So you want to read about the environment, but you’re bored of reading books about climate change. Here are BLOT’s top 5 environmental thrillers (that aren’t cli-fi) to get you started.
The difference between environmental thrillers and cli-fi
While environmental thrillers and cli-fi both foreground environmental issues and the impact of humanity on nature, some readers argue that there are still fundamental differences that separate the two genres.
Environmental thrillers are books that deal with environmental issues grounded in reality. These books tend to localise these issues to a smaller location, and often involve environmental activism and government or corporate cover ups within this area.
Climate fiction, on the other hand, is more speculative in nature, and deals specifically with the effects of climate change. Books in this genre may involve aspects of science fiction (hence the nickname cli-fi) and generally discusses the impact of climate change on a global scale.
Five environmental thrillers to add to your ‘to be read’ list
1. Oil and Water by P.J. Lazos
Environmental issue: Oil spills and the oil industry
Gil Tirabi’s parents were killed in a tragic car accident, only a week after his father invents a machine that converts trash into oil. Meanwhile, David “Hart” Hartos, the Chief Engineer of Akanabi Oil, has been sent by his father-in-law, the head of the company, to clean up the mess the company’s created.
When the two characters meet, Hart agrees to help Gil finish his father’s machine. But how will they introduce this revolutionary invention to a market run by corporate greed, that also has such little concern for the environment?
2. The Mine by Antti Tuomainen
Environmental issue: The impacts of bioleaching
The Mine follows the story of Janne Vuori, an investigative journalist who is brought to a small town in Northern Finland after being tipped off about an impending environmental disaster – the result of the illegal mining of a local nickel mine.
As Janne continues to investigate the owners of the mine, the executives of the company begin dying in a series of accidents and Janne’s personal life becomes at risk when his family starts receiving threats.
3. The Fracking War by Michael J. Fitzgerald
Environmental issue: The impacts of hydrofracking
When investigative reporter Jack Stafford relocates to rural Upstate New York, he finds that the local activists are rebelling against what they perceive as industrial terrorism, perpetrated by the natural gas industry’s controversial hydrofracking methods.
Set in New York and the neighbouring Pennsylvania, The Fracking War examines the impact of fracking, including health risks, water and air pollution, and the increase of crime.
4. Death in a Strange Country by Donna Leon
Environmental issue: Disposal of toxic waste
When the body of a young man is fished out of a Venetian canal, all clues point to a mugging gone wrong. Commissario Brunetti is assigned to the case, and while investigating this murder, he begins to uncover a conspiracy involving the disposal of toxic waste.
5. Dust Up by Jon McGoran
Environmental issue: The impacts of biotechnology on agriculture and the food industry
Detective Doyle Carrick is woken up in the middle of the night, only to find a stranger, Ron Hartwell, dying on his doorstep. Ron’s wife, Miriam, is suspected to be the culprit, but Miriam seeks out Carrick, who isn’t assigned to the case, to tell her side of the story.
She tells him that her husband and herself stumbled upon a corporate cover-up of tainted food aid that sickened an entire village in Haiti. Now, he has to work with Miriam to stop an epidemic of even greater evil before it is released on the world.
If you liked this post then read CENSORED: The sinsiter truth behind America’s book banning boom or Climate catastrophe through imperalism: Dune’s most important message next.
Shani is a journalism student obsessed with books, dance, and all things true crime. When she’s not stuck in the middle of a good book, she’s listening to podcasts or watching hour-long video essays on YouTube.
Favourite genre: Crime.