From: Maddie Perlman-Gabel, ENN
Published July 11, 2011 03:50 PM

Book Review: Currents of Deceit

On April 20, 2010, the infamous BP oil rig exploded. Americans and the rest of the world alike were in shock and feared how much oil would be released and how much damage it would do. After three months, the spillage of the oil was stopped and restoration has slowly begun. But what if there was a spill of something invisible and the company responsible wanted to keep it a secret. In the book Currents of Deceit, Professor Ronald Perkins writes about such a situation.


Ronald Perkins is a professor of Geology at Duke University's Nicholas School where he has been teaching since 1968. Prior to his professorship at Duke, Perkins worked as a research geologist with the Shell Development Company. Being his first work of fiction, Currents of Deceit is a stray from Perkins's usual writing of textbooks and scientific papers.

Currents of Deceit is a very easy read and one does not need to have a background in carbonate deposit systems or biochemistry to understand the science or the plot. Genre-wise, Currents of Deceit would be a considered an ecological thriller, with a healthy balance of murder, mystery, action, geology, and environmental commentary. I recommend Currents of Deceit for anyone looking for a beach read that actually takes place on the beach.

Currents of Deceit begins with Scott Simmons, a marine biologist with the Florida Fisheries Commission, and his girlfriend Linda Stevens, a graduate student in biochemistry. Perkins also wrote himself into the book as Dr. Alexander, Linda’s old professor, a character based on his own experiences and interests. In the book, Simmons and Stevens find unusually high levels of PCBs and mercury in fish from the local market They are immediately intrigued and worried by their discovery. They then decide to investigate which gets them in all kinds of trouble. I will not tell anymore of the plot as to not give away any of the thrills.

I really enjoyed reading Currents of Deceit and admit to have trouble putting the book down. However, I did find some problems with the book. The book was short and ended a little abruptly. At times, the dialogue was unnatural and seemed like the characters were quoting a textbook, but that can be expected when a textbook author switches to fiction.

Perkins says this book is not based on any real events but the story seems familiar. Could something like this have already happened unbeknownst to us? Are we and our environment being poisoned? Luckily, Currents of Deceit is fiction so the reader gets all the thrills and spills minus the need for cleanup.

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