Friday, June 8, 2012

Book Review - Fallout

 Book Review - with thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the advanced copy.

Fallout by Ariel Tachna.

Set against the backdrop of a damaged nuclear reactor, Derek Marshall - a tough, out and proud, sometimes obnoxious robotics engineer is forced to work alongside the uptight and reserved Sambit Patel in order to get the critical, and potentially catastrophic, situation under control. What emerges is a classic tale of opposites attract - out of an initial mistrust and outward dislike of each other, the two men find that in actual fact they have more in common than they think. Tachna also adds a cultural dimension to the mix - Patel, born in India, must also deal with the constraints and expectations of his culture. This aspect, I felt, was done very well. The author doesn't overdo the Indian cultural references- giving just enough to add another layer to the story without it every feeling 'preachy'. It is obviously a subject she knows well and it was perhaps one of the aspects of the story I most enjoyed.
While the nuclear situation provides a tense and at times claustrophobic atmosphere to the story, the real story is the two men and their slow falling from distrust into love. Derek is a tequila drinking motorbike riding loner with a foul mouth - but he stole my heart when he rescues an abandoned dog in the first chapter. As we get to know him and his motivations, we see he isn't as tough as he makes out and he puts his heart on the line for Sambit. Sam too, undergoes his own transformation - from someone wounded by the past to someone who gives up his fear and takes a risk.
The characterizations are the strength of the story, but Tachna does a good job of presenting a post-hurricane environment (I loved her descriptions of the heat) and the urgency of the situation at the plant (without it getting too scientific for the average reader).

Fallout is a solid 3.5 stars read. There is perhaps nothing unexpected here, but for a satisfying light romance novella, look no further.

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