|David Lyons' excellent debut thriller set in New Orleans speaks to the real world issue of the instability of our foreign oil suppliers and the ecological dangers of offshore drilling. The possible solution - Methane Hydrate - gas trapped in ice under the seabed which has the potential to be the largest source of energy on earth, replacing oil and making offshore drilling a relic of the past.
In 1990, Bob Palmetto discovered a method to double the world's available fuel deposits but Rexcon Energy and their CEO John Perry, with the help of a federal judge, stole his intellectual property. Palmetto is a brilliant geophysicist who invented a mechanism to safely get the methane hydrate to the surface. On the day before a trial is to commence, Palmetto's lawyer, Dexter Jessup, is murdered and Palmetto goes into hiding.
Twenty years later, Palmetto is brought before newly appointed Federal Judge Jock Boucher (Epson in the hospital after a heart attack) on an outstanding contempt charge. When asked why he did not appear in court sooner, Palmetto advises that he would have been killed by Judge Epson, who was the same man who killed his lawyer. Boucher, a widower who drives a Ford 150 and likes crawfish and Zydeko music has a follow-up meeting with Palmetto who tells Boucher that it was Rexcon who stole his plans. This is confirmed by Ruth Kalin who was Jessup's legal associate. Kalin who has also been in hiding for twenty years also confirms that Judge Epson killed Jessup and leaves Jock with the original report from 20 years ago.
Ice Fire recounts the adventures of Cajun Federal Judge Jock Boucher who, with the help of Detective Fitch of the New Orleans Police Department, and Ted Neely an FBI agent who had recruited Boucher in Law School, battle big business to avert an ecological disaster.
The references to the architecture of historic New Orleans, Cajun and classic cuisine and restaurants, and Southern culture greatly enhance the story. Readers will anxiously await the return of Jock Boucher. He will almost assuredly have to step down as a federal judge and go into private practice. Stay tuned