Guest Post: ‘Putting Science in Fiction’ by R J Corgan, author of Cold Flood

I’m delighted to welcome author R J Corgan to What Cathy Read Next today.  RJ’s first book, Cold Flood, a thriller set on a geological expedition was published recently.  Followers of my blog will be aware of my fascination with the facts I come across when reading fiction – you can read my latest Fact in Fiction Friday post here – so you can understand my excitement when I saw the subject of RJ’s guest post.

You can find further details about the book below, along with purchase links.

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Cold FLoodAbout the Book

For geologist Kea Wright, when a volcano erupts under an ice cap, it isn’t just a good time, it’s a living. Camped at the base of an icecap in southeast Iceland, Kea and her team are investigating landforms created by catastrophic floods. With only days left in the field season, bad weather on the way, and the volcano due to erupt at any time, the team is struck by a tragedy that threatens to shut down the entire project.

As the team rushes to complete their work, the expedition continues to be plagued by setbacks, leading Kea to wonder if the initial tragedy was an accident after all. During her reluctant – and inept – attempts to investigate, Kea inadvertently stumbles upon a secret. One so valuable, someone is willing to kill to keep it hidden.

Format: ebook (270 pp.)    Publisher:
Published: 7th April 2018   Genre: Thriller

Purchase Links*  ǀ
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme


Find Cold Flood on Goodreads

Guest Post ‘Putting Science in Fiction’ by R J Corgan, author of Cold Flood

Reading the news or any mystery novel, it seems there are a billion different ways to murder someone. Equally, there seem to be just as many ways for a forensic pathologist to figure out how it was done and whodunnit. Whether in Sherlock Holmes or in Bones, science is often vital to enable the sleuth to solve the case.

Astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian uses, and battles, the laws of physics to figure out how to get back to earth, the planet Mars and some potatoes his only companions. The author, Andy Weir, takes the reader on an adventure where science is central to the resolution. This is tricky to do in novels as the author must inform the reader without appearing to lecture. However, when the author is able to successfully convey their passion for a topic – and the thrill of discovery that drives so much of scientific discoveries – the reader is hooked.

Over the last decade pursuing my degrees, I found reading scientific journals, dense with references, charts, statistics, and methodology sections, a difficult chore. Worse than that, it was only through universities that I was able to access these expensive journals. It was only after I left academia that I began to appreciate that there are other, more fantastic, stories hidden behind many of these articles. Not just of the scientific findings, or the mind bending mathematical differential equations, but the stories of the researchers themselves.

Scientists leading expeditions in the remotest regions of the world are often doing a mad balancing act. Putting aside the fact that they have to acquire funding, manage the logistics for travel, food, and equipment for all of their team members, they also have to ensure the safety of every member under hazardous conditions. They do this while simultaneously mentoring and educating students, managing course loads, and addressing concerns, and enlisting the help, of local populations.

At some point they even manage to collect the data. They do all this while being separated from their children, their families for long periods. And they do this year after year, after year. On my latest expedition to a volcano in Nicaragua, one of the research scientists was 74, and I could barely keep up with him as he leapt on and off the back of the jeep, literally choking on his dust as he jogged ahead of me around the slopes of the volcano. Respect is due.

I wrote Cold Flood as a tribute to these researchers. They labor to publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals, ones most of us will never read. I hope that by telling their story, the reader will get a glimpse of some amazing places and spend some time getting to know some truly amazing people – and maybe be inspired to join an expedition themselves.                                                                                                      © R J Corgan, 2018

mapping Cold FLoodAbout the Author

Raised by librarians, RJ has a PhD in Geology, and has worked on volcanoes and glaciers across the globe. Cold Flood  is his debut novel, mixing genres of actual scientific expeditions and thrillers.

The adventures of Kea Wright will continue in the forthcoming novels Meerkat Murders and Mammoth Drop in 2019.

Connect with R J Corgan

Website  ǀ  Facebook ǀ  Twitter ǀ  Goodreads


My Week in Books – 17th June ’18


New arrivals  

The Clockmaker's DaughterThe Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton (eARC, NetGalley)

My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing a drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.  Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

Told by multiple voices across time, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is a story of murder, mystery and thievery, of art, love and loss. And flowing through its pages like a river is the voice of a woman who stands outside time, whose name has been forgotten by history, but who has watched it all unfold: Birdie Bell, the clockmaker’s daughter.

The Psychology of Time TravelThe Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (limited edition proof copy, courtesy of Head of Zeus)

1967: Four female scientists invent a time-travel machine. They are on the cusp of fame: the pioneers who opened the world to new possibilities. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril…

2017: Ruby knows her beloved Granny Bee was a pioneer, but they never talk about the past. Though time travel is now big business, Bee has never been part of it. Then they receive a message from the future – a newspaper clipping reporting the mysterious death of an elderly lady…

The Psychology of Time Travel Signed2018: When Odette discovered the body she went into shock. Blood everywhere, bullet wounds, flesh. But when the inquest fails to answer any of her questions, Odette is frustrated. Who is this dead woman that haunts her dreams? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder?

The Romanov EmpressThe Romanov Empress by C. W. Gortner (ebook, review copy courtesy of HF Virtual Book Tours)

Even from behind the throne, a woman can rule.

