Author Steve Thayer's first mainsteam success is a drawn out, yet riveting and enthralling tale with excellent characters, good dialogue, and gives great insight into the politics of a newsroom. "The Weatherman" is not only a suspense/mystery thriller, but it is also a forum for Thayer to promote his views on capital punishment, the Vietnam War, the glamorization and exaggeration of the media, and how women can be as deadly as the bitter cold.
Dixon Bell is a fairly ordinary meterologist from the south who happens to be working for a Minnesota television newsroom as their weatherman. He claims that he does not predict the weather, but "I read the weather". He struck fame when he boldly warned the twin towns of Minneapolis/St. Paul that a deadly tornado was coming even without the concern of the National Weather Service. Bell not only became a television figure; he was practically psychic. But what Dixon Bell wants most is the new, beautiful reporter Angela Labore. Meanwhile, women are strangled and killed for each weather season, prompting a media storm that Bell's Channel 7 News has never seen before. As circumstantial evidence compounds against Dixon and makes him a prime suspect, masked news producer Rick Beanblossom (he was injured at Vietnam) believes that Dixon is innocent and stops at nothing to prove it, despite the fact that he is obsessed with Angela as well.
Thayer does a great job of bringing characters into his story and allowing the story to fully develop them. Because of this; however, "The Weatherman" drags slightly in the first third of the book and may cause some readers to get anxious, but once Dixon Bell's trial begins, it is a rip-roaring suspense tale that will keep you guessing until the very end. Beanblossom is an exceptional character, who hides not only his grotesque face behind a mask, but also his true inner feelings and purpose. Angela Labore is slighly ho-hum, but her dialogue with Beanblossom is fresh and believable. Dixon Bell is a complete enigma throughout the entire novel--he is a sad man so possessed by the weather, his inner demons, and his past failures to allure women that he may have the capacity to commit these awful crimes--but did he?
"The Weatherman" is a complex, intriguing tale that was an extreme project for Thayer, taking him nearly five years to fully complete. His research of the newsroom and his experience as a St. Paul native makes this tale very realistic, diving into the politics of what is put on television and why, how people get what they want in show business, and how the weather is an essential ingredient to the lives of all those who live there. A murder mystery that is sure to satisfy if you can get through the first one hundred pages or so. Compelling, informative, and somber.