Hazard: Book summary and reviews of Hazard by Gardiner Harris

Hazard

by Gardiner Harris

Hazard by Gardiner Harris X
Hazard by Gardiner Harris
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2010
    320 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

When a block of coal the size of a stove shoots out of the wall, miner Amos Blevins barely has time to react before the entire area is flooded with water. He frantically tries to rescue his crewmates, but in an underground space that is pitch black and too cramped to even stand up, he can barely crawl to safety himself. Inspector Will Murphy is sent to investigate, ordered by his superiors to clear things up quickly so the mine can reopen. After all, if the mine closes, then miners lose their jobs, and so do mine inspectors.

It seems to be a straight forward accident, but Will senses something suspicious about this case—or maybe he's just lashing out at his older brother, who has usurped his place as heir to the largest mining company in Eastern Kentucky and owner of the flooded mine—but Will has decided he won't let this one go, whatever it might cost him.

Before he can get far, Will's witnesses start turning up dead. And Amos, who refuses to follow his boss's orders to lie to Will about conditions in the mine, finds the little he has threatened. Together, these two men will learn that in the mines, life, family, money, and power all come from one thing—coal.

Drawing on his four years of reporting on the coal mines of Kentucky, Harris has painted a vivid portrait of rural Appalachia, beautifully capturing the place and culture of the mining community while weaving a complex and taut story of murder and corruption.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Pitch-perfect dialogue and an authentic view of the nuts and bolts of mining help make this an engrossing mystery thriller." - Publishers Weekly

"The quiet authority of Harris' prose and his singular knowledge of an esoteric subject make this a suspenseful and informative debut, despite some predictable plot elements." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. His intriguing debut will appeal to mystery fans who want to learn about the reality behind the headlines." - Library Journal

"[A] vivid, claustrophobic portrait of life and death in a community built around coal mining." - Booklist

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More Information

Gardiner Hazard is currently the New York Times public health reporter and a former bureau chief for the Louisville, KY, Courier-Journal, where his reporting led to reforms in coal-mine safety laws.

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