Midwest Book Review


Readers might not expect a geologist family to become involved in detective work, much less international intrigue; but Blue Fire isn’t the first to depart from the usual PI roots of its protagonist: it is Book 2 in a series in which geologist Alex Graham uses her rocky position to uncover clues to a dangerous international situation.

This said, thriller and detective readers should consider Blue Fire a fine stand-alone piece that needs little prior introduction to prove accessible to newcomers; while prior fans will relish a new adventure that again tests Alex’s abilities on international turf.

How do events move from the discovery of a secret tanzanite mining operation to international terrorism? Because the earnings from that mother lode are being funneled to terrorist groups in an untraceable way. Brian Graham and his geologist daughter split their teams into two countries to expose the truth in missions that move from Brazil to Tanzania, involving Tanzanian miner Mosi Ongeti in an experience that surpasses any mining expertise he’s honed in the past.

Terrorists don’t usually take kindly to their secrets seeing the light of day and so, perhaps predictably, Alex finds herself on the bad side of an arms dealer determined to stop her at all costs.

How can a rock expert nearly single-handedly thwart the savvy and wide influence of an international terrorist group? With the help of a few good friends, of course.

Any good geologist knows that surface appearances are only one layer of a complicated history that lies beneath appearances. One attractive aspect of Blue Fire lies in Katherine Prairie’s attention to detail as she peels away various strata of deception, special interests, and secret connections and activities to keep readers on their toes and engaged.

As Alex candidly assesses her geologist abilities and her place in both the world of international intrigue and the science of geology, she embarks on another venture far from her usual comfort zone.

Tension is exquisitely drawn, the particulars of tanzanite and its mining and value are educational and true to real life, and readers receive a fine, realistic story that probes both dangerous mines and deadly times.

The result is a thriller that holds various strata of suspense and intrigue as Alex and Mosi race against time to stop the funding of a smuggling operation. Events swirl around mine break-ins, murders and threats, an arms dealer’s involvement with the ubiquitous Tabitha Metals, and a missing father who leaves his daughter alone in struggles which are many, as she’s been followed from Brazil to Tanzania.

Another thing to note about Blue Fire is that, like its predecessor, the story spreads like ripples in a pond. A singular investigation in South America turns complex as Alex faces kidnappers; murder, and assassins; missing friends and family; threats to safe places; and trapped miners and explosions. At the end of her resources and lacking support systems, can Alex nearly single-handedly resolve a complicated international situation?

Thriller and mystery readers will find this, like Prairie’s prior Thirst, more than a cut above the usual thriller read both in depth and quality. Like its predecessor, Blue Fire is absolutely compelling and so nicely drawn in characterization, detail, and plot that it could have been streamed directly from real life and people.