top of page

Review - Tsunami by Gordon Gumpertz

Who likes catastrophe books? I'm a sucker for them, if I'm honest. I have been since I was first able to read "grown up" books. Condominium by John D. MacDonald was one of the first I read, followed by Richard Martin Stern's The Tower (on which The Towering Inferno movie was based.) I loved that film too. Jaws was another. There are too many to mention.

I took a chance with this one as I liked the blurb. First published in 2008, I came across it a couple of weeks back on Kindle Unlimited. Summer is good reading time for me, and I hadn't read a juicy disaster book for a while.

Well, the novel didn't disappoint. All the corny tropes were there. And I mean ALL of them. This is cornier than a mega-bucket of Salty N Sweet. A young, brilliant scientist with a theory no one will listen to apart from a handsome, rugged Coast Guard and his FBI agent pal, on the hunt for evil gun runners. A jealous scientific establishment run by clowns. Nefarious corporations wanting to block news of potential danger to protect their financial interests. Ordinary people being heroic (and some not so.) A race against some nasty criminals intent on flooding the US with new and deadly weapons. And of course, the Wave, or series of waves, waiting to wreak havoc on the Californian coast. All that is missing is a cute animal who survives against all the odds. (Spoiler) There is a parrot, but it dies so don't get attached to it.

At this point some people will be rolling their eyes and saying, "I'll pass," but that would be a mistake. The author knows their stuff about tsunamis but doesn't beat the reader around the head with knowledge. The characters are likeable, energetic and have good chemistry. There's even a nod to the indigenous people of Hawaii for knowing their shit when everyone else is running around like headless chickens.

I can forgive the silly bit at the end, telling what happens to the survivors, because this was F-U-N. Yes, there's a serious message but basically this is a great adventure in the time-honoured tradition of catastrophe fiction, a chewy, satisfying page-turner.


Deep in the mid-Pacific, an ancient undersea volcano comes to life. Leading scientists predict the volcano will subside and go dormant, but seismologist Dr. Leilani Sanches is alarmed. Her advanced computer model shows the volcano will build to a monster explosion and trigger a tsunami massive enough to wipe out the Southern California coast.

Her theory is fiercely opposed by a jealous scientific establishment and powerful special interests who think a tsunami scare will hurt business. Her efforts to warn the public are blocked.

Coast Guard Commander Dave Steel believes she is right and becomes her ally in a race against time. Leilani and Dave meet the violence of nature and the violence of their enemies head on, and put their lives on the line in a frantic struggle to move five million people away from the coast before disaster strikes.

bottom of page