Disaster at Havendale by Richard E. Davis [Book Review]
I was sent a free copy of Disaster at Havendale by the publisher as a prize in a twitter competition. I started reading it when it arrived, but then lent it to a friend to read, and then it sat neglected in the bottom of my work bag when it was returned to me (because I was then in the middle of another book).
Disaster at Havendale
I finally came back to Disaster at Havendale a couple of days ago and read it on my daily commute over two days. It is a bit of a slow burn to start with, taking slightly more than half of the book to set the scene and establish the characters. This would be fine in a full length novel, but its slightly slow for a novella.
The Disaster in the title is some extreme weather, predicted early by a teenage weather forecaster. Dick Travis was orphaned by a tornado as a small child. In his final year of high school he is a keen meteorologist, supported by one of his teachers. The teacher in question was his father’s best friend growing up. There’s quite a bit of back story established in the early part of the book.
That said when the storm finally hits then the pace picks up and there’s plenty of action, obstacles and tension. It worked for me and I flew through the second half of Disaster at Havendale faster than it took to read the first half. Mostly the story is told from Dick’s point of view, but there are other viewpoints used when it helps the plot along. None of this feels forced. Dick is a real all action hero, and is the character with 90% of the agency in Disaster at Havendale. He anticipates the storm and sounds the alert before it comes officially, then he does his best to save everyone in the school. He’s also the one organising the escape and overcoming most of the obstacles.