The Tsunami Countdown by Boyd Morrison

Publisher: Sphere
Pages: 512
Year: 2012
Buy: Paperback, Kindle
Source: Bought copy

From the moment that I opened The Tsunami Countdown I was gripped. Two almost sleepless nights of reading ensued. A Super Tsunami pulses in monstrous waves, each more gigantic than the one before, belting across the Pacific Ocean to the islands of Hawaii. As each wave withdraws back to the ocean, the population that survives is left in an increasing catastrophic state, racing against nature to be saved in the short time that the waves have left them dry before they smash back onto the land.

Great stuff! If you like disaster novels – and I must admit that I have read very few of them – then The Tsunami Countdown has everything that you want – characters with just enough back history to make you care about them without being bored by their petty squabbles and a setting that is both exotic and familiar. On top of that, the disaster lives up to the book’s promise, and there is doubt over who will or will not survive. No one is safe. Boyd Morrison has had fun writing this novel and he is determined that you will enjoy it too.

Our hero is Kai Tanaka, the acting director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Honolulu, who knows better than anyone what is on store. But even more important to Kai than his responsibility to warn the population is his drive to keep safe his teenage daughter Lani and his wife, Rachel, a manager of a local hotel with responsibilities of her own. But quite apart from this family at the heart of the book, the novel is awash with characters, all full of life, who are fighting to stay that way.

As a result, wherever the pages fly, to which ever character we are rushed, the action never dulls and our involvement never wanes. I have had issues with Boyd Morrison’s writing before. I’ve been disappointed with his mystery thrillers to the extent that I haven’t even finished them. But with The Tsunami Countdown – originally published in the US as Rogue Wave – Morrison has delivered a thoroughly enjoyable read. There is no pretence; it delivers all that I want from a disaster novel and more. My only regret is that now I’ve read it I can’t enjoy reading it for the first time again.

I’m not sure it makes me want to go to Hawaii though.


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