Author Ren Knopf, a native to the New England area, has spent her life surrounded by sportfishing, airplanes, powerboats, and the ocean. It’s no surprise then, that her latest endeavor should be a novel about suspense and mystery out in the Bering Sea. And what is especially interesting, is that the mystery takes place within the crab fishing industry in Dutch Harbor, Alaska. “Frozen Tides” has just been released and is published by Arbor Books.
Frozen Tide opens with Sarah Reid, oceanography student, bartender and former crab boat deckhand in Alaska’s Dutch Harbor, stumbling upon a scheme by Odin Energy to secretly exploit an untapped source of energy at the floor of the Bering Sea. When an entire crab boat crew — including Sarah’s brother — goes missing She suspects Odin has released toxic gas and will soon cause a global environmental crisis. She has to take action. She must stop Odin.
A couple of days ago, eMediawire released a description and partial excerpt of “Frozen Tides”…
The story unfolds in Dutch Harbor and the town of Unalaska, a crab fishing and processing center. Sarah is living alone in a one-room loft above the saloon where she tends bar. She is in charge of getting the bar stocked for the returning crews. She expects the bar owner and captain of the Westender — along with her brother, a Westender deckhand — to return any day from the 12- week season. The boat – brimming with crabs – makes it back to port piloted by a stranger who quickly vanishes. Its equipment is in disarray and the crew — plus the million dollars that was supposed to have been deposited in the captain’s bank account as payment for the 250,000-pound catch — have gone missing.
Sarah, who had been tracking Westender’s whereabouts by downloading satellite images to her computer, discovers that an Odin Energy supertanker was in the vicinity of the boat. She delves deeper into the circumstances of the missing crew and money enlisting the help of her online oceanography professor from the University of Hawaii. Every clue points to the Odin research vessel and owner Kell Odin’s plot to monopolize methane supplies from the ocean – despite the risks to human life that can be caused by breaching the ocean floor to extract this explosive fuel.
As toxic methane gas begins to claim lives, including Sarah’s beloved brother, she risks her life to expose Odin Energy’s scheme and get justice for her brother while saving the earth from an environmental crisis.
While TV documentaries cover Alaska’s crab boats in action, Ms. Knopf takes the reader behind the scenes and into the lives and struggles of boat owners, crews and fishery workers in the Port City of Unalaska, during the frenetic winter crab season.
Frozen Tide also offers a glimpse into the arcane deal making of global energy producers and traders and how they promise jobs and cheap fuel to get locals to look the other way. Ms. Knopf makes the science of alternate energy sources such as deep methyl hydrate – which is being looked at by scientists — come alive in the dialogue between Sarah and her professor, Sam Kihomi who insinuates himself into the Odin Energy’s inner circle.
“It’s methane. The crab suffocated to death due to an over-abundance of methane.”
“Uh-huh. You told me methane isn’t toxic.”
“It is when it displaces oxygen. This crab choked to death on a concentrated dose of methane. And since a molting crab can’t crawl into a trap, it happened onboard, above the water.”
“And that’s not normal, is it?”
“…at a concentration powerful enough to asphyxiate…no, it’s not normal