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Fault Line [Mass Market Paperback]

Sarah Andrews
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 20 2003 St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries (Book 7)
With the Winter Olympics approaching, Salt Lake City is trembling with excitement-literally. A real life earthquake has torn fissures into the city's preparations, and now forensic geologist Em Hansen has a rare opportunity to get some field work in before her home is overrun by tourists and athletes.

But murder can spoil anybody's plans, and when the body of the state geologist turns up in the wake of the 'quake, the FBI enlists Em's unique expertise to sort through the rubble. When the case takes her into the byzantine bureaucracy of the city's building codes, Em runs headfirst into an assortment of intimidating suspects and corrupt government officials-and an uncomfortable clue that points to her own boyfriend, Ray. On shaky ground as her personal and professional lives collide, Em must use fascinating geological science to capture a murderer before her whole life come crumbling to the ground.

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From Publishers Weekly

There's plenty of seismic activity in geologist/sleuth Em Hansen's seventh well-paced outing, following An Eye for Gold (2000). Not only are the fault lines that underlie Salt Lake City proving to be active but the fault lines in her relationship with Mormon cop Ray Raymond are producing their own fractures. When a modest earthquake strikes Salt Lake City, its tremors penetrate through the geologic community, through the developers, builders and inspectors, and through the city's power structure. But the murder of state geologist Sidney Smeeth has even greater repercussions. After her FBI mentor Tom Latimer enlists Em's help, the stage is set for Andrews to explore the deadly confluence of natural faults and human ones greed, arrogance and hubris. The result is an uneven admixture of geology, romance and murder. Andrews gets honors for her graphic, frightening and entertaining use of earthquake science and lore readers may never look at rock formations with the same innocence. But Em's tortured relationship with Ray hand-wringing, gut-wrenching and protracted is overdone to a fault. There are plenty of culprits from an almost Dickensian ogre to corner-cutting functionaries, but Em follows the trail even when her personal and professional worlds seem to be on a collision course. Em Hansen is rapidly carving out a niche for herself as a forensic geologist (she lacks the credentials to claim that title yet), and may eventually make her field as popular as that of forensic anthropology or medicine. (Jan. 14)California's Sonoma State University.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Forensic geologist Em Hansen (Bone Hunter) plans to take advantage of being on site when an earthquake hits Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, the FBI wants her to investigate the murder of a state-employed geologist that occurs immediately after the disaster. A fine series.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE EARTHQUAKE THAT SHOOK ME AND THE REST OF SALT Lake City awake at 4:14 A.M. that wintry Monday measured 5.2 on the Richter scale. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Mystery Solved by a Forensic Geologist March 18 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Sarah Andrews mystery I've read, starring main character Em Hansen, Forensic Geologist. I loved it so much that I'm planning to go out and buy every book of Sarah Andrew's that I can get my hands on !
The book takes place in heavily faulted Salt Lake City. Geologist (and informal investigator-in-training) 35-year-old Em Hansen is shaken awake about 4 AM by an approximate 5.3-level earthquake. She gets caught up in the two murder investigations of a geologist and a reporter who are out to expose earthquake damage in public structures, but which developers want covered up. Furthermore, we are drawn far into the Mormon world, and society, of Salt Lake City. Along the way, we also learn a lot of interesting science and geology. If you enjoy science at all, you will LOVE this whole mystery series.
I absolutely loved the main character. She has a lot of interesting friends, and an interesting, but very realistic life. In addition to this mystery, this author has a lot to say about life (through what her characters are experiencing) and gives her readers a lot to chew on.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm going to have to buy the next book in the series because I'm dying to find out what happens next to detective geologist Em Hansen, particularly her love life, and I'm not normally a fan of romances. But detective Em is very likeable and the reader cares about her, and there are a couple of very interesting men in her life as the book ends.
In this mystery, Em's relationship with her boyfriend, Mormon policeman Ray, is in difficulty from the get-go. Em is not Mormon and his family is not so happy about their relationship. Then there's Emma's career -- another problem area, since she isn't actually employed (she does some temping to supplement her dwindling savings). She moved to Salt Lake City to be near her boyfriend, but has been unable to find a job.
To top it off, there's this earthquake (in the first chapter), and Em begins to suspect that some of the buildings in Salt Lake City are going to collapse if a really big earthquake hits. How is it that the authorities allowed them to be built?
Then there's the murder of a state geologist -- is it related to the earthquake or politics or both? Em gets involved in trying to discover who killed her, even as she tries to sort out her troubled relationship with her boyfriend and his family.
If I have any criticisms of the book, it is that you might end up knowing more about earthquakes and fault lines than you want to -- but you will learn quite a bit on the subject, and quite a bit about Salt Lake City and Mormons.
All in all, an entertaining, amusing, engaging, "can't put down" book. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One Olympic disaster that didn't... Feb. 24 2002
Format:Hardcover
The timing of this latest Em Hansen mystery makes the novel already dated but no less enjoyable for that. When a moderate 5.2 earthquake hits Salt Lake City weeks before this year's Winter Olympic Games, the local geologists, including Hansen, get excited. But when the Utah State geologist is murdered, the FBI recruits Hansen to look into the geological state of things. Coping with chronic underemployment and a rocky romance with her Mormon cop boyfriend, Hansen jumps at the chance.
Reviewing maps and tramping the terrain, Hansen discovers that her newly adopted city is riddled with faults, which the city fathers have virtually ignored. Between complacency and corruption, numerous public venues - from housing developments and malls to the spanking new stadium where the Olympics' opening ceremonies are scheduled - sit precariously on fault lines.
The murder investigation parallels Andrews' dire exploration of earthquake inevitability and its devastating effects on an unprepared populace. Greed, politics and religion wrestle with science in a story as much exposé as mystery. An engaging and forthright protagonist, Hansen's narration is interspersed with other viewpoints - a corporate villain, his trained construction geologist and an ambitious newspaper reporter among others - which heightens the suspense and the novel's scope.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Did You Feel It??? Dec 26 2001
Format:Hardcover
What's more exciting than an earthquake that shakes you out of bed first thing in the morning? Sarah Andrews' newest Em Hanson mystery - Fault Line - which kept me up until 2am this morning! Fault Line finds Em Hanson, out-of-work petroleum geologist and fledgling forensic geologist, living in Salt Lake City, sorting out her life. A 5.2 M earthquake on a branch of the Wasatch Fault wakes everybody up and the death of the head of the Utah Geological Survey really gets things rolling. Earthquakes aren't Em's specialty, so we join her as she learns more about the fault lines that run under Salt Lake City and through relationships and families. Cracks appear in the brand new stadium that is to be featured in the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics and in Em's relationship with her boyfriend Ray, Salt Lake City cop and devout Mormon. Shaky ground is found at the site of a brand new shopping mall and in the relationship of Faye, Em's best friend, and Tom Latimer, Zen FBI agent and Em's mentor in detecting. As always, Em the geologist teases out the big picture from a mess of details. Be prepared to learn a lot about seismology and engineering geology. Trips to the ski slopes in Alta, the [Flying] Pie Pizzeria, and the [beautiful] retrofitted City and County Building fill out the local color. In my opinion, this is the best Em Hanson mystery yet. On the Modified Mercalli Scale of Earthquake Intensity, XII means total destruction. On the open-ended [Gutenberg]-Richter Scale of Earthquake Magnitude, a 9.5 is the largest earthquake ever recorded. I can only give Fault Line by Sarah Andrews 5 stars, but if I could give it more, I would!
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