Narrated by the mother of Russia’s last tsar, this vivid, historically authentic novel brings to life the courageous story of Maria Feodorovna, one of Imperial Russia’s most compelling women who witnessed the splendour and tragic downfall of the Romanovs as she fought to save her dynasty in the final years of its long reign.

Barely nineteen, Minnie knows that her station in life as a Danish princess is to leave her family and enter into a royal marriage—as her older sister Alix has done, moving to  England to wed Queen Victoria’s eldest son. The winds of fortune bring Minnie to Russia, where she marries the Romanov heir and becomes empress once he ascends the throne. When resistance to his reign strikes at the heart of her family and the tsar sets out to crush all who oppose him, Minnie—now called Maria—must tread a perilous path of compromise in a country she has come to love.

Her husband’s death leaves their son Nicholas as the inexperienced ruler of a deeply divided and crumbling empire. Determined to guide him to reforms that will bring Russia into the modern age, Maria faces implacable opposition from Nicholas’s strong-willed wife, Alexandra, whose fervour has lead her into a disturbing relationship with a mystic named Rasputin. As the unstoppable wave of revolution rises anew to engulf Russia, Maria will face her most dangerous challenge and her greatest heartache.

Betty Church and the Suffolk VampireBetty Church and the Suffolk Vampire by M. R. C. Kasasian (hardcover, advance reader copy courtesy of Head of Zeus)

September 1939.  A new day dawns in Sackwater, not that this sleepy backwater is taking much notice…

Inspector Betty Church – one of the few female officers on the force – has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here. This is the place she grew up. The place she thought she’d left behind for good.  Time ticks slowly in Sackwater, and crime is of a decidedly lighter shade. Having solved the case of the missing buttons, Betty’s called to the train station to investigate a missing bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat.

While the locals gossip about the Suffolk Vampire, Betty Church readies herself to hunt a dangerous killer.

The Hidden VillageThe Hidden Village by Imogen Matthews (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Wartime Holland. Who can you trust?

Deep in the Veluwe woods lies a secret that frustrates the Germans. Convinced that Jews are hiding close by they can find no proof.  The secret is Berkenhout, a purpose-built village of huts sheltering dozens of persecuted people.

Young tearaway Jan roams the woods looking for adventure and fallen pilots. His dream comes true when he stumbles across an American airman, Donald C. McDonald. But keeping him hidden sets off a disastrous chain of events.

Sofie, a Jewish Dutch girl, struggles to adapt to living in Berkenhout, away from her family and friends. As weeks turn to months, she’s worried they’ll abandon her altogether. Henk Hauer, head woodman, is in charge of building the underground huts and ensuring the Berkenhout inhabitants stay safe. But many grow suspicious of his liaisons with the Germans. Is he passing on secret information that could endanger lives?

All it takes is one small fatal slip to change the course of all their lives forever.

On What Cathy Read Next last week

Blog posts

Monday – I joined the blog tour for Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick, sharing my review of this historical romance set in Tudor England.

Tuesday – Another blog tour and another review, this time for Summer of Love by Caro Fraser, the follow-up to her historical novel The Summer House Party.  My Top Ten Tuesday list was on the topic of Books That Awaken the Travel Bug in Me.

WednesdayWWW Wednesday is the opportunity to share what I’ve just finished reading, what I’m reading now and what I’ll be reading next.   I also featured an extract from With Or Without You, the latest book by Shari Low as part of the blog tour.

Thursday – I published an introduction to this month’s Buchan of the Month, The Half-Hearted.  I also shared my write-up of a fascinating evening spent in the company of best-selling historian and novelist, Alison Weir, at my local Waterstones in Reading.

Friday – I published my review of The Poison Bed by E. C. Fremantle, a terrific historical mystery set in the court of James I that had as many twists as a modern day psychological thriller.  It was also time for another of my Fact in Fiction Friday features where I pick out interesting things I’ve learned through reading novels.

Saturday – The final blog tour of the week was for The Reading Party by Fenella Gentleman and a great guest post by Fenella about how the germ of an idea during a creative writing exercise grew into her first novel.

Challenge updates

  • Goodreads 2018 Reading Challenge – 90 out of 156 books read, 4 more than last week
  • Classics Club Challenge – 15 out of 50 books read, same as last week
  • NetGalley/Edelweiss Reading Challenge 2018 (Gold) – 33 ARCs read and reviewed out of 50, 2 more than last week
  • From Page to Screen– 10 book/film comparisons out of 15 completed, same as last week
  • 2018 TBR Pile Challenge – 5 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2018 – 46 books out of 50 read, 3 more than last week
  • When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018 – 7 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • What’s In A Name Reading Challenge – 1 out of 6 books read, same as last week
  • Buchan of the Month – 5 out of 12 books read, same as last week
  • NEW 20 Books of Summer Challenge – 4 out of 20 books read, 2 more than last week

On What Cathy Read Next this week

Currently reading


Planned posts

  • Guest Post: Cold Flood by R J Corgan
  • Guest Post: Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse by Arthur D. Hittner
  • Book Review: The Mountain Man’s Badge by Gary Corbin
  • Book Review: The King’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill
  • Book Review: Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
  • Book Review: Darkest Hour by Anthony McCarten