Volcano Watch follows Cassie Oldfield as she returns to her home town of Mammoth Lakes which is situated on a giant Caldera. After years of the volcano being dormant, the rumblings begin - the volcano has awakened. To add to the town’s panic the mayor has disappeared, leaving only a cryptic note saying No Way Out. Cassie is sure that the note relates to the plans for an eruption, and decides to find out what the mayor meant before it is too late.
Volcano Watch has a nice cosy feel to it; the author creates characters that, in the most part, are well developed and memorable. The sense of small town America that Dwiggins weaves was easy to identify with, even for a big-city raised Brit. This focus on the characters and their back-story inevitably comes with a slower plot line at the start, while the scene is set and characters are introduced – there is still tension, but muted. Later on the pace picks up and you are pulled along in the fear and panic of the characters as the towns worst fears are realised. The only character that didn’t grab me was Krom – who felt a bit too stereotypical and cardboard for my liking. As with Badwater, there is the use of unusual spellings to convey accents such as “o-kigh” which was jarring for me as a reader, but is part of Dwiggins’ writing style. rt of a book like this, and where real world examples were used, these were true and precise. The only time believably wavered for me was in the actions of Krom, the emergency planner, who seemed to have his own agenda.
Overall, a almost-unique science-thriller, which will especially appeal to those with a interest in volcanology or disaster novels. It is available from Amazon UK for 77p and from Amazon US for 99c.