaks of ropes and wood. His descriptions of the surroundings also painted themselves in my head. I think the only weak areas come from Ferguson’s dialogue or internal monologues. Those are the parts
that feel as if they’re written by an earnest teen. Dialogue is often a weakness with many beginning authors, and in some cases with established authors who now write best sellers with minimal dialogue. They move the plot forward through narrative descriptions with some terse commentary rather than whole scenes of dialogue that highlight their weakness in this area. Ferguson may have improved his dialogue writing in later books, or he may have switched to the style with which he feels comfortable and in which he does well (narrative descriptions). His first book is by no means a “bad” book. It has received some five-star reviews so there are people who enjoy his work.

My lack of enthusiasm for the book could just be due to my personal preferences (there are prolific best-selling authors whose work I also don’t enjoy for the same reasons I didn’t enjoy this book).

I give this book 3/5 stars with the caveat that this is more of subjective rating than normal; other readers, especially ones who like the style of Koontz and Lustbader, may enjoy this book immensely.

Book Rating: 3/5

You can buy this book on Amazon and find it on Goodreads.

Disclaimer: This book was read by Chris and he chose to read it because he wanted to. 


There is a new book on the block that I am promoting. This one is called Justice Gone by Nick Lombardi. Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans. You can get it here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/1785358766/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

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4 Comments

  1. A shame it wasn’t more refined, perhaps he’ll surprise everyone with his next book! It sounds a bit interesting but given your reaction, I think I’ll play it safe and give it a pass, I’ve had enough 3 star books this month lol, great review!

    Reply

    1. Fair enough! I am still looking for that 5 star book this month. Currently reading 2 so hopefully one of them comes through 😛

      Reply

      1. If you want 5-stars, read The Afters. 🙂 I’m still thinking about that book. It’s made a good impression.

        And yes, you do need to watch Shaun of the Dead. Then watch Hot Fuzz—there’s an obscure Easter Egg reference back to Shaun of the Dead that’ll make you laugh if you catch it…and if you watch the movies back to back you’ll probably catch it.

      2. Well, maybe I should. Just have to find some time in my schedule 😛

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